Adopted Dog Helps Parkland Survivor Heal

After a terrifying and tragic ordeal, Auggie helped Annagrace and her family find peace.

Annagrace + Auggie

After Annagrace survived the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Auggie the dog helped her family find peace.

"Our family, like many, was devastated. … Auggie came into our lives, and somehow healed us all."

Annagrace, a 16-year-old Sophomore, was finishing a chemistry quiz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the fire alarm went off on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018. The sound set off a chain of events that no one in the small, “nobody talks about us” city of Parkland will ever forget. This quiet community was rocked by what became known as the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history, taking the lives of 17 people and injuring 17 more.

Auggie and Annagrace Parkland Survivor

Our family, like many, was devastated. Annagrace came home that afternoon in tears, terrified. We found out the next day that her cross country coach, Scott Beigel, had been shot while keeping his classroom door open for students running away from the gunman. Annagrace’s older brother, who was away at college, came home the next day after finding out a close friend of his had died as well.

Auggie and Annagrace Parkland Survivor

Our town is small, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas is the local public high school, so it was impossible not to know someone who wasn’t affected at some level. After the memorials and the funerals, the kids went back to school. They coped the best way they could or knew how. They had so many emotions… fear, guilt at being alive, sadness, anger, and hopelessness.

Auggie and Annagrace Parkland Survivor

The school allowed several therapy dogs (and a pig!) to visit and be with the children, who felt their comfort and love. Annagrace kept talking about the dogs. She had been asking for a puppy for months, and we thought that a little dog to love and watch over would be a great help.

Auggie the dog

This is the story of how Auggie came into our lives, and somehow healed us all.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Nuria won Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue in Florida a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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