I work in a Long Term Care and Skilled Nursing Facility as a Speech Pathologist. Covid spread through our building like a forest fire, yet it is one you cannot see where it comes from or where it’s going. We have a tight community with some who pass through for temporary care, but many who make it their home. The residents are my work-neighborhood. Before Covid, I brought the dogs every day and our “neighbors” would meet us in the foyer or beckon us to come visit their rooms, giving them treats and telling stories. I didn’t realize how life-sustaining the social time with the dogs had become until the visits stopped abruptly. Residents would ask me, “Where are the Babies? When can I see the Babies again? Are the Babies doing ok?” They didn’t understand the forced isolation to their rooms which they told me feels like being imprisoned. Many of my neighbors are gone now. With minimal human interaction, or affection, or purpose–they succumbed. I don’t recognize my neighborhood anymore. It is a ghost town. My hope is that one day we have life again in our hallways, and someone new takes to playing the piano in the foyer, and the dogs can get back to work.” – Rebecca Ruth, Speech Pathologist

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