Tonka the Great Dane cheers up senior center residents during coronavirus safety containment

Williamson County

CEDAR PARK (KXAN) — Tonka might look intimidating, but his temperament is tame, and the folks at Cedar Pointe Health and Wellness Suites can’t get enough of him.

“He has brought so much joy,” Tonka’s “mom,” Courtney Leigh said.

(KXAN Photo/ Todd Bailey)

Tonka, a Great Dane, is a certified therapy dog with The Dog Alliance in Cedar Park. He’s been doing therapy work for less than a year, and he and his handler make regular visits.

But in these tough times of no-touch and social distancing, the senior center facility unfortunately can’t accept visits for their residents, even from family and friends (and Tonka), due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We learned that with the recent events all therapy visits will be discontinued for safety purposes, of course, and containment. We really missed our visits, and I thought, what can I do personally, on my own, to try and continue some of the feelgood that this wonderful dog gives to everyone? So they were kind enough to go with the idea I had.

Leigh

Tonka and his trainer are closing the gap with increased outdoor visits. Leigh loves the interaction, even if it’s through a window.

“Can we visit? Certainly, it’s a safe space with a window as a barrier just walking around the outside,” Leigh said. “We’re so excited to be able to just make them smile today.”

Leigh plans to walk outside with Tonka as much as she can while the facility isn’t accepting visits.

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