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Therapy dog saves woman who was on the verge of taking her own life

(CNN) A therapy dog has played a role in saving a woman who was considering taking her own life on a bridge over a highway in the UK, first responders attending the scene have said.

Digby normally helps firefighters in therapy sessions deal with trauma.

But in a change to his usual job description, the 3-year-old labradoodle was brought to the scene where crews were trying to help a woman on a bridge near Exeter, southwestern England, on Tuesday, the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) said.

Tweeting about his heroics, the DSFRS said: "This is Digby. Today he did something amazing and helped save a young woman who was thinking of taking her own life on a bridge over the M5 near Exeter."

"Police negotiators were speaking with the woman but the situation was becoming increasingly worrying."

Then one of the fire crews suggested calling in Digby, a "defusing" dog who normally helps firefighters in therapy sessions deal with trauma, explained the service.

"When Digby arrived, the young woman immediately swung her head round to look, and smiled. This got a conversation started about Digby and his role at the fire service," continued the Twitter thread.

"She was asked if she would like to come and meet Digby if she came back over the railings, which we are pleased to say she did."

The DSFRS said it wished the woman "all the best in her recovery."

Using dogs to help humans deal with trauma is increasingly popular.

In April, Clarence, a 160-pound St Bernard became the first Official Police Comfort Dog in the US. He spent the week roaming the halls of Congress with Keeva, an Akita, and chocolate lab Hank.

Clarence, who belongs to the Greenfield, Massachusetts, Police Department, has been at the site of some of the country's worst tragedies -- Sandy Hook, the Las Vegas shootings, the Boston Marathon and the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

And therapy dogs have also been helping doctors in the fight against coronavirus.

One example is Loki, a two-year-old Rottweiler therapy dog, or a "dogtor," who started doing therapy sessions for staff at the University of Maryland Medical Center in December 2019.