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Former Ebola patient’s dog tests negative for the virus

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(CNN) — When Dallas nurse Nina Pham left hospital after treatment for Ebola last week, all she wanted to do was hug her dog.

She’ll get a chance to do that Saturday, when she’s reunited with Bentley, her beloved King Charles Spaniel.

The puppy got a third negative test for Ebola, and the two are meeting after his 21-day quarantine — the incubation period for the deadly virus.

“All three samples came back negative today,” said Sana Syed, the Dallas city spokeswoman. “We’re planning the big reunion for Saturday — Nina is ready!”

Pham was released from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland after undergoing treatment for the virus. She contracted it while caring for Duncan Eric, the first patient diagnosed in the United States. He died on October 8.

Bentley captured hearts nationwide during news coverage of Pham, which included a picture of him nuzzling her in a car. The small spaniel is classified as a toy dog by the American Kennel Club, and is called a Blenheim Cavalier because of chestnut markings on a white coat.

“He’s such a joy, you can’t help but love this little guy,” said Dr. Cate McManus, operations manager of Dallas Animal Services. ” I can’t wait to see him on talk shows when he’s all healthy and out of here.”

But it’s not been all stool and urine tests for the pooch.

In addition to chasing after balls in his quarantine space, Bentley gets visits three times a day from caretakers in hazmat suits.