It was a happy reunion for nurse/Ebola survivor Nina Pham and her dog Bentley. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel shared hugs and kisses with her owner after coming out of quarantine at the Hensley Field Service Center in Grand Prairie.
"I felt like Bentley re-entering my life is yet another reminder of hope and encouragement for me," said Pham. "Moving forward and fulfilling my life to its fullest with my best friend at my side again."
The 26-year-old got to hug her furry friend for the first time in weeks. She expressed her gratitude to everyone for helping to make that possible.
"Thank you again for helping to take care of Bentley during the past 21 days, caring for him as if he was your own, and showing America that compassion and love is abundant and alive," she said.
There’s been a lot of attention surrounding Bentley not just because he’s a cute dog, but because he happens to be the first dog that’s been exposed to Ebola here in the U.S. Medical professionals have been monitoring his condition over the past weeks.
"Every single time we handled him we were completely covered and protected with air breathing units and outside covering," said Dr. Debra Zoran with the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team.
Doctors called Bentley a wonderful patient and said they’ll miss spending time with the perky puppy.
"He was so wonderful to work with that we were able to observe him in his activities as well as doing his daily jobs," said Dr. Zoran.
Pham got to hug her pet for the first time in weeks. It’s been just over one week since she returned to North Texas after beating the potentially deadly virus.
"My hope is that with my treatment and care at the NIH, researchers and doctors are one step closer to finding a cure for Ebola," she said.
Now both officially declared Ebola free, Pham said she’s looking forward to the future and is taking things one day at a time.
"For right now, I’m just excited to take Bentley home so we can start picking out his gifts for his two year birthday party this month. Thank you everyone," she said.
Dallas city officials estimate his care costs to be more than $10,000 but said most of it should be covered by donations and grants.