CAMERON, Texas — For the residents of one small town nursing home, a ray of joy has shone brightly through the onset of the pandemic – Marmaduke the Great Dane mix.
The dog was first rescued in Milam County as a stray in late 2019, and by 2020 the animal nonprofit Milam Touch of Love knew just the forever home where he would fit in. Shortly after the nation began to shut down due to COVID-19, Marmaduke made his big move into Legacy Nursing and Rehabilitation of Cameron as a therapy dog.
“He’s an emotional support animal, and since being in the facility this has become his home," said Krysta Kothmann, assistant administrator for the facility. "Definitely during [the pandemic] when everything was locked down, he helped the nurses, the staff members. And he kind of reassured the families who couldn’t come in and visit that there was just an extra presence there who was taking care of [their loved ones].”
Today, Marmaduke rules the roost at Legacy. He has dog beds all over the property and can let himself indoors and out.
While he’s not allowed in the cafeteria, he makes his way to the rooms of residents for leftovers from dinner. Staff said that Marmaduke’s presence makes the nursing home feel a little more like a traditional home, and the emotional comfort he brings both residents and caregivers is unique.
“When you’re having a stressful day, he comes up and loves on you and it takes that edge off,” said LVN Nikki Kirk, staff at Legacy.
From running the back roads alone as a stray to getting daily love from hundreds of people, Marmaduke is living a dog’s dream.