Lavigne said he and a group of co-workers saw Willow when they drove into the hospital’s parking lot June 11.
“It’s not every day that you see a dog tied up at the hospital, so we wanted to check it out,” Lavigne said. “I had noticed that [her] leash had gotten wrapped around [her] leg, so I wanted to help [her] get free.”
After one of his co-workers noticed a note taped to one of the trees and called the number on it, Lavigne spoke to Harms. Harms explained he was moving his mother, Sally Harms, back to Minnesota from the Florida Keys and while they were refueling in Cartersville his mother fell and hurt her hip. Lavigne volunteered to keep the approximately 6-month-old Willow at his home overnight until Harms’ mother was able to check out.
“He told me she was house trained and potty trained and everything, so I ended up letting her in the house and she ended up sleeping with me in my bed. She hopped up at the foot of the bed and slept there all night. My son absolutely fell in love with her and they played out back. It was a good time,” Lavigne said.
Lavigne, who described himself as a dog lover, said he did not expect to get any kind of attention for taking Willow in. He added that other CMC employees had done it in the past if a patient, such as a truck driver, became ill and their dog needed a place to stay the night.
“I was just doing what I would expect somebody to do for me if I was traveling and I needed a place for my dog to go. It was just something that I would hope somebody would do for me,” Lavigne said.
Harms said he did not expect hospital staff to help with Willow as he stayed with his mother.
“It really made a difference. I didn’t have to worry about her. ... I was able to watch over my mother better because he took care of her,” Harms said. “... He just took care of her at night and then he’d bring her back during the day. She spent time with me during the daytime and be outside while he was working. So, yeah, she was really happy.”
After five days in CMC, Harms’ mother was released on Monday and the trio continued their drive to Minnesota. Lavigne believed taking in animals showed CMC employees can go above the call of their profession.
“It seems to be an ongoing thing and I don’t know if it’s just with dogs. A lot of people here, they go above and beyond their job — their call of duty — to make their patients and the patient’s family feel welcome and help them in any kind of way they can,” he said. “That’s really what I wanted to do. ... I didn’t know the guy from Adam, you know? I met him and 10 minutes later I’m like, ‘I’ll take your dog home.’ I don’t know where that came from. I don’t know if God said, ‘Take the dog with you.’ But that’s what happened.”