Toledo comfort dog helping people all over America virtually

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT
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The pandemic has changed just about everything in this community, including a program that uses a dog to help victims of crime. Ezra is part of the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog program. He is assigned to work with the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office

However, since he hasn't been able to do that during the COVID-19 crisis he's found another way to connect with people. Ezra has helped people all over the country, including some on the frontlines of the pandemic.

The four-year-old Golden Retriever has a lot of important jobs in this world. His main focus is to help victims of crime, many of them children, at the Lucas County Courthouse. Ezra is there for the victims from interviews all the way through trial. He's even able to be on the stand with them. But that work stopped during the pandemic.

Nancy and Mack Borders are his caregivers. They say Ezra is now working in a different capacity with other Lutheran Church Charities comfort dogs around the country. The dogs and their caregivers are doing virtual visits with people.

Many of the people Ezra has visited with in the last few months are on the frontlines of the pandemic. A recent visit with nurses at an Illinois hospital had a huge impact on Nancy and Mack.

"We heard music in the background during our virtual visit, and we asked them what it was for. They said someone who survived COVID-19 was going home. That makes it all worthwhile, right there," said Mack

As you can imagine, the virtual visits took some adjusting for Ezra in the beginning. "At first, he didnt get it. He would hear people but he couldn't figure out where they were. He has gotten a lot better with that. Now he'll sit, stare at the screen and focus," said Nancy.

The hope is that Ezra will be back to work at the courthouse this month.

He also visits local nursing homes and hospitals. Virtual visits with Ezra and other Lutheran Church Charities comfort dogs are open to anyone.

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