Therapy dogs help bring some holiday cheer - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Therapy dogs help bring some holiday cheer

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Dogs are known to brighten up people's days, and Tuesday was no exception.

Love on a Leash, a therapy dog group, brought 16 dogs and hundreds of presents to a local senior center.

For some seniors it may be the only gift they'll receive this Christmas, and with Christmas carols playing and Santa Claus dancing, seniors were treated to quite the celebration at Life House San Diego Healthcare Center.

The real crowd-pleaser were the therapy dogs, most of whom showed up in costume, some literally with bells on.

James Phillips who is 77-years-old, said what the dogs do is a powerful thing because they bring comfort to everyone, especially for those who have no family nearby or any relatives at all.

"Pet therapy is very beneficial for seniors. It helps with communication, and feelings of depression. Studies have shown it helps with people with dementia," said Patricia van Natta.

Life House Executive Director Patricia van Natta said she's grateful for what Love on a Leash provides. The gifts, are an added bonus.

"We thought that is tragic not having anything to open on Christmas day, so we rallied the troops last year and this year we pulled out all he stops," said Janet Kinnon with Love on a Leash.

Kinnon said she and her fellow group members visit hospitals, schools and senior centers alike year-round.

This is the first time they've adopted a group and brought presents alongside their precious pets.

"We got a list of what they need so it's the basics, it's, sweatshirts and pajamas and slippers," she said.

Everything was made possible through donations and generosity.

Love on Leash has been visiting Life House five years. Their therapy dogs go through hours of training to become certified.

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