Harley, a one-eyed pug dressed in a fluorescent green raincoat, yellow boots and goggles strolls across the hallways, providing much-needed stress relief to exhausted doctors at a hospital in Mexico fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-year-old dog has quickly gained popularity online and now he even has his own Facebook page with regular updates.
In a recent post, the dog shared drawings that were sent to him from two young children in London, thanking them for being his fans.
According to digital publication Mexico News Daily, Harley’s owner, neuropsychologist Lucia Ledesma Torres, calls the pug her “co-therapist,” and says the dog’s two-hour daily visits have helped alleviate the “psychological, affective, and psychic stress” of healthcare personnel treating COVID-19 patients at the National Medical Center 20 de Noviembre located in Mexico City, an epicentre of the virus in the country.
Harley has been providing therapy to Torres’ patients with psychiatric and psychological conditions for years, she says, interacting with people and drawing out feelings of empathy as they play with him.
Now, the pug is providing relief to medical staff as the hospital’s team enjoy taking a few minutes out of their day to pet and cuddle the affectionate pug, giving them support as they treat patients and spend time away from their family and friends.
Dogs spreading cheer amidst pandemic
Harley is not alone in his mission to spread joy during tough times. Across the world, stories of dogs helping people fighting the coronavirus pandemic have emerged.
Recently, a video of Benji, a 4-year-old Bernedoodle, rollerblading on his owner's back went viral. Benji is not only an internet sensation but he is also a certified therapy dog.
Benji is usually helping people at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), US, but due to COVID-19, his volunteer visits have gone virtual.