It’s not just people that are feeling the strain of being out of work. Therapy dogs, whose weeks often include visits to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, have their regularly scheduled visits on hold due to COVID-19. Dogtor Loki, a 2-year-old Rottweiler at the University of Maryland Medical Center, is one such dog. Before COVID-19, Dogtor Loki visited patients at the Baltimore hospital multiple times a week with his medical student mom, Caroline Benzel.  

Caroline, a medical student when the pandemic began, explained she and Loki needed to do something to support the doctors and nurses at the hospital.

Caroline became aware that doctors and nurses were experiencing skin irritation from having to wear personal protective equipment or PPE at all times at work. Caroline and Dogtor Loki sprang into action, taking their plans to their Facebook and Instagram pages and began collecting donations of personal care items—lotion, Chapstick, gum, tea, etc.—which Caroline puts together in what she calls “Hero Healing Kits.” 

To date, according to Dogtor Loki’s Facebook, 4,000 kits have been delivered by Dogtor Loki to several hospitals. The Hero Healing Kits are intended to provide a bit of cozy comfort for these medical professionals on the frontlines of COVID-19 and provide comfort during these challenging times. 

Photo Facebook Loki the Therapy Rottweiler 

Ways To Support: 

During these challenging times it can feel hard to know how to help and support. If you are inspired by Dogtor Loki and Caroline you can donate directly to their efforts via Amazon. Caroline has setup an Amazon Wish List containing supplies needed for their Hero Healing Kits. 

PupPals! A free way to support anyone who is having a hard day—from a student missing the classroom, to grocery store workers and nurses—is to send them a puppy, Not a real one, of course, but a message from a puppy via the AKC’s free PupPals program. You and your dog can even virtually volunteer. Learn more here.

Foster If you are working from home right now and have time, consider fostering dogs through a local rescue group. Not only does fostering provide homeless dogs an opportunity to gain skills about living in a home and with a family, fostering a dog allows rescue groups to get important information about a particular dog’s behaviour which will support with finding the right adoptive home. It also opens up shelter space, allowing more dogs to be saved!

Donate—Many shelters and rescue groups have very limited staff and are struggling financially. Check with your local groups to find out how to donate dog food, toys, treats, and other necessary supplies, such as old towels. Many humane societies have  setup curbside drop-off options so you can donate while maintaining social distancing, or even donate via Amazon Wishlist. 


Sassafras Lowrey is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and author of “Tricks In The City,” “Healing/Heeling,” “Bedtime Stories For Rescue Dogs,” and the activity book “Chew This Journal” forthcoming in Summer 2020. Follow Sassafras and her canine adventures on Twitter/Instagram and at