Some Duke employees find comfort from pets while working remotely during COVID-19 outbreak

Oliver was a package deal when Gregory Herschlag went on a first date with his now-wife Vanessa Barnett-Loro eight years ago.

Oliver was Vanessa’s dog. He joined the couple on a walk around southern Durham before the two went to dinner at Thai Café. He’s been attached to Herschlag’s hip ever since.

“My wife likes to joke that Oliver loves me more,” Herschlag said. “He’s always snuggling up next to me and hates it when he sees me giving attention to someone else. He’ll try to get between Vanessa and me when we hug.”

Oliver has been Herschlag’s work companion since he began social distancing two weeks ago. The dog cuddles up next to Herschlag while he works from a meditation cushion on the floor.

“He’s been my shadow,” Herschlag said. “It’s been great to spend some extra time with him. It’s hard to be too upset when you have him staring lovingly at you.”

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