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Therapy Dog Receives ‘Dogtorate’ for Pandemic Service

Therapy dogs have been essential workers during the pandemic. Now, one therapy dog is receiving the recognition she deserves for her efforts at soothing humans during the height of this unprecedented and challenging time. A 5-year-old Rottweiler named Loki has been awarded a “Dogtorate of Medicine” from the University of Maryland Baltimore.

Therapy dog honored at university ceremony

According to Fox 5 News, “Dogtor” Loki, in tandem with her handler, Dr. Caroline Benzel, brought Hero Healing Kits to frontline healthcare workers at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The kits featured Vaseline, lotion, tea, and instant coffee, items recipients called “functional and meaningful,” according to the news outlet. Loki also conducted virtual therapy sessions with patients fighting coronavirus during the worst of the pandemic.

Loki was recognized previously for her efforts with several prestigious national awards. She is a past recipient of the American Kennel Club Paw of Courage. Even more impressive, Ally Bank gave her a $10,000 donation during an appearance on Katie Couric’s “The Bright Side” video series.

Loki used half of that donation to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers. The other half funded the distribution of Hero Healing Kits. So far, Loki has disbursed over 7,000 kits in Maryland. Recipients of the kits include hospital workers, UMB Police Department employees, and local fire stations.

Trailblazing dog inspires goodwill

Loki is a true trailblazer. Her work has inspired copycats in eight other states and raised over $100,000 nationwide. Benzel said she’s also received donations of items for the Hero Healing Kits, which she and Loki shared with hospitals over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Up next for Loki? She’s going to be the star of her own children’s book, which Benzel plans to author.

Loki wasn’t the only dog who received a diploma from the University of Maryland. A 3-year-old Goldendoodle named Kylo Red, as well as a 6-year-old Labradoodle named Kiera, also received “Dogtorates” for their service in comforting health care workers.

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