Local News

March 19, 2013

Animals offer comfort, healing in Newtown, Sandy Hook


Parker was told that, on the day of the shooting, staff at the preschool were initially told there were multiple shooters, and they scrambled to secure the building as the children watched a flood of police officers, some with dogs and guns, through the windows, Parker said.

“They didn’t have any idea what they were dealing with at all.”


Visiting Newtown has brought the Thera-Pets team closer, Parker said.

“It welded us together with a spiritual glue that will bind us forever,” he said. “It’s been one of the high points in our 10-year history for sure.”

Thera-Pets has been invited back for another visit, he added.

That may be because its message mirrors a sentiment that Douglass said was posted in every building they visited.

“It said, ‘Sandy Hook chooses love.’”

— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.



  • Thera-Pets' services are free, and the group relies greatly on donations to make such trips as the one to Newtown and Sandy Hook in Connecticut.
  • To donate online, go to Contributions are tax deductible, as Thera-Pets is a certified nonprofit charity.
  • Donations can also be sent to Thera-Pets, P.O. Box 319, Peru, NY, 12972.
  • All donations should be marked to Thera-Pets.
  • To schedule a visit or to sign up for one of the farm programs go to HTTP://
  • Barn Manager Holly Besaw can be reached at 643-8295.

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