Maryland Therapy Dog Offers Comfort to Front Line Hospital Workers

by AmericasKeepersAdmin on April 18, 2020

A therapy dog in Maryland has gotten creative on how to give back to hospital workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

With all the restrictions in place at hospitals to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visits from therapy dogs have been temporarily suspended. However one therapy dog, Loki, has started delivering care packages to hospital workers.

A medical student at the University of Maryland, Caroline Benzel, has been bringing her dog to the hospital for several years to uplift patients’ spirits.

“So, Loki is a two-and-a-half-year-old Rottweiler. She was given to me the same week I was accepted to medical school. And so, we thought it would be a good idea to make her a therapy dog for the hospital there. And, as you can see, it’s kind of taken off.”
-Caroline Benzel

Since the restrictions have gone into place she switched to doing Facetime visits with hospital staff and patients. While Facetiming with them she noticed the strain that the personal protective equipment was putting on them and she decided to provide care packages to offer some comfort during this difficult time.

“Everyone was wearing PPE 24/7 and because of that, they were getting rashes and irritation from wearing masks,” 
– Caroline Benzel

Benzel created, “hero healing kits,” which contain various items including healing lotion, chapstick, Gold Bond, gum and tea. The items have been donated through Amazon wish list

The hospital personnel have been extremely grateful for the healing kits.

“I think that there have been a lot of people who just kind of need other people in the background to show them that they are being supported up on the front lines. Whether it be first responders, nurses, custodians…And, we have been trying to do that for people.”
– Caroline Benzel

Currently there have been more than 3000 kits donated and the idea has taken off in other areas as well. Philadelphia, New Jersey and North Carolina have started creating care packages for their local hospitals.

“It’s been really hard being a full-time medical student and not being able to be there because we have pulled back and now everything is through Zoom. So, this is the best that I can do to try to make things better for all of my co-workers out there on the front lines, you know, making a difference for people.”
– Caroline Benzel


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