SCOTLAND, S.D. (KELO) — Residents at the Good Samaritan Society are having their moods lifted thanks to a puppy whose heart is bigger than her bite.
Residents at the Good Samaritan Society in Scotland, South Dakota don’t get many visitors during the pandemic.
“I haven’t had a lot of visitors. No… we were on a lockdown pretty much here till about a couple of weeks ago,” Gruhlke said.
That is, except for one four-legged friend who always goes out of her way to greet them.
Meet Gracie: She’s a three-month-old Golden Retriever who stops by Dennis Gruhlke’s room once a day.
“She’s a good companion dog… aren’t you?” Gruhlke said.
Now, Gracie doesn’t just wander around by herself; she’s always accompanied by a staff member. Social Services Manager Pam Stewart is her owner.
“She’s ready to get in the car in the morning and she comes running to the door like, ‘I’m here!'” Stewart said.
She got her in January when she was only eight weeks old.
“She was round and roly-poly, and the plan was to keep her at home for a couple of weeks and get to know her then bring her on a limited basis,” Stewart said.
She came at a time of hardship for the residents: back in November, their original dog Hope passed away from Lymphoma.
“She became very instrumental in the resident’s day: she had her routine where she would go to certain rooms at certain times. She comforted people when they were passing away, she comforted families, she spent time with people who were depressed,” Stewart said.
“Hope was a very caring dog,” Gruhlke said.
Gruhlke says that Gracie has been a big ray of sunshine for him and his fellow residents.
She’s making people smile. We’ve had people talking who hadn’t talked for a while. We’ve had people move in their wheelchairs who hadn’t necessarily motivated their wheelchairs in a while,” Stewart said.
“Companion dogs are just great to have around for just having a dog in the facility… to pet and talk to and break up the monotony of the day,” Gruhlke said.
Even after the pandemic, she’ll keep tugging on heartstrings – and chew toys, for years to come.
“Anytime that we can bring some joy and some boost to their mood, we love that,” Stewart said.