JJ's Journey: The Story of a Hospice Therapy Dog

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JJ's Journey.png

Dogs can bring healing to those who need it most. Tracy Calhoun, a nurse on staff at Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House in Oregon, joined us to share the story behind her book JJ's Journey: A Story of Heroes and Heart. It starts back in August 2015, when she paused at the bedside of an elderly patient in a coma. The woman had no family or friends, but the hospice team had learned she liked dogs, so Tracy put her Golden Retriever, JJ, a staff "therapist," on the woman's bed. JJ snuggled up, nuzzled a motionless hand, and then settled in, letting her body warmth cuddle and comfort the patient in her final hours. The woman, who had been unresponsive for days, then performed her final, intentional act. She stroked JJ's head.

Tracy recorded the intimate moment on her phone, then uploaded it to Facebook where she was keeping a modest account for friends, family, and community members who knew her and JJ. That video went viral, and was rapidly seen by tens of millions of viewers worldwide. To Tracy, it was a turning point in her mission to explain to a wider audience the joy that therapy dogs provide, and to do it with humor and canine chaos, as only a dog obsessed with bacon, puppies, and swimming can. Along the way, Tracy's own story has grown and changed through her love of animals, and she's found, in difficult times, she has needed the same comfort her pups offer to patients--for herself.

  • Book Event for JJ's Journey: A Story of Heroes and Heart
  • Wednesday, January 17, 7:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Annie Bloom's Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy

For more information, visit Tracy's website or Facebook page.