BRANSON, Mo.– Adene Smith wasn’t there on Table Rock Lake to pull survivors out of the water. She was there in the days to follow, at Cox Branson, where survivors would physically recover and mentally grapple with what happened on Table Rock that night.

“It was unfortunate that we had more that passed away than made it to the hospital, for us to care for. And that’s always a difficult thing to swallow,” Smith told Ozarks First reporter Chrystal Blair. “There were several kids involved that were in terrible shock,”

For Smith, caring for the kids was as easy as introducing them to a new friend.

“I knew he would be particularly important that morning. Animals are very good with kids,” she said.

Her service dog, Gus, played a major role in ways no human caregiver could.

“I just sat on the bed with him with Gus my dog,” she told Blair. “He played and helped that child kind of have a sense of normalcy for a minute.”

Of course, Smith admits Gus had the advantage of working on a team of incredible caregivers.

“It wasn’t just doctors,” Smith said. “It was administrators. It was food service people. It was housekeeping. Everybody in this hospital played a part in taking care of these patients that day and it made me so proud to a part of this organization and to work with all of them honestly.”