Get the tissues ready because this sweet story will certainly bring tears to your eyes. Seattle Children’s Hospital recently threw a retirement party for an 11-year-old therapy dog, Abe. The dog has cheered up thousands of kids and the hospital wanted to give him a proper send-off into his golden years. So sweet!
Abe’s guardian, Judith Bonifaci, started training him to become a therapy dog soon after losing another beloved Golden Retriever. Usually, it takes dogs three to four years to become a certified therapy dog, but Abe was different. He mastered all of the strict obedience requirements and received his certification when he was just 14-months-old.
From there, Abe became a classroom therapy dog at a local elementary school. After his second birthday, Abe started visiting Seattle Children’s on a weekly basis, as part of their Animal-Assisted Activities Program, supported by PetsMart Charities. Ever since, Abe has been brightening the days of staff, patients and families of loved ones.
He still loves making people happy, but Abe doesn’t have the stamina like he did in his younger years. Now, he will live out his retirement enjoying rest and relaxation with Judith at home. Now, Abe’s younger sister, two-year-old Jackie, will start going to Seattle Children’s.
As any dog lover will tell you, these animals have an incredible way of changing our lives for the better. In hospitals and hospice centers, therapy dogs are using companionship to comfort patients and family members as they prepare to say goodbye. A visit from a furry companion can be a bright spot in someone’s day, especially if they experiencing a sense of loneliness from being separated from their own beloved pets.
Thank you, Abe, for your important work! Be sure to share this story with all of the dog lovers you know!