A ‘Dogtor’ Delivering Healing Kits To Healthcare Workers Is The Good News You Need Today
The therapy pup is lifting spirits and bringing relief to front-line workers in their community.
I'm not a healthcare worker, but I can imagine that being at a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic is extremely stressful. Not only are medical staffers working long hours every day to help their patients battle the virus, they also have to be careful to not contract the illness themselves.
Thankfully, there's love and hope coming from all pockets of the country, including Baltimore, MD, where a furry friend is helping bring some much-needed relief to overworked employees at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Loki, the two-year-old therapy Rottweiler, is well known at UMMC. Loki's dog-mom, Caroline Benzel, is a second-year medical student at the university. Before Covid-19 hit, Benzel and Loki would visit the hospital three days a week, bringing joy and comfort to patients and staff.
Loki and his mom regularly made visits to the hospital to visit with staff and patients. Loki the Therapy Rottweiler/Facebook
"It truly gives patients who are stuck in the hospital a sense of home, and it really can change their whole outlook and the positivity that the patient has, which is huge for their recovery," Benzel told GMA.
After the coronavirus epidemic forced hospitals to stop allowing therapy dog visits, Benzel knew she wanted to continue helping her colleagues any way she could. She started holding digital therapy dog visits, where she and Loki use Facetime to connect with staff members at the hospital.
Benzel records the visits in her mom's front yard, where people can see the sunshine and hear the birds chirping in the background. Loki sits by her side and wears his official UMMC lab coat and "Dogtor" ID tag.
Benzel does her digital therapy dog visits outside to give people a different perspective outside of the hospital. Loki the Therapy Rottweiler/Facebook
It was during those FaceTime visits that Benzel got an idea for another way to help the healthcare workers she was interacting with.
"I was seeing the masks doing the damage to the nursing staff, the doctors, the social workers, because everyone –custodians to doctors– are all required to wear it," she said.
Benzel and Loki wanted to do something to help the frontline workers who are required to wear masks and other PPE 24/7. Loki the Therapy Rottweiler/Facebook
Benzel came up with idea of creating "Hero Healing Kits" with items like Gold Bond powder, chapstick and lotion to help sooth front-line workers' skin after wearing masks and other protective gear all day long.
The kits come in pretty bags and include a custom sticker with Dogtor Loki's face on it.
Each 'Hero Healing Kit' contains items to help soothe workers' irritated skin, along with tea and a few snacks. Loki the Therapy Rottweiler/Facebook
Since Amazon places a limit on the amount of supplies one person can buy, Benzel has been seeking out donations through Loki's social media pages to make more kits . So far, the pair has put together over 3,000 Hero Healing kits, thanks to the community's donations.
Benzel and Loki personally deliver the kits to the hospital, and even though they can't go inside the building, the staff members are always smiling ear-to-ear when they see their favorite 'dogtor,' even if it's just for a moment.
Loki and Benzel personally drop off the kits to area hospitals. Loki the Therapy Rottweiler/Facebook
"For them, it's always so overwhelming to see the fact the people put so much effort into things for them," Benzel said. "So it's truly, just how grateful, they feel."