Therapy dog Jeffrey has been dubbed the "Positively Peaceful Pit Bull," but there's one person who comforts him as much as he comforts her.
Nine-year-old Emma Wishneski fell in love with Jeffrey at a Christmas party for Sandy Hook students last December, NBC's Today reports. His owner, Michele Houston, brought him to visit the kids just weeks after the shooting that took 26 lives from the school.
The pair were inseparable for the entire event, and countless playdates since have brought them even closer.
"He has one very special friend," Houston told Today, "She's his safe place."
Wishneski wasn't at Sandy Hook that December morning because of a doctor's appointment, but she lost teachers and friends. In the wake of the shock, Jeffrey was just the smiling support she needed.
"He's really big and friendly, and he has a lot of slobber but he's cute," Wishneski told Today. "He's a pit bull. They're supposed to be bad, but they're actually really nice."
Two years ago, Houston rescued Jeffrey when he was only hours away from euthanasia at a New York City shelter.
She told Today that Jeffrey was born to be a therapy dog, and now he spends his days comforting people at school libraries, assisted living facilities and hospitals. When she puts on his vest, he knows he's going to work and loves it.
Wishneski will be carrying a small stuffed animal version of Jeffrey when she starts school again this week.
“I think for her, there's a security in that it's a dog and not another person,” her mom, Marykay Wishneski, told Today. "When she's with Jeffrey she doesn't stop smiling."