ODESSA, Texas — It's been three days since a gunman opened fire as he ran from police following a failed traffic stop. The shooting across Midland-Odessa ended after seven people were shot and killed and 25 more were injured.
As two communities, separated by just 24 miles, share a tragic history, it's man's best friend to the rescue.
"A tragedy like this is difficult to put into words," said Janice Marut with the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministries.
The ministry brought six comfort dogs, all of them Golden Retrievers, from all over Texas to help the communities of Midland-Odessa begin to heal.
"Yes sir, I think they are," said Robert Estivido when asked if the dogs brought in are helping the community he calls home. "I saw a little girl crying earlier. It was very powerful. So yes, it's helping."
The comfort dogs in Midland-Odessa just completed a two-week deployment, to help comfort and heal the victims, first responders and survivors in El Paso.
As these communities mourn and just begin the healing process, Marut said the dogs are there to bring out the right emotion at the right time.
"These dogs are trained to be calm and quiet," she said. "The jobs of these dogs is to love them unconditionally, allow people to begin to process emotions. Sometimes it's laughter. Sometimes it's tears."
In the darkest of times in West Texas, it's dogs that will solemnly sit, lay and comfort those in need.
Estivido said he doesn't fully understand why this (the shooting) happened here. He does understand the dogs and the moments they give to those around him.
"I love them. I got three dogs of my own," he said. "I know how the dogs, they make you feel good. They can help. They are helping here anyway, from what I can see."
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