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Therapy dogs from San Antonio help console people who attended Astroworld festival

Two teams from Therapy Animals of San Antonio consoled with people who witnessed tragedy at the Astroworld Festival.
Credit: Therapy Animals of San Antonio

HOUSTON — To help people cope with the tragedy at Astroworld—some furry friends from San Antonio came in to comfort those who were there.

Therapy Animals of San Antonio sent two teams to Houston after learning eight people were killed and dozens more were injured at the Astroworld festival.

At the site where a makeshift memorial was set up outside the festival grounds is where most of their work was done.

These therapy dogs and their trainers are trained in first aid and are FEMA certified, in addition to being registered therapy animals, meaning they can deploy across the state when a tragedy or disaster occurs.

Dogs like Bonnie could be seen walking outside of NRG Park on Saturday and Sunday morning.

“We think people might benefit from just the presence of a calm, loving dog,” Dr. Linda Porter-Wenzlaff, co-coordinator for the crisis animal response program told KENS 5.

They spent Saturday morning walking up and down the lines of people who were sharing their condolences or waiting to get items they lost during the concert.

Dr. Porter says say many of the people there still appeared to be processing what took place on Friday night.

She heard many harrowing stories from the people there who made it out alive.

“Some of them talked about hanging onto a guard rail on the side and knowing that if they let go they’d be crushed and trampled, some talked about people helping them get out,” Dr. Porter-Wenzlaff said.

“Some people talked about seeing the bodies that were being carried out by innocent people that were trying to help,” she added.

She says many people thanked the teams for being there, and says they wanted to be there to listen and provide comfort to those who experienced a traumatic event.

“Some people, they’re not dog people and so we just move on…and there are people that just don’t want to let go and are hanging on to the dog, and we stay for however long they need us to process,” she said.

Dr. Porter-Wenzlaff says the two teams are returning to San Antonio. An additional two teams from Houston were also assisting people who attended the concert.