Therapy Dogs Visit National Guard Troops Stationed in D.C. Who Are Missing Their Own Pets

By Caroline Lowder February 19, 2021
A thank you in the form of cuddles from adorable therapy dogs.

Following the attack on the Capitol, thousands of National Guard Troops found themselves stationed in Washington D.C. for the foreseeable future. With many stationed far from home, their families, and even their pets, these servicemen no doubt have been feeling slightly homesick.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Hamilton Hotel, where more than 250 Guardsmen have been staying while deployed, arranged for their guests to be surprised with a dozen therapy dogs. This was an amazing gesture of thanks on behalf of the hotel to a group of individuals who have shown incredible dedication through their round-the-clock service to our country. And, from the pictures, it seems that it was just what the Guardsmen needed in this time of uncertainty.

Therapy dogs have been an important part of helping many get through this COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 saw record high adoptions, with many looking to get ‘therapy dogs’ of their own. And, for those who couldn’t adopt, utilizing others registered therapy dogs has been a great alternative. Even over zoom, therapy dogs have continued to put smiles on people’s faces. Some dogs have even started acting as virtual reading partners for young children.

The 12 dogs who visited the Hamilton Hotel work with their owners through a non-profit called People Animals Love. For an hour, they stood at various spots around the hotel lobby, eagerly waiting to receive pets from the next Guardsman who knelt down next to them. The joy on Guardsmen’s faces from this spontaneous visit was clear, even behind their masks.

“Seeing hardened military men and women, roll around on the ground with these amazing dogs, as if no one is watching, truly filled our souls with happiness and gratitude,” Hamilton Hotel director Joe Palminteri told GNN. “It was only an hour, but the smiles and warm embraces will last a lifetime.”