Local volunteers taking therapy dogs to Boulder to provide comfort to community

Go Team Therapy dogs
Posted at 7:23 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 21:23:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Handling the tragedy of Monday's mass shooting in Boulder can be hard for many, but a locally-founded group is hoping to provide comfort for the community one pet at a time.

Go Team Therapy, Crisis and Airport dogs and their handlers have been making trips to Boulder after the deadly shooting that killed ten people.

"Our dogs do all the work, we just hold onto the leash," said Nancy Trepagnier, the executive director and founder of the organization. "We're mostly by the Boulder police car and you see all the flowers around. Anyone who wants to, they can come over (and pet the dogs), and it makes them feel better just to hold on to a dog for a few minutes.

Trepagnier founded the organization in 2012. They provide therapy and work in crisis situations with first responders, victims' families, and the community.

With around 90 support teams in Colorado., some have already volunteered their time after Monday's shooting. Trepagnier has spoken to a few of the volunteers since then.

"Mainly it's shock for them. The people that are up there that are volunteering and working, it makes them feel so much better that they're doing their little part for their community. But it's just so sad right now because it's in their own backyard," said Trepagnier.

Lori Schlonski has been volunteering with the organization for about three years and plans to make the trip to Boulder on Friday.

"We just bring the dogs there and let the people just sit and release their emotions with the dogs. They release everything -- words, emotions, crying, tears, everything will just get released," said Schlonski.

Schlonski says she's has brought her two dogs to crisis situations, like after a shooting.

"It's heartbreaking what happened. It can happen anywhere, and taking the dogs there, the little bit that it might help is what we're after," said Schlonski. "If they need us, we go. If they want us up there everyday, we'll try to do it."

The organization has reached out to the King Soopers in Boulder and offered to provide volunteers and dogs when the store's employees return to work. They mentioned they're willing to help for as long as the community would like.

There are more than 600 volunteer teams across the country. The organization is looking for new dogs to join the team.

For more information about Go Team Therapy, Crisis and Airport dogs, click here.