Knoxville organizations help COVID-19 patient and his assistance dog

While Derek Payne was hospitalized with COVID-19, he had no one to take care of his assistance dog who has cancer.
Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 8:29 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -A community came together to help out a Knoxville man, and his best friend.

While Derek Payne was hospitalized at the University of Tennessee Medical Center fighting COVID-19, he had to find someone to look after his assistance dog Duchess.

Duchess is battling cancer and requires regular medication and care.

Candice Hinkle, the assistant director for Program for Pet Health Equity, says Align care (Program for Pet Health Equity) reached out to Young Williams Animal Center, and they were able to take good care of Duchess while Mr. Payne was in the hospital.

“Different partners in the community came together to help Mr. Payne and Duchess, so that they could get them the help they needed,” says Hinkle.

Payne thanks everyone who helped to take care of Duchess. He says the nine days he spent in the hospital was the longest they’ve been apart.

“They gave her all her medications and everything when she was there. She had other dogs to play with, they didn’t leave her in the cage or anything, the staff loved her they interacted with her,” says Payne.

Central Veterinary Hospital and Knoxville Animal control also stepped in to help Duchess.

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