Joe Tasby is a blind Vietnam veteran. The former soldier also suffers from lung disease and heart arrhythmia. When he had to check himself into a hospital in Las Vegas, he didn’t think he’d be spending more than a few days there. He went into the hospital accompanied by Cupid, his guide dog, who has been there by his side helping him to monitor his health conditions, as well as get him around due to his reduced visibility.
However, shortly after Tasby went into the hospital, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the city’s Southern Hills Hospital to go into full lockdown mode.
As Tasby’s nurse, Barbara Borbeck, shared with CBS News, “It was crazy when the hospital went into lockdown. We had a hospital full of visitors and people walking the hallways and then all of a sudden, the next day, it was, like, deserted.”
Tasby found the lockdown to be a particularly stressful time – not so much for himself but because the veteran was scared that no one would be there to take care of Cupid while he was in the hospital. Prior to the lockdown, his daughter, Tiffani, had been feeding and walking Cupid during her visits. However, the lockdown meant that no visitors were allowed in.
Tasby said, “I got in the hospital at the time when the pandemic was just starting, all of a sudden I couldn’t get visitors from outside and I had Cupid with me. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
Fortunately for Tasby, his nurse, Borbeck, was more than happy to help. The nurse, who is also a dog lover herself, spent the next three weeks in between rounds making sure that Cupid was well taken care of in terms of food, walks, and loads of attention. She even took Cupid on some of her hospital rotations in order to introduce him to some of the staff – many of whom were instantly cheered up to meet the gorgeous pup.
The grateful Tasby shared with CBS News, “She came in first thing every morning and took him for a walk all around the hospital as she did her rounds, made sure he got outside, to get some air and exercise. She made sure he had food and treats. Everything he needed she took care of.”
She took such great care of Cupid that the dog actually began to look forward to seeing her.
Tasby said, “He really took to her. Sometimes I would see him jumping up and down, and so excited and happy to see her. He can usually tell if people have a good spirit and no doubt, Barbara has a great spirit.”
Borbeck’s care didn’t stop there, she even shopped for Cupid’s dog food when supplies ran low – traveling 40 miles just to buy the right brand! That is true kindness and care.
He added, “For her to take the time out of her life to find that particular brand of that particular choice of food was just beyond, beyond. How do you really express gratitude when somebody steps up and does that for you in a time when it would be really difficult, next to impossible for me to do it.”
But for Borbeck, it was nothing – she was just happy that she could help. Plus, she also noticed just how much it helped cheer up the staff to have Cupid around – particularly since the normal therapy dog rotation had been temporarily halted because of the pandemic and the hospital’s lockdown. Because of that, Cupid became an unofficial therapy dog because of his calming presence.
As she explained, “It was pretty intense here in the hospital and Cupid made the rounds.”
Thank you to both Cupid and Nurse Borbeck for keeping the hospital happy!