PPMC continues to enforce protocols restricting visitors in order to limit the spread of coronavirus among patients and staff — but one of the hospital’s four-legged friends has received special dispensation to stop by and boost morale.

Every other week, Jessica Justice Vogt, MHS, PA-C, a physician assistant in the trauma-surgical intensive care unit, returns to the hospital on her day off with Cody, a 10-year old Labrador and Great Pyrenees mix, in tow. Vogt’s husband rescued Cody from the side of a road when he was just a puppy, and three years ago, they realized that his calm, cuddly demeanor would make him a perfect pet therapy dog. Coming in at over 90 pounds of fluff, Cody has been a welcome sight at nursing homes and elementary school story times, but he has truly hit his stride as a member of PPMC’s Presby Pooch program.

Vogt and Cody cannot risk visiting patients at this critical time, but they’ve been the perfect pick-me-up for staff on the front lines — providing comfort to clinicians caring for COVID-positive patients, offering a delightful distraction for all essential workers, and sharing snuggles with the night-shift teams.

“If something as simple as giving a few hours of my day can lift someone’s spirits during this crisis, I’m happy to do it,” Vogt said. “Our jobs are especially intense right now, and everyone deserves a bit of joy. Everyone is always so excited to see Cody, and it’s really nice to be able to brighten someone’s day.”

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