Caroline and her dog Loki have been helping nurses and doctors relieve stress even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
But when the virus started spreading, they had to be confined at home, so Caroline thought of another way to help her medical family.
That’s when she started the “hero healing kits.”This “dogtor” may not have had formal training at med school but he has been doing a great job treating healthcare workers by giving them joy.
Loki, a Rottweiler, and his mom, Caroline Benzel, have been regular visitors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore even before the coronavirus crisis. The pair would come and cheer up hospital staff and resident patients three times a week.When the coronavirus started to spread, Caroline had to stop doing the visits because she is only in her second year as a medical student and she’s not qualified just yet to be on the front lines.
But Caroline knew she can’t just sit and watch frontliners working tirelessly while she’s at home in quarantine with her therapy dog. So she thought of an idea of how to be of help to her hospital family.
At first, Loki and Caroline would video call the hospital staff to somehow relieve their stress. Later on, Caroline noticed how wearing the protective medical gear round the clock has taken a toll on the doctors and nurses.
Having been forced to wear gloves and masks all day, the doctors and nurses have developed rashes and skin irritation. So Caroline decided to take it on the internet and started asking donations such as hydrating skin lotion, boxes of tea, baby powder, chapstick, chewing gum, and moisturizer to make up the “hero healing kits” for the frontliners.
“So far we have raised over 1,400 total kits, but are closer to +1,600 incomplete kits,” Caroline posted on Loki’s Facebook. “The donations keep coming in!! Needless to say, we are blown away by the kindness and generosity of people.”
Many people across the country were also inspired by the initiative and would like to replicate the “hero healing kit” in their own cities as well.
“The hope was people would see what we are trying to do and be inspired to do the same in their respective areas, and that HAS HAPPENED!” Caroline said. “Thank you again for all the love and support shown through all of this.”