The sheer joy of reuniting with your dog

Nina Pham, the nurse who contracted Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas, was cured of the disease and released from her quarantine. It looks like one of the reasons that US patients seem to be recovering at such high rates is that they receive immediate and extensive treatment, such as IVs and anti-viral drugs, to maintain whatever bodily fluids they lose due to the disease, enabling them to survive long enough to create their own antibodies to the virus.

It turns out that Pham’s dog Bentley was also kept under quarantine as a precaution though there is no evidence of pets spreading Ebola to humans or other animals and yesterday saw a joyful reunion of Pham with Bentley. It turns out that Bentley is also a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a dead ringer for my own Baxter the Wonder Dog.

Nurse Nina Pham is reunited with her dog Bentley

There is also a short video of Bentley while in quarantine. He must have been puzzled as to why he was away from home and from Pham and staying with strange people dressed so weirdly but he seems happy nonetheless. It looks like the people entrusted with his care took as good care of him as was possible under quarantine conditions.

I can easily imagine the deliriously happy way that both Pham and Bentley would have acted when they were reunited. I can say without any reservation that there is nothing like coming home at the end of the day and being greeted joyfully by Baxter. And if I have been away for a few days, he goes completely nuts, running around in circles, bringing his toys, and trying to get as close as possible to sniff me and be petted.

Baxter is very friendly and likes to greet anyone who comes to the house. The interesting thing is that Baxter joined our family after our daughters no longer lived here, them having gone off to distant places to college and start new lives on their own. And yet when they come home for visits periodically, he knows that they are special people, more so than other visitors to our house whom he sees more regularly, and he acts even more deliriously happy than when I come home. It is truly something to see.

In my post about Muslims and dogs, some commenters complained about the fact that there are inconsiderate dog owners who let their dogs bark incessantly at all hours of the day and night and do not clean up after them. I am totally in agreement with that sentiment because such people annoy me too, the same way that I get annoyed at parents who let their children run wild in public spaces without consideration for the comfort or peace of mind of other people. One of the strictest rules that our children had when growing up was that they must not disturb the peace and be pests to other people sharing the same public space and what applies to them applies to our dogs too.


  1. DonDueed says

    Dogs can be very responsive to subtle cues from their people. Baxter’s extra-joyous reaction to your daughters’ visits may simply be a reflection of your own reactions to their arrivals.

  2. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Oh man…that brought a tear to my eye.

    When I was a jr in high school, we moved back to the states from Okinawa (Air Farce brat here). I worked the entire summer just to afford to ship my dog back to the states, since she was ‘my’ dog (I was the one that took care of her, took her on walks, etc., so she bonded to me), my parents weren’t going to pay to have her sent back with the family. (Yes, my parents were assholes…they haven’t got much better.)

    We had to send her almost 3 weeks before we were due to fly out, and my grandparents picked her up and took care of her until we got back.

    When we arrived, I was the first one out, and pretty much ignored my grandparents and every one else to say hi to my dog. The moment she saw me…well….anyone with a dog pretty much knows how they are. 🙂 My grandfather just shook his head and said, “I didn’t think she made any noise.” (Apparently, she hadn’t barked, whined, or anything the entire time.) She was yipping, running circles, and generally being a very happy dog at that point.

    ‘scuse me, I got something in my eye again.

  3. Mano Singham says


    It is hard for people who haven’t had a dog to quite grasp the strong hold they have on our affections.

    After Hurricane Katrina hit, there was a story about a young man who refused to be evacuated unless he could take his dog with him. Finally they persuaded him that they would take care of the dog and they stuck to their word and sometime later, he and his dog were reunited and you can just image what it looked like.

    I wish I could find that clip.

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