News Roundup: Therapy Dogs Stop In El Paso On Nationwide Journey To Help People Heal After Tragedy

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen Cabrera August 12, 2019 2:01 pm

The people of El Paso continue to recover over a week after a gunman killed 22 people in the Texas border town. Many are finding comfort in their own ways, including through a group of therapy dogs that travel the country in the wake of tragedies like mass shootings.

Texas Public Radio’s Lauren Terrazas reports that this weekend in El Paso’s historic Sacred Heart Parish, nestled in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, therapy dogs quietly sat in the back pew, ready to greet parishioners.

“I was very impressed by what they do and I thought it was very important that the community here see it, especially the children.” said Father Rafael Garcia. He invited the therapy dogs and their trainers to the Sunday Mass after meeting them earlier in the week.

Lead trainer Pamela Bolden said they traveled from New Jersey to El Paso to provide comfort to the community as it recovers from a mass shooting that left 22 people dead over a week ago.

“You know just get people, even in the moment, to just feel better, to de-stress and to help fully develop some resiliency to kind of work through these situations,” Bolden said.

Since its founding in 2015, the Tri-State K-9 Response Team has provided this kind of support to over 100,000 people across the country. They have responded to natural disasters, such as the California wildfires, and other mass shootings. One of the dogs, a 5-year-old golden retriever named Cici, also helped in the wake of the Sutherland Springs shooting in 2017.

The therapy dogs are set to visit school children on El Paso’s first day of classes Monday.

The Texas House of Representatives’ General Investigating Committee held a public hearing today to consider the June 12 meeting between House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Empower Texans Michael Quiinn Sullivan.

Conservative activist Sullivan alleges Representative Bonnen offered him a quid pro quo arrangement. The Austin American Statesman reports that Bonnen was not asked to appear before the committe today.

The committee ultimately voted to ask the Texas Rangers to investigate charges stemming from the meeting.

The office of Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro has responded to a call for an ethics inquiry into a campaign tweet which named several Trump donors that live in his district.

A spokesperson for the San Antonio representative said the request is baseless, and that Castro shared publicly available information attainable through the Federal Elections Commission.

The call for an inquiry came from seven house Republicans.