- Aerie Yearbook/Twitter
- This year, 14 Very Good Dogs are featured in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s yearbook.
- They are therapy dogs regularly used at the school following last year’s shooting.
- The animals have become a part of the school community, helping students and educators cope with the loss of 17 people who were killed on February 14, 2018, when a gunman opened fire at the school.
- The pictures are touching and, honestly, very cute.
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This year, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is commemorating a very special and a very furry group.
A whole page of the yearbook is devoted to the 14 therapy dogs that are regulars at the school following last year’s shooting, Fox 35 Orlando reported. And just look at them!
We’ve included these cuties in the yearbook ???????? pic.twitter.com/CZScvAhjCN
— Aerie Yearbook (@AerieYearbook) May 3, 2019
Sarah Lerner, the yearbook adviser, told BuzzFeed News that they hadn’t originally planned to include the dogs in the yearbook. But on make-up yearbook school picture day in October, an idea suddenly came to her.
“I told one of their handlers about it and next thing I know I had 15 dogs in the room,” said Lerner, who also teaches English and journalism. “We sat them up on chairs, they were smiling for the camera. It was the greatest day of my life.”
Courtney Trzcinski, the executive director of Canine Assisted Therapy in Fort Lauderdale which has seven dogs at the high school, said the gesture was meaningful.
“I think it’s just a real nice honor to them,” Trzcinski told the Sun-Sentinel. “I think it’s a nice tribute to these dedicated volunteers who gave up their lives to help the Parkland community.”
And long before the yearbook went to print, pictures and videos of the dogs posing had circulated on social media, for obvious reasons.
Including the therapy/service dogs in the yearbook is the best decision we’ve made so far like this one dog had a bowtie and my heart ???????????? pic.twitter.com/ecP9X01wqD
— natasha (@sighnatasha) October 4, 2018
Just a few of the puppies who took pictures today… Grace, Emma & Chief were so happy to be included in the yearbook. pic.twitter.com/GYeSgyhMcv
— Aerie Yearbook (@AerieYearbook) October 3, 2018
In the last year, the dogs have provided an enormous service to the community which has faced tragedy and trauma. On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at the school, killing 17. In March, two high school students died by suicide.
The dogs have become embedded in the school community and an integral part of their healing.
“It was such a mood lifter,” yearbook editor-in-chief Caitlynn Tibbetts told BuzzFeed News. “Including them was a really good representation of our school and what we have gone through. Seeing them is something we look forward to every day. These dogs are going to be there until the last of us are gone.”
Lerner echoed the sentiment.
“I’ll be teaching and in comes, a dog and these big 18-year-old adults all the sudden become mushy 5-year-old kids and it’s been such a comfort for us,” Lerner told BuzzFeed News.
Two of the dogs even went to the school’s prom together.
This year, the school’s yearbook, Aerie, is themed “It All Depends,” according to Fox 35. The goal is to illuminate growth and how the school has changed since the shooting.
We love that Chief loves his yearbook! Make sure to find him to sign it. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/JHw0gjtptH
— Aerie Yearbook (@AerieYearbook) May 14, 2019
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