Local therapy dog named “Tootsie” retires after losing sight, hearing and smell

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A therapy dog named, Tootsie, made her final rounds with patients at Holston Valley Hospital Wednesday.

Tootsie has been diagnosed with cancer and the connection to her owner is undeniable.

For the last 10 years, Mitzi Clark and Tootsie have been a familiar sight wondering the halls of Holston Valley Medical Center.fface5552ce94c7fbe702dd766428635

Tootsie is never wavering in her quest to bring a smile to the faces of all those in need. She enjoys coming to the hospital probably more than anything she does.

You could say that Tootsie’s journey started out in much the same way.

In 2008, Mitzi stood in need of a comforting face as well. Diagnosed with cancer Tootsie unconditional love and a shoulder to lean on when Mitzi was to weak stand herself.

“I had 28 chemo treatments over 2 1/2 years and she was my nurse at home. I would [lie] down and sleep and she would lay right beside me,” said Clark.

Wednesday is a bittersweet day for the duo that’s been inseparable over the years. Tootsie is now fighting a battle of her own against cancer and has become too weak to continue her life as a service dog.

No longer able to see or smell, Tootsie is completely dependent upon Mitzi just as she was on Tootsie.

Tootsie may be stepping away from service dog work but Mitzi tells us this is by no means the end.

She will have everything she wants and needs.


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