Welcome to the new normal! Despite the fact that almost everything in the world was changed by the coronavirus crisis, there are still things that will never change, like people’s need for emotional support. That’s right, and sometimes people whose spirits are down don’t need humans, but rather dogs.
However, despite our pups being cleared of carrying the virus, hospitals are on strict lockdowns. There are no visitors allowed, either human or canine. This has become a challenge for Divine Canines. This group is made up of 150 volunteers and their trained therapy dogs, who usually provide comfort to hospitals in Austin, Texas.
So, instead of becoming dormant and doing nothing, they thought of doing video calls. Almost everything is being done online now, and perhaps therapy dog visits will be added to that long list. Cynthia Martinez and her therapy dog, Bailey, are the ones to pioneer this idea.
They have sent recorded video messages featuring dogs, but they haven’t done live video calls yet. So they tested it out with the Lyon family. Alex Lyon’s wife is a doctor who works for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital in Austin. So Divine Canines thought of having a video conference with their twin daughters Nina and Rita.
They read children’s books and played simple games that will be allowed by their virtual set up, and it was a huge success. Alex shared that it was a much-needed pick-me-up for their family since his wife is on the front lines, and they are always worried about her.
The executive director of Divine Canines understands that the live video call was very effective, and the next phase is to make calls to patients inside the hospitals. Also, they want to do the same for the nurses, doctors, and staff. Everyone knows how helpful a therapy dog’s boost is during these trying times.