Therapy dogs can provide comfort to people in many different settings. They interact with children and adults with special needs, give bedside love to hospital patients, provide love and affection for residents in nursing homes, and might even accompany a child with special needs to school.
One of the most important roles that therapy dogs play is to comfort dying patients in hospice. These patients are receiving palliative care from their doctors to make the rest of their lives as comfortable as possible, and therapy dogs supplement this care by providing affection to the patients.
One hospice dog, in particular, works especially hard for her patients. JJ the therapy dog — who even has her own Facebook page! — works long shifts with hospice nurse Tracy Calhoun in Oregon. During those shifts, she goes room to room and cuddles up with hospice patients, nuzzling them as they receive care.
Watch as sweet JJ cuddles up with an elderly woman who is listening to poetry. When she entered hospice, the woman had no family left, so the love from her hospice caregivers and JJ was especially important. She passed away shortly after this video was taken, but JJ and the dedicated doctors and nurses at hospice were able to make her last days as comfortable and loving as possible. They even gave her a manicure!
This woman was always independent, and a bit of a rabble-rouser even on her last days on Earth, but she always had a sweet spot for dogs, so when she felt JJ’s soft fur, she instantly fell in love!
Special thanks to JJ the hospice therapy dog. Make sure to check out his Facebook and website!
Please SHARE this sweet video of the incredible JJ and his amazing ability to make new best friends!