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Therapy pit bull helps Sandy Hook student heal

Nine-year-old Emma "feels safe" when Jeffrey is around.
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Chiara O. Scuri, August 30, 2013 9:36:02 AM

Last year’s Sandy Hook school shooting was traumatic for everyone who read about it. So imagine how traumatic the event still must be for the young students who attended the Conn. elementary school.

Emma Wishneski happened to be late for class the morning of December 14 due to a doctor’s appointment. Had she arrived on time, the third grader might have been in the room when several of her classmates and teachers were shot.

The aftermath has been difficult for the nine-year-old, who, according to her parents, has had a hard time dealing with what happened.

Thankfully, as Today.com reports, Emma has a great friend to help her through. In December, Michele Houston brought a 73-pound pit bull named Jeffrey to a Christmas party for Emma and her classmates.

Emma and Jeffrey immediately formed an indelible bond and became inseparable.

“It was still a really vulnerable time for her, and she just was comfortable sitting next to Jeffrey,” Emma’s mother, Marykay Wishneski, tells the show. “He’s strong and I think she just feels safe.”

Since that party, Emma’s mother reached out to Houston to see if Emma could have play dates with the lovable pooch. The story is all the more remarkable when we learn that Houston had saved Jeffrey from being put down in 2010.

She took him to receive his therapy training, which he passed brilliantly.

Now he spends his days as a “Positively Peaceful Pit Bull,” bringing relief and joy to Emma and others like her who really need it.

And he’s given Emma a new dream in life: To become a vet so she can spend her days healing the creatures who have helped her heal.


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Chiara O. Scuri

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