DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Healthcare workers who are feeling the weight of nearly two years of fighting COVID-19 are getting a moment of relief.

Animals from Charleston Animal Society are helping those overwhelmed with the pandemic.

Chief Nurse at Roper St. Francis, Susan Bennett says this latest surge of cases has left healthcare workers exhausted.

“We want to be there for every patient and it’s just there’s they’re more than we can handle,” said Bennett.

Officials hoping to boost morale at the hospital with four legged friends like puppies, dogs and even kittens with their ‘Caring for Canines’ event.

“Studies show that it helps relieve stress, it lowers blood pressure, it helps with resilience even in the longer term, so that when they do go back they have a little bit more energy a little bit more joy,” said Bennett.

A tough environment, but for a moment staff forgetting the toll the pandemic has taken.

“I really thought, you know pets, you know what better way than to spend 5 or 10 minutes with a pet to forget about what’s going on in the rest of the hospital,” said Bennett.

These furry friends are also available for adoption at the Charleston Animal Society. Shelters across South Carolina are under a state of emergency because they’ve taken in so many animals.