UCSB 5th Year Memorial Anniversary

Start Date: 05/23/2019


We arrived at UCSB at 1030 and met with our POC Melissa and a member of the family of one of the victims. We first visited the memorial gardens and the park where the vigil was going to held that evening.We then walked the streets of Isla Vista where the shootings took place. The manager of the food co-op across the street from the apartment where the shooting began came out and visited with the dogs. Several business owners that were there 5 years ago are still affected and came out to visit. The University very kindly invited us to have lunch n the Faculty club with members of the school and families. The club was beautiful and all the staff asked for cards from the dogs. After lunch we met a second family of one of the victims. We then stood by outside a counseling session for the shootings. The dogs interacted with several people coming out and going in. One person stopped to pat the dogs that lost a close family member in the Borderline Bar shooting! As always... you never know who you are going to help! After a quick dinner break we met in the center of the campus to start the memorial walk. Several members of the Santa Barbara police department, faculty members and approximately 80 students gathered. Family members of three of the victims were present. The walk through the campus and down the streets of Isla Vista was somber and very retrospective. Every part of the streets were involved in the shooting and you could feel it and the dogs sensed it. At every corner were police cars with flashing lights paying tribute. The dogs walked right behind the families and were often acknowledged and given quick pats. One police officer looked at us and said she was a 911 dispatcher that night, then we had to stop to let her regain her composure. The vigil was quiet and beautiful. A member of each family spoke, all hoping for an end to this kind of violence and to care for each other. One speaker was a Santa Barbara police officer who was 30 minutes into his first ride along that fateful night! The memorial ended around 830. We walked back with the families and spent time with each one to give the comfort our dogs could give. We left around 9 pm- a long but very rewarding day!

Agency: UCSB Vice Chancellor of student affairs

Jan Heppart and Sequoia