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      Therapy kangaroo helps veterans, to be honored

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      Therapy kangaroo helps veterans, to be honored

      (KUTV) About a dozen therapy animals share their healing love and support with the residents at William E. Christoffersen Veterans Home in Salt Lake City. But one four legged friend is unlike the rest. His name is Charlie, and he's a kangaroo.

      "He just makes everybody smile," said administrator Noralyn Kahn.

      "He's cool. I like him," said Bernie Kindred.


      Kindred has been in the home for about as long as Charlie, almost a year. During that time, they developed a close friendship.

      "He likes to come into my room and we'll eat licorice," said Kindred.

      Kahn said Charlie's love is unconditional.

      "He just knows that he has to love them. And it doesn't matter what they look like or how they act, he's there to love them," said Kahn. "It is very emotional to me because it is such tenderness. And it makes such a difference in so many lives."

      Visitors enjoyed Charlie, too.

      "It makes it so that the grandkids aren't afraid to come see Grandpa. Because they can come see Charlie, too."


      Charlie took trips to special education classes and hospice care facilities.

      "He was passing away and he held Charlie for about an hour and said, now I can die."

      Charlie is about a year old and weighs 30 pounds. Red kangaroos grow quickly and soon Charlie will be 5 feet 2 inches tall and weigh 125 pounds, which means he will not be able to stay in the veterans home much longer.

      The Utah Red Cross will honor Charlie and Noralyn in a Heroes Recognition Event on March 31 at the Little America Hotel.

      This is a very unique story and we are pleased and proud to honor the work of Noralyn and of course Charlie," said Red Cross representative, Rich Woodruff.

      Woodruff said the annual event has many categories, but they only recently added animal category.

      "We're just so pleased to bring this story to light and share it with the community at our annual Heroes Event."


      For more information on the Heroes Event, head to RedCross.org/Utah.

      Follow Lisa Nico on Twitter @LisaNicoNews for breaking news, updates and more.

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