If you’ve ever had to spend time in the hospital you can relate how sad and lonely it can be. No matter how many human visitors you have, if you’re an animal lover the time you spend inside those hospital walls makes you realize how much you miss your furry pal.
At the intensive care unit at UC San Francisco Duke Ellington Morris is changing the lives of patients everyday. Duke is wheeled around from patient to patient in the ICU putting smiles on faces and lighting up the rooms.
Elizabeth Fernandez the public information representative at UCSF adores Duke.
“He’s an absolutely lovely, lovely cat,” “He’s so patient. I’ve watched him in action a number of times and he’s given such consolation to our patients, and to our staff.”
Before his days of roaming the hospital halls, Duke had been rescued from a feral cat colony and brought in to the shelter half-starved and in very bad condition.
When Isa Morris and her mom Jennifer fell in love with Duke, they brought him to his forever home. Jennifer thought that he may have trouble adjusting to life in the house but he had other plans.
When the doorbell rang Duke was always the first one to greet new guests. It wasn’t long after that that Jennifer enrolled him in the San Francisco SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy Program.
Once he was accepted he joined a crew of 17 other animals all dogs who spend their time comforting UCSF patients. Assigned to the intensive care unit at Duke was an instant star. His calm nature and the ability to be touched and petted by strangers gave him a permanent spot in the program.
When patients are stuck in the bed and miss their own cats Duke comes to visit and spread sunshine throughout the ICU. Nurses decided that they would give him a rolling cart so he could check out all the action as they wheeled him from patient to patient.
When his day is done he gets double the loving when he heads home to Isa and Jennifer.
We love learning about animals in assistance programs that can brighten the day for patients who are sick. If you like the story please share it on Facebook!