A feeling of loss lingers in the air at D’Iberville High one week after Amanda and Jimmy Ward were killed in a tragic car crash. As fellow students cope with the loss, they got help from unexpected friends. Patsy Thomas of Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi says, “More than anything I think it showed the students that we care as a community, that we’re there even with our dogs. We just want to help them as we know how to help them."
Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi has 35 registered therapy dogs. They travel to local hospitals and the VA, and while they don’t usually visit schools, Friday was a special exception. Thomas also says, "Our heart is heavy for the community because of the tragedy that’s happened, so we don’t usually do that kind of outreach, but this time, we felt that we had to."
It’s with heavy hearts that D’Iberville students move forward after losing two of their own, but Friday, they turned their focus towards man’s best friend, feeding, playing, and petting their way toward healing.
Although Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi visited high school students Friday, they’ve been serving those young and old since 2009. The dogs must already have obedience training then go through a 21 step evaluation process. After the dogs finish their evaluation, they graduate and are free to visit those that need them. Thomas closes, “To have a visit with a friendly stranger and their dog is always acceptable.”
Students were not able to speak with News 25 on camera, as they are still going through the grieving process, but we are told Friday’s four-legged therapists gave them a new reason to smile.