Life has returned to normal for Texas Health Presbyterian nurse and Ebola survivor Nina Pham and her King Charles Spaniel, Bentley. But her difficult saga has inspired a charitable endeavor that benefits Dallas Animal Services.
Cory Sowards, a college friend of Pham's, was so inspired by the nurse's courage, as well as the doting treatment Bentley received from Dallas Animal Services, that she felt driven to pay it forward. Thus the Bentley T-shirt, the proceeds of which will be donated to the city shelter.
The shirt features a photo of the dog, with the words: "Bentley Approved - Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center." The shirt costs $20, and $8 from each shirt goes to DAS, from now until November 30.
A graphic designer, Sowards designed the shirt and arranged for the logistics. Available at requiredteamgear.com, the shirt comes in three options: basic, women's and youth. Be sure to enter the package code 221895.
"When I found out Nina was sick with Ebola, I got sad because she was such a great person, so heroic and brave," Sowards says. "I tried to think of different ways to help, in a way that offered visual support, that said, 'We all have your back and appreciate what you did.'"
Sowards was especially inspired by the care Bentley received from the shelter.
"I got my dog from a shelter in Fort Worth," Sowards says. "She had parvo, the infectious, often lethal virus that affects dogs. The only reason my dog survived is because the shelter had the resources to give her the medicine."
Sowards isn't making any money for herself on this. "My goal is that this helps bring positivity and joy to a negative situation and continues to spread joy by getting people involved with the shelter and letting them know that there's animals there that need to get adopted.
"Some people have a misconstrued idea of animal shelters," she says. "But if you see the care that Bentley received while Nina was sick — if I were in those circumstances, I would hope for that with my dog."