The Methodist Healthcare System of San Antonio has sent two of their emergency services facility dogs to El Paso, Texas, to comfort the victims and first responders of the devastating mass shooting that took place on Saturday.
Therapy dogs Rudy and Chanel arrived in El Paso on Sunday morning, according to the hospital, to provide “unconditional love and support” to those coping with the horrific events that unfolded.
“Chanel and Rudy our facility dogs made it to El Paso this morning. They are already providing their unconditional love and support to first responders helping them cope through this traumatic time,” the facility shared on Facebook.
“Thanks to Southwest Airlines safely and swiftly getting them down there. We will continue to send prayers to El Paso as well as to Dayton OH,” they added.
It was the first flight the dogs had taken, and they were accompanied by special handlers, according to ABC affiliate KSAT.
According to the hospital, the dogs are specifically trained in crisis management, meaning they are able to identify individuals in crisis situations. They typically visit Methodist Healthcare hospitals daily to provide comfort and support to patients.
Over the next several days, the dogs will visit first responder stations and hospitals throughout El Paso.
On Saturday, 20 people were killed and 26 were injured in a mass shooting inside a Walmart in the Texas city — before the shooter surrendered to police. Since Saturday, the death toll has risen to 22, according to the Associated Press.
The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime because of an apparent manifesto with white nationalist themes the suspect is believed to have written, authorities said.
Less than 24 hours later, another mass shooting took place in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine and leaving another 27 injured.
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