By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been heartwarming to see people from all over the country doing anything they can think of to comfort the stunned, grieving people of Newtown, Connecticut, everything from buying them coffee to sending them teddy bears to simply showing up to pay respect.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

This – not ugly violence or nasty rhetoric – is the true face of America.

But the sight of specially-trained comfort dogs visiting Newtown Tuesday, and the video of local kids and adults flashing what might be their first smiles in five days as they interacted with them was especially touching.

It reminded me of why I always have had and always will have a dog in my life, and why, with a few exceptions, there’s no one else I’d rather spend my down time with.

Buddy the Lab is my third dog, and all dog lovers will readily understand everything I’m about to tell you about the joy she delivers. Yes, she; we chose the name before we chose the dog, and it stuck.

When I come home from work after a long day, Buddy’s greeting is always the same – over-the-top enthusiasm, followed by a mad dash to find a toy to show me. She is always equally thrilled by the unmistakeable signs that I’m getting ready to give her a walk or play session.

Never have more routine gestures been greeted with more sincere gratitude.

Buddy’s manners are impeccable when it comes to thank-yous. The sound of the same old dog food being poured into her bowl prompts a spectacular display of pleasure, more than any diner has ever received a gourmet meal with.

And Buddy also has more empathy than most people I know. When my wife or I are sick in bed, she is by our side. She plays beautifully with other dogs, and is never rude or hostile.

And you can go ahead and mock me, but I believe she has a terrific sense of humor, because to me it seems as if she laughs at all my jokes.

They say a few minutes of petting a dog lowers your blood pressure measurably, and I believe it. I bet the people of Newtown do, too.

No wonder we call them mankind’s best friend.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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