A Legacy of Love


All good things must come to an end, and after 6 ½ years at Texas Children’s Legacy Tower, Bailey, Texas Children’s second Pawsitive Play Program facility dog, will retire to a life of play and relaxation at home. It is a bittersweet goodbye to everyone she has encountered during her service, including many team members across the hospital.  

Helping the sickest of the sick  

Bailey joined Texas Children’s Hospital in 2018. She and her handler, Adair Winget, Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator, have supported patients and families in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit  (PICU) and Texas Children’s Heart Center in the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower throughout Bailey’s career. Patients in these units are seriously ill – many chronic, many long-term, and usually the sickest of patients. Bailey has the perfect temperament to help them. She has a very soothing presence and is one of our calmest and snuggliest dogs — a perfect match for such critically ill children. Once Adair gets her into place, Bailey will stay cuddled next to her patient for as long as they need her. Her quiet temperament also allows her to lay safely next to her patients who have multiple lines, chest tubes, catheters, drains, etc., without the risk of pulling them out.



“We go and see families for many different things, whether it’s medical procedures, emotional support, or maybe something more complicated. The minute Bailey comes through the door, even if a family is really frustrated, a child is crying, or if they have just received devastating news, everyone gets excited. They say, “Oh my gosh! Is that a dog? Is she here to see me? That’s amazing!”

Bailey also comforts patients in palliative care and provides therapeutic and emotional support at the end of life. She can snuggle with patients and take on their emotional burden, which allows them to pass peacefully, knowing their friend was with them.  “As much as I love my job and think I’m good at what I do, I can never have that same connection with families that Bailey brings,” Winget said. “She is that peacemaker and that bridge for us to be able to really connect with kids who might not want to connect through words but can connect through her.”

One of Bailey’s superpowers is that she can’t talk and she doesn’t pass judgment. She just sits with patients and meets them where they are. The silence can be very healing, and it allows patients to take a deep breath and not feel forced into things or to feel obligated to answer questions.

“I tell my younger patients that Bailey is a really good listener, and she’s ready to listen to all your problems. And she’s an even better secret keeper. And so we have little kids whisper things in her ear saying, ‘I can’t tell anyone else what I can tell Bailey, and I’m too scared to tell anyone else. But I feel safe telling Bailey.’ That may not be how everyone initially thought you use a facility dog, but the patients feel safe and comfortable confiding in Bailey.”



Bailey and Adair have built some very meaningful relationships with patients. Winget shares, “It’s even better if they have to return after discharge and you can show up for them again. They’re so excited that Bailey has rememberd them and has come back to visit. The bond is forged to be even stronger, and when the hard things happen, and the patient and family are in those very difficult moments, they want Bailey there.”   

Special patient encounters  

Child Life Specialists are a key part of patient care and provide essential care for children in critical care. However, Bailey is able to break barriers and provide comfort in ways that humans and different medications can’t. Adair says it’s like watching a miracle unfold and happen. She says she has had many families tell her that their doctors were wonderful, their nurses were great, and their child was healed medically. However, their child would not have made it emotionally and mentally without Bailey.

The Wallace connection


Bailey was donated to Texas Children’s Hospital by CEO Mark A. Wallace and his wife, Shannon. Avid pet and animal lovers, they recognize the remarkable benefits the Pawsitive Play dogs bring to patients, that go far beyond physical healing.

Bailey visits Mark frequently. When they reach the Executive Suite, Adair unhooks her leash and she stands at the door, waiting to go in. They’re buzzed into the suite and Bailey runs straight back to Mark’s office. She knows exactly where he keeps treats for her, and has zoomed around and even slept on the sofa in his office. She knows Mark and Shannon are her friends and they have been extremely supportive of the journey Bailey has had with them over the past 6 ½ years. They’ve always trusted that Adair knows what’s best for her and have never second-guessed anything she has done.

Why is Bailey retiring?

Adair says that Bailey’s personality and activity levels used to be the same at work and at home. However, she’s become more playful and energetic at home. Her work and home lives are becoming increasingly distant from each other. Adair realized that Bailey needs more of a release each day and less of the work life and stress, so it is definitely time for her to retire.



What is she going to do after she retires?

“That has been everyone’s question and I love that everyone is so concerned about what she’s going to do when she isn’t here.” Bailey loves seeing everyone, especially the patients and clinical teams she works with. Adair thinks retirement will be an adjustment for her, but she also knows that Bailey will really enjoy sunbathing in the sunny spots in her home and visiting Adair’s mom and dad, who live three streets away. Bailey has never been left alone a day in her life and it will be a big change when she stops going to work with Adair. She doesn’t know what that life is like, and Adair cares very much about her emotional well-being. So, many grandparent days are on the horizon to ensure she is happy and content in retirement.  

What’s next?   

Adair is in the pipeline for a new facility dog and will enjoy continuing her work in the Pawsitive Play Program. This will mean going back basically to the beginning of getting another dog, learning that dog’s personality and characteristics, and working with it to find the best place for the dog to offer care and support. She says she never knew what to expect when she got Bailey and didn’t realize how much effort and work goes into bonding with a dog and learning their personality traits and their skill set, and just really what it’s like to start from scratch with a team. It’s going to be like starting from the beginning all over again. “ I love my job and I love my career, and I don’t feel like my time at Texas Children’s is over. I’m really looking forward to committing almost another decade to being here and working.”