Springdale, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — After a year of the pandemic, Mercy Hospital welcomes back some of its volunteers. Therapy dogs visited people who were getting their COVID-19 shots today.
With a sniff and a wag of the tail, Mercy the dog is helping people get through this pandemic.
“There’s nothing better than to just take the edge off,” her handler and Mercy Hospital volunteer John Kinmonth said.
Monday morning, people lined up at Mercy Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
“We’re so excited that the animals get to come and celebrate with us as we bring this hope into Northwest Arkansas,” Mercy Hospital Director of Mission Holli Oliver said.
Due to restrictions during the pandemic, it has been a long time since therapy dogs have been allowed at Mercy.
“It was hard for both of us I think. Our routine was three to four days a week stopping in and volunteering,” Kinmonth said.
And it is not just the dogs.
“We’ve missed the volunteers for all of mercy. We have over 250 volunteers that have been gone for a year. So to start bringing the volunteers back is so exciting for us,” Oliver said.
So Monday, the patients were excited.
“They feel so at peace when they see the animals and it’s a really sweet time to watch,” Oliver said.
But the staff, who has been overwhelmed this past year, is just as thrilled.
“They spend an awful lot of time interacting with our co-workers because they need therapy too,” Oliver said.
It is just another step toward normalcy, especially for Mercy the dog and her handler.
“It’s my blessing to be able to be apart of this. I get back probably more than I give,” Kinmonth said.