HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) – Healing from Highland Park’s tragedy will no doubt take a lot of time, but there are determined people to overcome obstacles to assist.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves told us, one group persevered to bring some canine comfort.
Help with trauma after Monday’s mass shooting is coming in many forms. And in this tale, not even travel woes from 800 miles away, could stop the four-legged companions from coming here.
Lilo, 1, was the smallest but clearly the most curious dog of the bunch.
One interaction, though, can’t help but put a smile on your face. She and two other therapy dogs are doing just that for healthcare workers. On Friday, they were at Swedish Hospital in Chicago.
“The dogs are there. We’re just kind of the other end of the leash,” said Cory Silvo, a volunteer with Crisis Response Canines.
They also stopped at North Shore University Health System where colleagues treated or knew someone who took care of gunshot victims after Highland Park’s July 4th parade shooting.
“It’s not just people who saw things happen,” Silvo said. “It’s not just people who were at the event. It’s everybody in this community. Everybody’s affected.”
Silvo knows the feeling well. Her group traveled from New Jersey to Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, both scenes of recent mass shootings.
So, there was no hesitation trying to come to Highland Park, despite some challenges.
“We intended on flying out, but it didn’t work out,” she said.
With their flight canceled, they went to the rental car checkout counter, put Lilo and the gang in a van. Their two-hour flight turned into a more than 12-hour drive.
They made it Wednesday morning to vigils, other hospitals and a memorial, all to put more smiles on people’s faces.
“People start to pet these dogs and they open up after they said they don’t want to talk about what happened,” Silvo said.
Call it canine comfort, that seems to be unmatched.
“Travel time, that’s nothing compared to what this community’s been through,” Silvo said. “It’s about helping people.”
All of the work is volunteer. The hope is to never have to respond in this type of situation again.
The group visited three memorials in Highland Park and five hospitals before driving back to the East Coast on Friday.