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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Therapy Chicken Becomes Fan Favorite for Residents at Assisted Living Center: 'She's So Sweet'

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When you think of a “therapy animal,” you probably  immediately envision a dog.

There also are a few standouts you might have seen in the therapy, service or emotional-support animal world: potty-trained miniature horses, cats that live in nursing homes, and even “friendly” alligators.

But Gracie is none of those things, and yet she has become a beloved familiar face at the Good Samaritan Society – Willow Wind Assisted Living in Prescott, Arizona.

Gracie is a chicken, and while she may not be able to do fancy tricks, she certainly brings joy to many residents through her calm demeanor and overall good nature.

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Not every chicken is cut out to be a therapy animal, but when owner Becky Medina added Gracie to her flock, she realized this bird was special.

Medina has had chickens for years, so she saw pretty quickly that Gracie was different from the other hens: exceptionally sweet and gentle. Medina also works at the assisted living center as the activities director, so she soon realized her special chicken would make a good therapy animal candidate.

Three years ago, Gracie visited the residents for the first time and was a hit, reminding many of their childhoods. She’s become a staple ever since and regularly visits the center.

“I consider my residents family,” Medina said, according to People. “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.”

Photos of Gracie show the bird totally relaxed, happy to sit on a towel on people’s laps and be loved on. Sometimes she shows off her egg-laying skills, too.

“She’ll just lay there on your lap,” resident Barbara Hebert said.

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“She just keeps looking at you like, ‘Keep petting me!’ You know how dogs like to pet between their ears? Well, she likes to be pat on the back.”

“She’s so sweet. She makes you feel so calm. She’s just adorable. Her feathers are so soft. I love animals, and she’s just so sweet.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking