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Special Therapist Motivates and Comforts Stroke Patient
April 05, 2022

Occupational therapy assistant Carolyn Rice, COTA/L uses her dog, Kasie – a certified therapy dog – to help recovering stroke patient Angel Duprey regain function of his left arm and hand injured during a stroke in November. The trio met at Physical Therapy at St. Luke’s Neurological Rehab Center in Bethlehem. Calling her his “special little someone,” Angel says Kasie motivates and support him.

Occupational, physical and speech therapy after a stroke can be incredibly challenging. But for Angel Duprey, a “special little someone” makes the sessions easier, even enjoyable.

“I just love her,” Angel says of “therapist” Kasie. “If I’m hurting, she’ll come over and, in her way, she’ll say, ‘how’s the hand doing.’ I don’t know if I could do this without her.”

Kasie is a 25-pound certified therapy dog, who supports patients. While she doesn’t speak words, she says a lot through her actions and big, soulful eyes. Kasie “works” in Physical Therapy at St. Luke’s Neurological Rehab Center in Bethlehem. She accompanies her owner, occupational therapy assistant Carolyn Rice.

Angel’s ordeal began in the fall when he had Covid and pneumonia, suffering a 104-degree temperature for more than two weeks. One night he awoke to a tingling sensation in his arms and legs. He couldn’t get out of bed and his speech was garbled. A friend called 911 and Angel was transported to the Intensive Care Unit of St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem, where he received therapy at the Acute Rehabilitation Center (ARC). With the help of physical, occupational and speech therapists, he regained the ability to speak, activate muscles in his arm and walk with a crutch. Upon discharge, he began outpatient therapy.

Angel says that all the ARC therapists are kind and caring, but Kasie motivates him most. He’s currently working to feed her treats. He enjoys it and likes to pet the dog, but Kasie’s ability to sense his feelings is what comforts him.

“I’m lying on the table, and the arm is hurting,” he says. “She’ll come to the table and nudge my injured hand, trying to get me to pet her. It’s like she just knows what I need.”

Special Therapist Motivates and Comforts Stroke Patient
Angel Duprey smiles at his “special little someone” Kasie. The 25-pound certified therapy dog supports and motivates Duprey during therapy sessions at Physical Therapy at St. Luke’s Neurological Rehab Center in Bethlehem. Kasie makes therapy sessions a little easier and even enjoyable for Duprey, who is recovering from the stroke that left him unable to get out of bed last November.