Most people have heard of therapy dogs visiting assisted living communities to provide affection, comfort and support to residents, but how about a therapy chicken?
Meet Gracie, a 4-year-old chicken who has become one of the most coveted visitors at Good Samaritan Society’s Willow Wind Assisted Living facility in Prescott, AZ. She is owned by Becky Medina, the community’s activities director, who started bringing Gracie in to visit residents about three years ago.
From day one, Gracie has been a hit with residents, Medina told McKnight’s Senior Living.
“I consider my residents family,” she said. “What brings me joy is making them happy, and Gracie brings them so much happiness. Many of the residents grew up on farms, and Gracie evokes so many wonderful memories for them.”
Many residents and visitors to the community are in awe of Gracie’s calmness. She’s very tame, doesn’t flap her wings and loves to sit on residents’ laps while they pet her. She also gives the residents something to look forward to and gets many of them out of their rooms, who maybe otherwise wouldn’t come out, Medina said. In fact, many residents even wait eagerly by the community’s front entrance on days they know she will be coming.
“When I first moved here in September, everyone kept telling me I had to meet Gracie, and I thought she was a woman,” recalled Barbara Hebert, a resident at Willow Wind and one of Gracie’s biggest fans. “Then they told me she was a chicken, and I couldn’t believe it. She’s just so sweet and makes me feel so calm. She just lays there on my lap.”
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