The woman couldn’t speak or lean over. She had been shot and suffered injuries to her neck during the horrific Oct. 1 attack at a Las Vegas music festival that left 58 people dead and hundreds injured.
The injuries required her to remain sitting upright as she recovered at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. But she wanted to see a furry friend who was nearby. She motioned to the District Attorney’s facility dog, Skippy, to come her way.
Skippy, who is trained to comfort crime victims, and his handler, Victim Services Representative Ashley Meyers, obliged. While the woman couldn’t lean toward Skippy, she used her feet to pet the 2-½-year-old yellow Labrador.
Skippy was part of a team from the District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services that was summoned to Las Vegas to assist victims in the aftermath of the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The effort was led by the FBI, the Red Cross and the California Victim Compensation Board.
For eight days, the team was stationed mostly at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which served as the Family Assistance Center. Victim Services Representatives Jenneifer Bobadilla, Gabriela Bailey-Juarez and Emyrene Coleman acted as companions to those seeking services at the center.
Skippy and Meyers also helped many of the victims get through the day.
That included a military veteran who lost his belongings while working at the festival and was in need of financial assistance.
“He was visibly shaking,” Meyers said. Bailey-Juarez “asked if he wanted Skippy, and he wasn’t interested. But Skippy pressed his head gently on the man's lap and the man started petting him. A few minutes later, he stopped shaking, and he was in a much better mood.”
Even after the team left Las Vegas, the District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services is continuing to assist victims of the shooting who reside in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles County residents in need of victim services stemming from the Las Vegas shooting may call (800) 380-3811.