While everyone is out enjoying this glorious fall day, complete with cool weather and crisp air, Nina Pham, America’s favorite Ebola-free nurse, was reunited with her darling blenheim Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Bentley.
Bentley stole most of the nation’s hearts when he became the first dog quarantined in case he had contracted Ebola from his owner, who tested positive but survived. [I will refrain, though hard, from lambasting those who called for Bentley’s immediate execution.] Nina was frantic when she was admitted to the hospital and confirmed positive for Ebola – Bentley is her baby and she wanted him safe. Can you imagine the fear when you are in a bubble in ICU, Ebola-positive, powerless over your pet’s fate, and Spain had just peremptorily killed the Spanish nurse’s mutt when she was diagnosed with Ebola, without ever testing him or monitoring him? No doubt Nina was terrified, feeling ill (she did have Ebola!), and helpless to care for or protect her sweet dog.
After a day in her apartment with hazmat crews feeding and watering him, Bentley hit jackpot. As we all know, the City of Dallas set international precedent by deciding to care for the little guy while his owner fought Ebola, and kept Nina updated on his health and well-being. Nina texted and spoke via phone with Bentley’s caregivers, was sent video of him playing fetch, and even received a poster while at the National Institute of Health wishing her well from cavalier lovers across the United States. (My dear friend even picked up the poster from Dallas Animal Services and mailed it to Nina). It was a group effort, but Dallas Animal Services, with help from Texas A&M’s veterinary program, get major kudos for acting swiftly and cautiously to save this sweet boy and protect the public. He was whisked away to a secure location, guarded to protect him from loons who publicly stated he should be killed, and cared for and loved for his isolation.
And now I get to brag on my friend.
Dr. Cate McManus, Director of Operations Dallas Animal Services, already has a busy job overseeing the care and flow of Dallas’ city shelter, with HUNDREDS of animals coming in daily. In the blink of an eye, she added planning and caring for the nation’s first K-9 Ebola patient. And she did so with grace and empathy. Dr. Cate is a rockstar – she was one of the first veterinarians to complete Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Residency at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Her interests include infectious disease prevention in animal shelter populations, animal flow through within a shelter environment, the health and safety of animal shelter workers and volunteers, and disaster response and management. Previously, she was a veterinary epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health and a Veterinary Corp Officer on active duty with the US Army. Even now, Dr. Cate continues to serve as a veterinarian in the US Army reserves and is board certified with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. I cannot thank the City of Dallas, Texas A&M, and Dr. Cate enough for acting so quickly and valuing both lives – Nina and Bentley’s. Dallas certainly showed the world that even the greatness of a city can be judged by how it treats its animals.
In response to the outpouring of support from good people around the world for Bentley, the City of Dallas partnered with Dallas Companion Animal Project to establish a fund. The donations helped Bentley and will help other pets in similar emergency situations in the future by defraying costs associated with pets displaced or affected by emergency events, such as natural disasters or possible future Ebola cases. To donate to the fund, visit www.DallasAnimals.org and click on “Donate.” Choose the Dallas PETS fund. Nina and Bentley are certainly grateful for it!
And don’t forget, though Bentley is reunited with his loving, HEALTHY mama, there are HUNDREDS of animals waiting to be loved at Dallas Animal Services and other shelters in the metroplex. What better way to pay it forward for Nina and Bentley than to adopt an animal in need?
We have certainly witnessed the strength of the human-pet bond and the compassion of our city. I’m a proud Dallasite.
*I apologize for initially calling Bentley “Bailey” – clearly I am 8 months pregnant and craving alcohol. #sorry