BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The Tri-State Canine Response Team has brought wagging tails, big furry smiles and a huge amount of much-needed love to Buffalo. The group of dog owners and couples have been visiting law enforcement and the surrounding community for the past two days.
“I love puppies. They’re so needed. They definitely lift people’s spirits. They’re just happy,” said Tiequion Baines, a community member who was comforted by the dog.
Since 2015, this all-volunteer group has been going to mass tragedies to help bring smiles to the community.
“Our first deployment was to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, and then we were in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Mandalay Bay was another response we went to. California for wildfires .Boulder, Colorado. El Paso, Texas for the Walmart shooting, Indianapolis, just too many. Too many places,” said Janice Campbell, founder and president of the Tri-State Canine Response Team.
Diego, a black lab, drove 17 hours with his mother from Florida to be here. Mallie, a chocolate lab, came from Delaware with her mother. Other pairs of dog owners came from New Jersey.
The owners of the pup are trained crisis counselors for disaster relief.
“We are CIT’s ambassador dogs. When something happens in different states, we get a request for deployment and community assistance for community resilience and recovery,” Campbell said.
Community members said these puppies have made a huge difference over the past few days.
“They can sense your emotions. They can sense when you’re hurt, when you’re sad. They always know what to do. They lick you, kiss you,” Lenaysha Dabney, a community member who was comforted by the dog, mentioned.
“Just to see a smile appear on someone’s face in the middle of this is just a real blessing to us,” said Pamela Bolden, school liaison for the Tri-State Canine Response Team.
If you would like to help support this group throughout their time in Buffalo, visit their GoFundMe.