Therapy dogs provide support to Colorado shooter victims - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Therapy dogs provide support to Colorado shooter victims

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Colorado residents living through some awful situations are finding comfort from trained therapy dogs. The animals provided a lot of comfort behind the scenes during the theater shooting trial.

Scott and Kathleen Larimer made a friend in the most unlikely place. Chester is one of five therapy dogs brought into the Arapahoe County Courthouse for the theater shooting trial. Their son, John Larimer, was among the 12 who died.

"There were days that were really hard to listen to, but there were so many mixed blessings,” explained Kathleen Larimer. “We got to meet with so many other families. You share this bond that no one else wants to share, but you share this bond."

One of those bonds was found in Chester.  The therapy dog even helped family members relax before and after they would testify.

"When you get down and your legs get Jell-O and you sit down with Chester, take a few deep breaths and suddenly the world rights itself again," Larimer continued.

The non-profit, Animals for Therapy, said these dogs sense when someone is struggling.

"He knows when a person is upset, knows right away and goes straight to the person and waits until they pet them,” said Kateri Nelson with /Animals for Therapy.

The Larimer's said this dog, the victim advocates and meeting the other families helped them deal with the tragedy of losing their son. They also added that Chester even helped when the final verdict was read.

"I was. I was disappointed and went back there, got to pet Chester, couple of deep breaths and the world, what happened, is done,” Larimer said.

The Larimers will now return home to Crystal Lake, Illinois.

San Diego native James Holmes was convicted of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. He did not receive the death penalty and is now serving a life sentence.

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