Tonka the Great Dane isn't letting new coronavirus-related restrictions keep him from safely saying hello to his friends

By Kelli Bender
March 18, 2020 05:03 PM

Tonka is hard to miss.

The great Dane, a certified therapy dog with The Dog Alliance in Cedar Park, Texas, has a big teddy bear personality to match his large frame.

According to KXAN, this caring canine is doing his part to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Before the spread of COVID-19, Tonka would visit senior centers in the Cedar Park area to spread joy to residents. Now, with senior centers across the country temporarily prohibiting outside visitors in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to their residents, Tonka has gotten creative with how he cheers up senior citizens.

The dog and his owner/handler Courtney Leigh are doing a sort of curbside pick-me-up for the residents of Cedar Pointe Health and Wellness Suites. Recently, Tonka has been pawing up to the outside windows of the senior center and saying hello to residents through the glass.

KXAN

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“We learned that with the recent events all therapy visits will be discontinued for safety purposes, of course, and containment. We really missed our visits, and I thought, what can I do personally, on my own, to try and continue some of the feelgood that this wonderful dog gives to everyone? So they were kind enough to go with the idea I had,” Leigh told KXAN.

Leigh added that these window-side interactions are important to the senior citizens and to her and Tonka as well.

“We’re so excited to be able to just make them smile today,” she added.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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