Ailing therapy dog gets wagon to help him greet patients at MUSC
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A beloved four-legged volunteer at MUSC is able to overcome a disability and continue his work spreading cheer among patients.
Bear, a Bernese Mountain Dog, has served as a therapy dog at the hospital for several years, spokesperson Carter Coyle says. Over the years, he picked up the nickname, “The Love Sponge.”
But Bear now roams the halls greeting patients from the comfort of a red wagon after being diagnosed with degenerative myopathy.
“Degenerative myopathy is a painless disease, but there is no treatment and there is no cure,” his owner, Kyle Kelly says. “He’s happy and he’s healthy, and that’s why we haven’t fully retired from the therapy dog program.”
Kelly says the condition results in the brain no longer sending signals to the back legs and it is a progressive disease.
“I knew that he was still happy because he stays, he’s in my store every day on King Street and he’s happy visiting with people,” Kelly says. “So we wanted to figure out a way to not retire, so we came up with the red wagon idea and it’s been a great hit with everybody, including Bear.”
Coyle says Bear connects with and inspires patients even more now that he has a disability himself.
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