As we near the end of the Red Cross Dogs Days of Summer Campaign to promote pet safety, it is only fitting that we share the story of lovable Cordy May, a trained pet therapy dog and Red Cross volunteer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Cordy May, one of several four-legged Red Cross volunteers at Walter Reed, brings smiles to the faces of her owner, Molly Morgan (left), and a recovering soldier. (Photo: Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross)
At four months old, Cordy May, a Bernese Mountain Dog, was trained at Winchester Hospital through its animal-assisted therapy program. Now six-years-old, Cordy May visits the hospital wards once a week, providing comfort to patients, families, staff members and anyone else in need of a warm, furry hug.
Cordy May instinctively knows the unmistakable look of sadness in a patient’s eyes and tries to fill that emptiness with a warm soft feeling of comfort. She enjoys spending “quiet time” with the wounded warriors. She sits patiently and listens to their stories; she doesn’t seem to mind their shrapnel scars and bandages. If invited, she may crawl into bed for a cuddle.
Cordy May and her owner, Molly Morgan, have comforted thousands of patients during their four years’ visiting Walter Reed. Cordy May also gives special attention to the tireless staff at the hospital. Their jobs are so stressful and Cordy May works hard to give them a special “moment” of care too. Some big dogs frighten people, but the almost universal reaction to Cordy May is a broad smile and, “Can I pet her?”
Molly says she is always humbled by the experience at Walter Reed. “I see so much courage, so much bravery,” she says. “And the fact that just bringing my dog makes these soldiers smile for a few seconds and makes them feel a little bit more at home, a little safer – it’s all worthwhile.” Being so fortunate to have this lovely animal is quite a blessing and to watch the looks of worry vanish from the patients’ faces when she greets them, is amazing. Even for just a few minutes, they know that they are safe and loved.
Cordy May and Molly Morgan also participated in a video that demonstrates the value of Red Cross pet therapy to support wounded members of the military. This video was shown at the American Red Cross national convention in Baltimore, Md. in March 2008, where Cordy May and Molly Morgan made guest appearances. Cordy May is an extraordinary Red Cross volunteer who is loved by the entire Red Cross family.
More information about Cordy May can be found on redcross.org. If you are interested in information on pet safety, check out the Red Cross Dog First Aid guide with DVD. To order a copy, visit the Red Cross online store. Now through September 30, 2019, you can receive 10 percent off by entering the coupon code: WOOF. Cat First Aid guides with DVDs are also available.
When you shop at the Red Cross online store, up to 15 percent of your purchase benefits your local Red Cross chapter. In addition, many Red Cross chapters across the country offer classes with hands-on training in pet first aid procedures. A list of some of these chapters can be found here.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.