Therapy Dog Blue
June 16, 2020
Blue the therapy dog and his handler Judy Bailey usually spend their days visiting nursing homes, schools and hospitals in Beauregard and Vernon Parish to bring a little tail wagging joy to everyone they encounter.
However, coronavirus has impacted Blue and Judy’s ability to visit the residents that see Blue as their own dog, a friend and sometimes he and Judy are residents only visitors.
The Today Show interviewed Judy Bailey about how social distancing is affecting service dogs and their ability to do their jobs, and their service to the community members who look so forward to their visits.
The Today Show interviewed Bailey, noting her and Blue’s travels to over 400 hospitals and nursing homes in and around DeRidder, through the nonprofit Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
The coronavirus caused Bailey and Blue to have to get creative as a way to let Blue’s friends and “other” owners know that he was thinking of them and missing them.
Bailey began sending texts and photos of Blue to the leaders of several facilities for them to share with the residents who were even more isolated due to Covid-19.
Sending in photos with captions about the activities in the life of Blue to activity directors has given Bailey something to take her mind off of the virus, and continue to serve her community with the help of Blue.
“I’ve put little messages saying, ‘Blue really loves you,’ and ’Blue is waving hello,” she told TODAY.
“I’ll let them know, ’We’re doing great. We really miss you. We hope we get to see you soon.”
“It has been a real blessing,” said Bailey
“It breaks my heart to see these people who are so isolated as it is and now even more isolated with COVID,” said Bailey.
Blue, who was dumped in a field near Bailey’s home, came to Bailey by chance, but she says she knew that he was special from the moment she saw him.
“We kept him, he was meant to be doing something for other people. I knew that there was something unique and special about Blue,” said Bailey.
“It’s such a ministry to help people just smile and feel better and forget about their problems,” Bailey said of volunteering with Blue.
Blue is also in the process of working with the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office as a certified Therapy Dog to help with child victims of crime.