Therapy dogs helping students cope after tragic bus crash

KUNA, Idaho (KBOI) -- Therapy dogs are helping heal young students at Crimson Point Elementary almost a week after a tragic bus crash that took the life of an 11-year-old student there.

Julie Bender organized the dog therapy group. She brought her dog, Hope, to the school. A total of 10 dogs and handlers will spend almost 10 hours with the students between two days.

"They have said that for every time you pet a dog, you lower you heartbeat by one beat, so you can imagine stroking your dog multiple times and the calming effect it has," said Bender.

Bender said the dogs at Crimson Point Elementary are there to let the kids pet and love them.

"I'm very passionate about what a dog can do for your heart, and my friend here is living proof that they touch you very, very deeply," she said.

A school spokesperson said the school wants to provide any and every resource it can for these young students, and therapy dogs are key in helping the students heal.

Bender said she's already seen a change in the students at Crimson Point Elementary in the one day the dogs have been there.

"It was quieter, it was calmer," said Bender. "There's a restored sense of normalcy, so it's starting to come full circle, or I should say, the school is starting to come full circle."

Along with the dogs, the school has counselors from nearby districts available, and adult riders on every bus to make the children feel more comforted.