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Young heart transplant patient on the mend with dog’s help –

KRIS VAN CLEAVE, CBS NEWS 10:12 a.m. CST February 16, 2015

(Photo: CBS)

A New York boy is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a new heart this year. And his doctors are giving a dog named Ralph some of the credit.

Eight-year-old Pablo Patino was born with congestive heart failure, and by last fall, his enlarged heart was deteriorating fast.

“There were times he was so sick he may not have survived, so it’s amazing,” Dr. Irene Lytrivi, a pediatric cardiologist at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, told CBS News.

Pablo received a heart transplant in November. But after surgery, doctors say he needed something more than just modern medicine. That’s when Ralph stepped in. The dog helped distract Pablo from the pain and encouraged him to get up and move.

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