The world continues to be in shock following the tragic building collapse in Miami-Dade County, Florida last week. The partial collapse of a residential condo building in Surfside on June 24 has left at least nine people dead, with 152 others missing.
Both an investigation into the cause, and the search for survivors, are ongoing. Countless families in Florida are holding out hope that their loved ones might be recovered from the rubble.
All they can do is wait — but in the meantime, there are some furry friends there to comfort them.
According to Reuters, the Boricuas de Corazon disaster relief team, a nonprofit group that helps disaster victims, has enlisted two therapy dogs to help comfort the victims of the collapse.
The dogs — a 7-year-old Akbash named Tal and a one-year-old Walker Coonhound named Molley, have met with four families of people missing in the accident.
“They’re having panic attacks or anxiety problems and we have been able to let them work with the dogs, touching the dog, getting their emotions out,” Linda Perez, president of Boricuas de Corazon, told Reuters.
These families, who are in the unimaginable circumstance of having to wait for any news about their loved ones’ safety, need this kind of comfort more than anyone. And it seems they’re responding well to the dogs, and have relied on their companionship for hours on end.
“They can feel the dog, they can be able to have that contact with their eyes. It’s very neat,” Perez said. Animals are absorbing everything emotional that they are feeling at the same time and they can be able to be very relaxing for them.”
The scene around the collapse sight has been one of uncertainty and grief. People have been holding vigils, and the community has come together in a show of solidarity and support as they await further news.
It’s not clear if any of the unaccounted-for victims can still be alive. Frank Rollason, director of Miami-Dade Emergency Management, said he believes all survivors have already been recovered: “Everyone who is alive is out of the building,” Rollason told the Miami Herald.