Therapy dog returns to NJ hospital after 2-year COVID-19 pandemic hiatus

TEANECK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 6-year-old therapy dog has made his grand return to Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey as the hospital restarts its pet therapy program after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Cody, a white and brown sheltie, shows up on the oncology floor at the facility in Teaneck, patients say it's like a rainbow spread from one end of the corridor to the other.

"Aww, he's fantastic, absolutely great," a patient named Karen said. "I wish I could keep him."

The love that Cody shares with patients has been sorely missed over the past two years.

"It's so soothing, right?" a patient names Lauren said. "I feel like I'm not hurting anymore."

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His absence was due to the same culprit that took so much of our lives and so many of our loved ones away.

"That's the kind of thing that just warms my heart," owner Pat Bayard said. "It's very heartwarming to know you have another purpose that you could share."

Cody and Pat could not make their rounds during COVID, but on Tuesday, they were welcomed back after the lengthy absence.

Cody even had a mini welcoming ceremony, where he got his hospital badge back.

"So much warmth when they're here in the hospital," Volunteer Services Manager Marie Berthou said.

The hard working staff don't miss a chance to squeeze in a Cody moment.

Pat and Cody used to visit once every two weeks before COVID.

But now that Pat is retired, she's looking forward to bringing Cody care to the healing halls much more often.

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