PARKLAND, Fla. (ABC News) –The comfort dogs that worked to help the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School heal following the Valentine’s Day massacre last year were given their own page in the school’s yearbook.
“They are such an integral part of school here, and life here now,” Sarah Lerner, the school’s yearbook adviser, told “Good Morning America.”
Lerner, who is in her fifth year as a teacher at the Parkland, Florida, high school that became a household name after a gunman opened fire and killed seventeen students and staff members, said they always knew they wanted to include the dogs’ portraits in the yearbook.
“They provide comfort, they provide relaxation, they help the students manage their stress and anxiety, trauma … all of the offshoots related to the incident that happened at school,” she added.
Lerner said the dogs provide a comfort “for all of us” in the community, “the faculty and staff too.”
The emotional support animals mostly stay in the school’s main courtyard area, Lerner said, where “students are able to pet and visit them during their lunch and in between class changes.”
As the community still works to rebuild itself following the tragedy, Lerner said the dogs “bring a special sense of joy.”
One of the standout dogs is Shooner, the boy in the bow tie, who Lerner described as “just a big mush.”
“He is so good he just sits there and lets you pet him, he is so good,” she said.
The dogs came to the school from three different organizations and the Humane Society, according to Lerner.
“They’re all wonderful,” Lerner added. “All of them are so calm and well-mannered and they love the love, and they certainly get a lot of it here.”