Wife surprises sick husband with visit from St. Bernard for Christmas

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 9:30 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Mary Ellen Jones surprised her husband, retired Virginia Tech Professor George Hagedorn, with a visit from a dog named Sully for Christmas.

Jones says it has been months since she has been able to ‘see’ her husband while he has been under treatment at Kroontje Health Care Center.

“The only way I have been able to “see” him for the past 8.5 months has been when using Skype. As his neurological condition began to decline, I rarely saw him smile,” said Jones, a retired VT adjunct faculty and Hagedorn’s wife.

Jones was determined to put a smile on his face for Christmas.

Jones and Hagedorn are dog lovers. She knew he had St. Bernard growing up - he even had one when they first met, and a second one early in their marriage.

She knew he missed them and it would make him smile to see the dog once again.

Early in December, Jones saw in a photo on the Town of Blacksburg’s Facebook page of a St. Bernard named “Sully” in a photo associated with the Blacksburg Rescue Squad. She says she knew she had to find that dog.

Long story short, Jones made it happen.

Jones and the staff at Kroontje managed to deliver the dog to Hagedorn with a collar and wooden cask with a special message to her husband.

Only the dog was allowed to see Hagedorn, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The hardest part was keeping this a secret, not only from George, but from so many friends who would have loved to participate, which I knew would not have been easy,” said Jones.

She thanks Sully’s owner, Victoria Marcotty, who is a part of the Blacksburg Rescue Squad.

Jones says she is grateful to Victoria and Sully. She plans to make a donation to the rescue squad for “special rescue services rendered,” which only one volunteer was qualified to do.

“There are other ways they rescue people in need and this was one of them; it doesn’t get that much attention but they are always there for us one way or another,” said Jones.

Jones says when life deals you lemons - simply make up a new lemonade recipe. And so she did.

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