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The owner said he hasn’t been separated from Duchess, his 12-year-old female dog, since having her as a puppy.
As people across the country celebrated New Year’s Eve with virtual gatherings and parties, a Knoxville man with COVID-19 was at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He had his 12 year old dog by his side, Duchess.
However, according to a communication from the University of Tennessee, she needed a safe place. The duchess couldn’t stay in the hospital and needed regular medication to treat her cancer. And since the patient was new to Knoxville, he didn’t know anyone to look after her.
So he called AlignCare for help. The program uses social service and veterinary resources to support people who may not have access to animal care. It is part of the UT program for Pet Health Equity.
According to a statement from university officials, AlignCare had worked with Duchess a few months earlier. On New Year’s Eve around 6 p.m., Dr. Pamela Linden, the program’s veterinary social work director, answered the call for help.
She said she thought the Young-Williams Animal Center could help, but the center was closed for holidays. Instead, she called Knoxville Animal Control and spoke to an officer.
The official said if she could get the Duchess to the center, they could meet and move the dog to a safe place for the night before handing it over to the Young-Williams Animal Center when it reopened. To help, the UT Medical Center offered to transport the Duchess with hospital security.
“I would say it all happened in the course of an hour and a half. I was in contact with the keeper the entire time and assured him that the Duchess would be well looked after,” said Linden. “He announced that he had not been separated from the 12-year-old Duchess since he was a puppy.”
Workers at the Young-Williams Animal Center worked to make sure the Duchess had her medication and kept in touch with Linden, who then spoke to her owner about her.
After a week the owner was released and Linden arranged for the reunification with the Duchess. Knoxville Animal Control brought her home.
“This situation is an example of how a community can come together to provide assistance to animal owners in need,” said Linden. “It was so rewarding to know that we helped this family in their moment of need. The Knoxville community is amazing. “