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Santa and his ReinDogs bring holiday cheer to underprivileged children

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The holidays can be a tough time of year for some, so Santa teamed up with some four-legged friends (no, not reindeer) to brighten the holidays for local children.

"Just petting a dog makes you feel good, lowers the blood pressure and it put a smile on almost every child's face here today," said Deanne Valutis, therapy dog trainer.

The therapy dogs came from a program at Cornell University, equipped with antlers.

"I think they got to meet a lot of different types of dogs and breeds and sizes and the dogs are all friendly. They don't have to be afraid anything is going to happen to them because they're all registered therapy dogs and they have the personality and temperament that they love to be pet and share the love with the children," said Valutis.

Santa even brought his own therapy dogs, Comet and Noelle to help spread the holiday cheer.

"It's the ultimate experience because it combines the two loves, the love of making children happy and the love of animals, and as you can tell all these guys petting them, they just make them feel good," said Santa Claus.

One 10-year-old said the furry friends gave him hope.

"Stay alive and do great in life," he said.

Santa says if you can measure success in hugs, it was a good night for him and his "ReinDogs."

"My heart swells. It's a wonderful feeling I can bring so much happiness to them and thats what I love doing, making children happy," said Santa.

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