Duke Garcia, Del Sol Medical Center’s beloved therapy dog, will retire this year after five years of bringing joy to patients.

Duke provides therapy to patients of all ages through Paws for Love, a program that sends therapy teams of animals and their handlers to schools, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as rehabilitation and hospice centers.

“Duke is always happy to show up to work every Tuesday,” Pat Olson, Del Sol Medical Center volunteer coordinator, said. “Employees, patients and volunteers at Del Sol Medical Center will miss Duke when he retires. He’s a part of the Del Sol family. We hope he still plans to visit every now and then!”

Duke has also formed a special bond with Del Sol Medical Center’s chief executive officer, David Shimp. Duke visits Shimp each Tuesday and even sits in on occasional executive meetings.

Patients and employees have appreciated Duke’s commitment to volunteering so much that the dog has now been nominated for a Frist Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes employees, physicians and volunteers at HCA Healthcare facilities who demonstrate a level of commitment and caring that goes beyond everyday kindness.

All therapy dogs must be trained and screened through the Paws for Love program to visit Del Sol Medical Center and must be accompanied by a hospital volunteer at all times. To find out more about Paws for Love, contact the Humane Society of El Paso.