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Couple Who Both Lost Leg in Boston Marathon Know Service Dog Changed Entire Life

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There are some days may will never forget; days that become an indelible part of history.

The day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the space shuttle Challenger and Columbia disasters, the 9/11 World Trade Center bombing and the Boston Marathon bombing all fall into that category.

Each time, the country would come together in mourning, but in the midst of some of those times stories of hope began to surface. The Boston Marathon bombing is no different with one particular story of hope not only being part of a Hollywood movie, but being put into a story for children about “kindness, acceptance and loyalty. And in the end it’s a story about hope,” wrote The Washington Post.

It begins with newlyweds Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes. Even though both were marathon runners themselves, on that particular April day in 2013, they were just happily enjoying the race from the sidelines, as spectators.

Unfortunately, they were standing in the blast zone when the bomb went off, costing both of them a left leg, from below the knee. Alive but with a lot of challenges ahead of them, the couple spent the next several years living at Bethesda, Maryland’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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For Kensky, much of the time seemed to be “preparing for surgeries, having surgeries and recovering from surgeries,” reported The Washington Post. It was difficult for her and she dreamed of having a service dog, according to The Dodo.

Her dream came true in the form of “Rescue,” who has reportedly lived up to his name in many ways, most notably in ‘rescuing’ Kensky from the dark cloud that hung over her and restoring her joyfulness.

Downes told The Dodo that Rescue has been such a crucial part of helping Kensky, that the moment she was out of surgery, each time, she’d call him and insist on Rescue being brought to her, to lay on her bed with her as she recovered.

Over time, Rescue and Kensky have formed an unbreakable bond, with her furry companion not only helping her with tasks such as pushing elevator buttons and retrieving things from the ground, but also in helping her find a new mission for her future.



The couple told The Washington Post that the book, titled “Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship,” based on Rescue and Kensky’s story for children that they wrote was inspired by all the children who have approached them over the years.

Brimming with natural curiosity, the children have wanted to pet Rescue and to know about the couple’s prosthetics.

Kensky elaborated on that to The Washington Post: “Kids come up to us all the time, especially in warmer weather when we’re both wearing shorts. Kids have genuine curiosity, they are trying to make sense of their world. They genuinely want to know if we hurt.”



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Kensky and Downes saw that as a perfect opportunity to answer questions for a larger audience of children in a way that would not speak of the bombing, but instead focus on the positives of acceptance and compassion.

Adding to what Kensky said, Downes stated, “We would invite them to explore our prosthetics, and it demystifies it for them. The instant they’d touch it, they would smile because it isn’t scary anymore because you’ve allowed them to understand it.”

All of the attention has not gone to the head of Rescue, who also happens to be the 2017 ASPCA Dog of the Year winner.

Kensky told The Dodo that when he isn’t working, the life-changing dog spends most of his time cuddled up in one of his beds, sleeping contentedly.

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