Therapy Dogs Surprise Hospitalized Mom With Social-Distanced Visit

April 30, 2020

During the COVID-19 quarantine, one of the hardest parts is not being able to visit loved ones in the hospital. Restrictions prevent family and friends from visiting for the health and safety of everyone. For the people who are there for longer periods of time, it’s extremely difficult not to see anyone in person.

For Joanna Hehir from Texas, the hardest part was not seeing her dogs though. Her two Great Pyrenees, George and Fiona, are a huge part of her life. So, she wanted to see her sweet pups more than anything.

Joanna had been at the hospital recovering from a stomach ulcer for weeks. She was able to see her family and her dogs just before the lockdown started, but they hadn’t been able to visit since. As a devoted dog mom, Joanna couldn’t stand being away from her four-legged family members.

Joanna’s husband, John, could see how difficult the situation was for both Joanna and the dogs. He wanted to find a way to bring the dogs to her safely, but it seemed nearly impossible. Then, he came up with a genius idea.

“It’s been really tough on everyone. She brings light into every room, we miss her,” said John. “[The dogs are] like two huge toddlers running around the house. They don’t understand why she isn’t here.”

A Special Visit

At first, John just planned to bring the dogs to the parking lot so Joanna could see them from her window. However, the nurse had a better idea. She suggested that they stand outside the lobby window.

When John, his son, and the two dogs came to visit, the nurse gladly skipped her lunch break so she could bring Joanna to the lobby. She brought Joanna’s wheelchair right up to the window, so all that was between her and her dogs was the glass. When George and Fiona saw their mom, they were ecstatic.While Joanna couldn’t hug her human family members or pet her furry ones, this was just as exciting for her. George and Fiona recognized her right away, and they began licking and pawing at the glass in excitement as Joanna extended her hand to them. The poor pups were unsure why they couldn’t cuddle with their mom, but they were happy to see she was okay.

“I can’t thank the nurses enough. I haven’t seen Joanna smile that big in so long,” said John. “I know they’re taking amazing care of her but just to see her doing well and to see her smiling was a relief like I can’t explain.”

Joanna still has to stay in the hospital for a while as she heals, but seeing her dogs helped lift her spirits. This entire situation has been difficult for her whole family, but John thinks that it will help them appreciate moments together more in the future. Hopefully, more people will share this positive outlook once this is all over.

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News