Two men placed bombs near the marathon finish line killing three people and injuring several more. For the next three days, until the killers were caught, the fear that the terrorists could strike again, and the sorrow felt for those who lost life and limb, was overbearing.
Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, newlyweds, were both severely injured in the attack. Jessica lost two legs and Patrick one. They faced several operations and a lengthy rehabilitation. They could not work, they did not know how they would live, and as much as their friends and family tried to comfort the couple connecting with them was difficult.
Then they heard the sound of four paws on the floor. That is when Jessica met her service dog, Rescue. And from that moment things became easier. Patrick said “I can still go back to that moment and remember the feeling throughout my body as I laughed and saw my wife laugh. I just could not have imagined that sort of day would be possible again after the stretch that we had been through. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the first of many times that Rescue would bring that kind of lightness to our family.”
Rescue brought the couple what they had not had since before the bombing: Laughter It may not cure everything but laughter certainly helps people get through the hard times.
Now the couple is telling their story in a children’s book called “Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship.” While both the fictional Jessica and the author lost their lower legs, it is never revealed in the book how the injury occurred because the author did not want to make the book about the terrorist attack.
Jessica has gone to classrooms to read the book to the children and honestly answer their questions about her struggle after the bombing. The best part of her reading is that Rescue is sitting with her while she reads.
The reason she wrote a children’s book was that she noticed when she traveled with Rescue, either wearing prosthetic or not, boys and girls would stare at her. She wanted the children to know that she was still the person she was before the bombing, but she faces unique challenges, which Rescue helps her overcome.
Jessica, Patrick, and Rescue are currently on a book tour so watch your local listings, and you may be able to greet these three heroes.