After Dallas nurse Nina Pham was declared Ebola-free last week, she got a big hug from the president of the United States — but what she was really looking forward to was seeing her little dog, Bentley.
This morning, accompanied by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Pham was finally able to hold Bentley again.
“After I was diagnosed with Ebola, I didn’t know what would happen to Bentley or if he would have the virus,” Pham said at a press conference today, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I would not know what would happen to one of my best friends.”
While Pham was being treated at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, she was provided with regular updates from Bentley’s team. Bentley had been under the care of Dallas Animal Services (DAS) in partnership with the state of Texas, Texas A&M University and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control.
Pham thanked her dog’s support team “for helping taking care of Bentley over the last 21 days, caring for him as if he was your own and showing America that passion and love is abundant and alive.”
She said the first thing she planned to do was to take Bentley to a pet store to pick out gifts for his second birthday, which is coming up later this month.
“I feel like Bentley reentering my life is another reminder of hope and encouragement for me moving forward, and fulfilling my life to the fullest with my best friend by my side again,” Pham told NBCDFW.com.
Mayor Rawlings also spoke during the press conference, thanking the team who cared for Bentley. After Pham was quarantined last month, the mayor told USA TODAY, “The dog’s very important to the patient and we want it to be safe.”
It’s really a shame that Madrid health officials didn’t have the same attitude as Rawlings. When Teresa Romero Ramos, a nurse’s aide there who, like Pham, contracted Ebola while treating a patient, officials euthanized her 12-year-old rescue dog, Excalibur, despite hundreds of thousands of pleas to spare his life.
Like Pham, Ramos is also now free of the virus — but heartbroken over the fact that her beloved dog was not there to greet her when she returned home.
Photo via Twitter