Shelter Pit Gives Comfort & Cuddles to Cancer Patients

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Lady seems to intuit what patients want, whether that means in-your-face puppy kisses.... Photo: Mandy Weikert
Lady seems to intuit what patients want, whether that means in-your-face puppy kisses…. Photo: Mandy Weikert

Mandy Weikert was unsure whether she could share quite as special a bond with another dog after losing one, but the moment she met Lady, whose goofy, playful nature was evident, the trepidation evaporated.

“She made me laugh,” Weikert told People. “And I just thought, ‘She is always going to make me laugh…'”

Lady, a smiling, happy, brown-and-white pit bull, came into Weikert’s life by way of the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Center (BARCs). The facility’s Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Griffiths, had met Weikert while arranging the adoption of her previous dog, recognized that Lady would be an ideal match for Weikert and her fiancé, Chris Kimple.

Griffiths was right, of course. And the smiles Lady brought in the adoption room that day were just the beginning. These days, Lady brings the same kind of joy to many others, people who can really use the extra positivity.

And it turned out that she would be making far more people than Weikert smile, and many of them were sorely in need of reasons to do so.

Weikert, who got to know the sweet dog more once they brought her home, works as a nurse at FHL Blood and Cancer Specialists in Mechanicsburg, PA. And Lady, who closely resembles Weikert’s previous dog who served as a comfort canine for patients, stepped right into the same role.

...or calm, cozy comfort. Photo: Mandy Weikert
…or calm, cozy comfort. Photo: Mandy Weikert


“She makes people laugh and makes people smile and makes people forget why they are there,” Weikert says. “When they are with Lady, they are not cancer patients anymore. They are just people who are happy.”

Lady is a regular at the center and while friendly, she is also intuitive — sometimes coming in fast for kisses, other times curling up next to patients for comfort and cuddles. She enjoys reciprocal pats and belly rubs, as well. The affection feels good when it runs in both directions.

Bailey Deacon, BARC’s director of communications, believes the message here is deep.

“It’s an amazing example of what shelter pets can do. Shelter pets are not broken animals,” she told People. “When people come to a shelter, they are looking for comfort and care. Lady is a service animal not just to one person but to every person that comes through that clinic.”