Therapy Dogs | Texas Public Radio

Therapy Dogs

El Paso community members grieve at a memorial for Javier Amir Rodriguez — the youngest of 22 victims who died from a mass shooting at a Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019.
Carlos Morales | Marfa Public Radio

Austin Eubanks was 17 when he survived the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. He watched his best friend die. In the years following, he struggled with addiction, got clean and became a motivational speaker. He detailed his experiences in a TEDx Talk in 2017 in Denver.

In April, Eubanks died of a heroin overdose.

Eubanks is not the only person who survived a mass shooting, or lost someone in a mass shooting, to later succumb to the lingering impact of trauma and grief.  


Lauren Terrazas / Texas Public Radio

It’s Sunday afternoon and church-goers shuffled into El Paso’s historic Sacred Heart Parish. Tucked away in Segundo Barrio, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the church is a spiritual anchor to the predominantly immigrant community it serves.

Sacred Heart is less than one mile from an international bridge that connects El Paso to its sister city, Ciudad Juárez.

This weekend, there was a different presence of peace as four therapy dogs quietly sat in the back pew, ready to greet parishioners.