KUNA -- Therapy dogs are visiting a Kuna elementary school this week dealing with tragedy.

Last Thursday, 11-year-old Daniel Cook died in a school bus accident. Four other children were hurt in the crash.

The tragedy has impacted not just Daniel's friends and classmates, but teachers and staff in the Kuna School District as well.

Crimson Point Elementary School already has a therapy dog that comes every week to help kindergarten students learning to read.

But after the accident, the dog's owner suggested pet therapy for the 6th graders as well.

Hope is an 11-year-old Australian shepherd who loves kids. She's spent most of the last few days at Crimson Point visiting those who need her most right now.

Her owner, Julie Bender, says dogs can make children feel more comfortable than adults, especially during hard times.

There's just something that humans can't give that dogs can sometimes, said Bender.

Bender says that something is unconditional, an automatic friend who will always listen and lift spirits.

You can just see their shoulders relax and calmness come over their face, so dogs are therapy for the soul, said Bender.

Bender says 10 different dogs have visited the three 6th grade classes at Crimson Point this week.

She says the dogs have become a bond for the kids still looking for comfort.

We're not supposed to let our dogs give kisses but come on now, Hope has given many, many kisses, and the kids are clamoring for the kisses, said Bender.

Bender says she's been able to watch the dogs bring a moment of relief, a break from reality, for each child.

Had it not been for my dogs I would not have been able to witness some of the things I witnessed this week, just to watch the joy come back over the children, said Bender.

The dogs are helping to heal both the children and the adults, all needing a new friend during a difficult time.

It's wonderful to see the children have that reaction, but as adults we need the care as well, so I think it's been healing for everyone today, said Bender.

The dogs are all part of a organization called Therapy Dog Inc.

They need more volunteers to help with pet therapy and are hoping to expand their school programs.

If you would like more information on the organization, click here. (

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