Nightly News   |  April 17, 2013

‘Comfort Dogs’ help Boston victims heal

The gentle golden retrievers are lending a “helping paw,” visiting the injured victims of the Boston Marathon bombings to offer companionship, comfort and compassion.  NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it all too many times lately. they are a welcome sign when they arrive on the scene -- the therapy dogs who show up to comfort the humans who have been through a trauma. well, they are on the job tonight in boston. we get the story tonight from nbc's kerry sanders .

>> reporter: for two days all 15-year-old david yepez has heard and thought about are his injuries from the second explosion.

>> this is ruthie.

>> reporter: but today, david smiled.

>> we have a dog at home. he's a small yorkie terrier.

>> reporter: for just a moment luther and ruthie made the shrapnel and painful burns an after thought.

>> it's relaxing. takes my mind away from everything going on.

>> reporter: today lutheran church charities had the comfort brigade all the the center. dogs working with other recovering children in newtown, connecticut.

>> come on, puppy.

>> reporter: quiet peaceful visitors who lee ann say set her nerves at ease hours before the surgery on her wounded leg.

>> animals, you know, they just have a different sense, you know. they don't talk back to you.

>> oh, my goodness! hi!

>> reporter: the comfort dogs are like furry therapists and it is not just those who were injured that need relief. how nice is it for you to have just a different moment with a dog?

>> my stress level has gone way down.

>> they sense love. they sense that somebody is caring. and they sense that in the midst of darkness there is light.

>> this is luther.

>> reporter: companionship, comfort when it's needed the most.

>> you are a big puppy for 2.

>> reporter: kerry sanders , nbc news, boston.