Employees, physicians, and volunteers from Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital came together for a special farewell ceremony to wish the hospital’s first therapy dog, Gracie, a happy retirement. Gracie is an Australian Shepherd who first started visiting patients in 2007 with the “Tender Loving K9’s” program. Unfortunately, arthritis is making it too difficult for Gracie to continue visiting with patients and recently her owner announced her retirement. In Gracie’s honor, Memorial Hermann Katy hosted a retirement party to send Gracie off with a tail-wagging good time.
“Gracie has been a bright light at our hospital for nearly a decade. Not only does she provide comfort and encouragement to patients, but she also serves as a stress reliever for many of our employees, physicians and volunteers. We want her to know she is loved and she will be missed,” says Heather Rojas, manager of Volunteer Services at Memorial Hermann Katy.
Gracie holds a special honor as the first dog in the pet therapy program, Tender Loving K9’s. The non-profit was founded in 2007 by Gracie’s owner Sharon Evans. The animals undergo a special certification process before they can visit hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities in the Katy area and beyond. Evans says retiring Gracie was a tough decision.
“Gracie enjoys visiting patients as much as patients enjoy seeing her. I know she’s going to miss stopping by the hospital, but she’s just not as spry as she once was,” says Evans. Gracie will continue living with Evans during her retirement.
During the retirement celebration, Memorial Hermann Katy had special treats for Gracie and the other therapy dogs in attendance. The hospital also presented Evans with a framed picture of Gracie.