JJ's Journey: A Story of Heroes and Heart
In 2016, Tracy was approached to write a book of stories involving JJ, her hospice work, and her day to day life. "JJ's Journey: A Story of Heroes and Heart" was released October 2017.
Autographed copies available for purchase. Use the green button to link to the order page. More information can be found on JJ's website.
Tracy Calhoun, a nurse on staff at Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House in Oregon, 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. In August 2015, 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.