At the Salem VA Medical Center in Virginia, where veterans receive long-term and hospice care, death will occasionally darken a doorway. Which is why it's especially important to have someone living there who's very good at brightening the corners.
Like Tom, a former shelter cat who is now an official caregiver at the hospital, offering companionship, counseling ... but please, no cuddles.
Tom doesn't like to get all touchy-feely, but prefers instead to curl up alongside a patient. In fact, even hospital staff know when Tom's too busy for chitchat.
"Tom doesn't always like to have his picture taken," Shelby Benois, a hospital spokesperson, told The Dodo."When he quickly ran out of the room, I found that he was headed to 'work' and I knew that he had a job to do. When he's working or busy visiting, I don't bother him for a photo op."