Service dog aids Boston Marathon bombing victims' recovery

A dog named Rescue. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes)

Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes were two runners severely injured during last year’s Boston Marathon bombings. They each lost a leg and had to go through multiple surgeries and painful rehabilitation sessions just to be able to complete basic tasks. But according a report from NPR, their road to recovery was made more bearable with the help of an 80-pound service dog named Rescue.

Kensky, whose right leg was also mutilated during the terrorist attack, struggled with regaining mobility. When she heard that a Massachusetts nonprofit called NEADS was offering service dogs to any marathon-bombing victim with a permanent physical disability, Kensky immediately signed up and started working with Rescue.

Rescue helps Kensky keep steady when she walks on her crutches or with her prosthetic leg, but he also helps her open doors, retrieve her phone, or pick up her keys if she drops them. Rescue has helped keep Kensky and Downes active. On days where they may feel like giving up or not moving, Rescue begs the couple to take him on walks and go outside.

Besides just the physical benefits, Rescue has helped Kensky and Downes recover emotionally. The couple told NPR that the big, lovable black Labrador has brought laughter back into their household. Rescue is also very open to cuddling on the couch to watch a movie with the couple.

“He's just constantly giving us hugs and kisses and entertaining us, and he's a wonderful gift in that way,” Kensky told NPR.

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