Roxie Holt welcomed her dog’s paws onto her lap on a recent afternoon, describing separation from the Labrador retriever: “For him it’s worse than for me.”
Holt, who has been at Northeast Georgia Medical Center for the past week following a stroke, is one of the first patients to use the Gainesville hospital’s new pet park.
While she’s kept busy at the hospital, Tux is at home wondering where she is, she said.
“We’re a team,” she added. “I depend on him. He depends on me.”
The 3,200-square-foot area tucked in an outdoor corner of the sprawling campus accommodates both owner and animal, providing shaded handicap seating, as well as water stations and garden areas. And it means Holt can visit with her beloved pet during her hospital stay.
“It means the world to me to see my dog, my buddy,” she said.
Although Holt now has total paralysis below the waist, she credits Tux for ensuring her safety during her stroke. She was home alone with the dog when her stroke occurred, but she knew her daughter would be visiting.
“He (Tux) would run to the door and growl and tell her to hurry up and then run back next to me,” she said. “He knew there was trouble. He takes care of everything.”
After being part of the family for four years, Tux enjoys some perks. He gets home-cooked meals once a day from Holt and even shares her bed.
“People pick him up McDonald’s, and that’s all right for a while but not too long,” Holt said. “He sleeps with me every night and spreads out the whole length of my body. He is spoiled rotten.” Though both seemed to enjoy the visit, she was eager to get home to return these things back to normal for Tux.