Renee Hellman never imagined a golden retriever delivering groceries to her home.
“Absolutely not. It was kind of out of the blue,” Hellman told CNN.
But during a time of social distancing, it was one of the better options for Hellman, a 71-year-old living in Manitou Springs, Colorado, a resort town located outside of Colorado Springs near Pikes Peak.
“I have COPD and heart problems – all the things that they say people of my age are susceptible to the coronavirus. I have basically spent the last three weeks in my house,” Hellman said. COPD is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an illness that affects the respiratory system.
So, her neighbor of 10 years, Karen Eveleth, trained her dog, Sundance, to help deliver food to Hellman.
“I make meals for her also and Sundance brings back the empty bowls,” Eveleth told CNN.
And with motivation of a duck jerky treat, “Sunny” usually delivers 8-pound chickens, sacks of flour, vegetables and plastic bowls.
“Every day we send something back and forth. He’s just happy to do his job,” Hellman said.
The humble hero
The idea came to Eveleth after seeing the story about a dog comforting people at a hospital in Denver.
“I thought, ‘Wait a second, I have a dog that could help,’” Eveleth told CNN. “I called her and told her that I’m going to the grocery store. And I knew that she’s isolated there by herself. Her sister checks in on her once a week. But now there’s no checking in because of the isolation. So, I decided to just get her groceries and she agreed.”
Eveleth says Sundance has always been eager to help others.
“He is a humble hero. When he hears something drops, he knows I’ve got to get that for mom because I have a bad back. He also gets the mail. I have the carrier leave the box open. Sunny has two siblings, but delivery and pick up is not in their DNA,” Eveleth told CNN.
Hellman says that all of her neighbors have offered to help in some way, but help from Sundance is a little different.
“This is the fun one,” Hellman said with a giggle.