When you’ve been working like a dog for 11 years, you deserve a massive retirement party. Luckily, that is just what Abe the golden retriever got as a thanks for all his hard work.
Abe spent the last decade-plus working as a therapy dog for Seattle Children’s Hospital. He showed up every week and worked tirelessly to bring a little bit of happiness to the kids who need it the most.
It’s not hard to see how Abe became a beloved member of the hospital community. “Not only do patients and their families enjoy his visits, there are staff members we’ve come to know over the past several years who love seeing him,” his owner Judith Bonifaci told People.
Bonifaci said Abe has been visiting since he was 2, the minimum age for a therapy dog at Seattle Children’s through its Animal-Assisted Activities Program, supported by PetSmart Charities. With 11 years under his collar Abe is the longest serving therapy dog the hospital has ever seen.
As Abe has gotten older and slowed down, Bonifaci decided to Abe is ready to enjoy a well-deserved retirement at home. But the grateful staff and kids at Seattle Children’s couldn’t let him leave without a little farewell party.
So this summer, the hospital threw Abe his own bash, complete with signed notes and a “pension package” (a gift basket full of doggie goodies!).
There were pictures and belly rubs and visits from other therapy dogs and OK who is cutting onions in here?
“I’m not sure how much time Abe has left, but what I do know is he was able to fulfill his incredible purpose of making a difference in people’s lives, which was what I had always hoped for,” Bonifaci told the Seattle Children’s website.
As for the kids, well, they will still be getting their weekly dose of golden retriever love. Another pooch named Jackie, who is Bonifaci’s younger dog, will be taking over in for his big brother Abe.
“Jackie certainly has his own personality,” said Bonifaci told Seattle Children’s. “Abe has always been like an old man who is mellow and calm, while Jackie on the other hand, is strong, agile, and a total goofball. This is why we named him after Jackie Robinson.”