“Dogtor” Loki is making sure to look after Maryland nurses during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The therapy dog — owned by second-year medical student Caroline Benzel of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore — is helping deliver “hero healing kits” to intensive care unit nurses at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Benzel told Fox 17 that she first adopted Loki around the same time that she was accepted into medical school, telling the outlet she wanted a therapy dog after seeing the positive effect one had on her sick grandfather.
“My grandfather was sick and I lived with him in his hospital room for a month,” Caroline explained. “When he would see this dog, he would light up.”
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Loki and Benzel would spend three days a week visiting patients and lifting spirits at the hospital.
“I got pulled from school and the front lines,” Benzel said. “I was used to being at the hospital multiple days a week with Loki.”
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The duo began FaceTiming with the patients and healthcare workers to provide virtual support, and Benzel soon noticed the strain nurses were going through having to wear personal protective equipment around the clock.
“Everyone was wearing PPE 24/7 and because of that, they were getting rashes and irritation from wearing masks,” Benzel told the outlet, explaining that she felt inspired to help alleviate some of that pain with care packages that she dubbed “hero healing kits.”
In the kits, which the medical student compiled through donations via an Amazon Wishlist, Benzel and Loki provide healthcare workers with things like healing lotion and moisturizer, Gold Bond powder, chewing gum, chapstick and tea.
“So far we have raised over 1,400 total kits, but are closer to +1,600 incomplete kits 😱,” Benzel shared on Loki’s Facebook page. “The donations keep coming in!! Needless to say, we are blown away by the kindness and generosity of people.”
“We will be distributing the majority of these to 4 different hospitals over the next week. AND THAT IS JUST THE BEGINNING,” she added.
Hey SLAYER! I’ve started a new series of posts called SLAY IT FORWARD. Each post is a submission from you of an act of kindness you have received or have witnessed that has inspired you. Let’s remind each other what’s important during this time and spread kindness… SLAY IT FORWARD.
To submit your own SLAY IT FORWARD story email me at firstname.lastname@example.org