Rescued Pit Bull, Turned Therapy Dog, Helps Sandy Hook Survivor - New York News

Rescued Pit Bull, Turned Therapy Dog, Helps Sandy Hook Survivor

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SANDY HOOK, N.J. -

One pit bull is helping a nine-year-old survivor of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Jeffrey is the pit bull's name, and Sandy Hook fourth-grader Emma Wishneski considers him one of her closest friends.

Jeffrey and Emma met in December, weeks after the senseless shooting spree that left 26 teachers and students dead. Emma was late that morning because of a doctor's appointment, but she lost friends and teachers. Jeffrey was perfect for Emma, according to her mother Marykay, because he was a strong and friendly dog who gave her a sense of safety and protection.

After running around with Jeffrey and playing with a smile on her face, Emma asked to see Jeffrey again. And soon, the two had many play dates after their initial meeting. Jeffrey even attended Emma's ninth birthday party. He wore a birthday-cake-hat and let Emma and her friends climb on him and rub his belly.

Jeffrey is a registered therapy dog who helps put a smile on any human who is having a tough time or suffering from illness or injury. His owner, Ms. Houston put him through obedience training and also had him certified as a therapy dog. She wants to let the world know that pit bulls deserve a better reputation.

Jeffrey was almost got euthanized in 2010 and was saved hours before by Ms. Houston.

"Both ends of the leash are responsible for the future of these dogs," said Houston, on NBC's Today Show, about the stigma behind pit bulls being aggressive and dangerous.

Ms. Houston also brings Jeffrey to assisted living facilities, hospitals and school libraries to connect with elderly people, the sick, and struggling young readers.

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