PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - A new program called Paws of Love is providing support dogs for families affected by gun violence.

The initiative was created by the parents of one of the victims of the Parkland shooting.

There’s something to say about a girl and her dog, and Cooper, a goldendoodle, was Jaime Guttenberg’s best friend.

“We got him the Thanksgiving week before the shooting,” said Fred Guttenberg, Jaime’s father. “The very last picture I ever took of Jaime, which you have, is her and Cooper. We took that the day before she was shot.”

Jaime and 16 others were killed Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“Cooper was 4 months old when Jaime was killed. I kid you not, having that puppy in our house saved our life,” Guttenberg said.

The true joy that Guttenberg and his wife Jennifer Guttenberg received from Cooper helped them through the darkest time of their lives, and now they are doing the same for other families torn apart by gun violence with Paws of Love.

“Jen, my wife, she had the idea. One day, she said, ‘I know what I want to do, you know, I know what the dogs meant to us,'” Guttenberg said.

Since 2018, the Guttenbergs have been busy, first creating Orange Ribbons for Jaime, raising and donating money to global and local organizations, donating meals, and more than $50,000 has been given away in student scholarships all in Jaime’s honor.

“My daughter was pure joy, always looking for a way to do something that could lift others up, always working harder for those who maybe needed a bigger lift. It’s just who she was, and she loved her dogs,” Fred Guttenberg said.

So now the family has now teamed up with Moss Creek Goldendoodles out of Tampa to create the Paws of Love initiative, giving needy families a support dog.

Any family affected by gun violence can apply. Once approved, Paws of Love will give you one full year of support.

“Going forward, my hope is that my family and our foundation, Orange Ribbons for Jaime, will really be able to engage in an effort to do more to support families affected by gun violence in this really unique way,” Fred Guttenberg said.

Bringing love and emotional support to families who need it the most, something the Guttenbergs have lived through.

“I think the name says it all,” Fred Guttenberg. “Paws of Love. That’s what this is, and we do understand what these families are going through. I also understand how much my dogs meant to me to get to this place.”

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