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Service Dog For Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Recovered After 18 Hours

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – A search party was looking for a service dog belonging to Boston Marathon bombing survivor Joanna Leigh but the pooch found the way back to her own back yard after 18 hours.

The pair were walking around Jamaica Pond Friday evening when the dog was scared by an unusual noise and ran away.

“It’s been a long three days and I think yesterday it just took its toll,” said Leigh of the intense week they’ve spent teaching Lydia the terrain of her new city.

The 130-pound black Great Dane was placed with Leigh just this past week. Lydia’s trainers from the Service Dog Project in Ipswich brought a small army of searchers to Jamaica Plain Saturday morning. They stopped everyone they saw and asked them to keep their eyes out for the 18-month-old dog.

“I know Lydia. I was there when she was born. Lydia is a perfect, perfect service dog,” said trainer Sheila Cranney.

So perfect, it turns out, Lydia wandered all night and Saturday morning looking for home. When she found it, Lydia sat down right next to Leigh’s car in the driveway.

“I was so worried. All I could think was she might be out there & could be hurt,” said Leigh. “It’s like your baby out there.”

Lydia is trained to help with mobility issues. Leigh suffered a brain injury during the bombings.

“If someone has balance issues, the dog will walk with the person and keep them at a steady pace to keep them upright,” said Cranney. “If the handler does happen to fall, the dog is taught to stand so the person can use them to stand up.”

Leigh says she and Lydia are still mid-training as a pair, but have already formed a solid bond.

“Great Danes are one person dogs. They like to follow that one person and bond with that person. They’ll do pretty much anything that person wants them to do,” said Cranney.

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