Golden retriever puppy joins South Dakota nursing home staff to bring joy to residents
Gracie is a 3-month-old golden retriever puppy that started making regular visits to the Good Samaritan Society – Scotland in early March. This retirement and assisted living facility in Scotland, South Dakota has ‘seen a lot of smiles’ since Gracie started coming around.
When she is not at Good Samaritan, Gracie lives with Pam Stewart, the facility’s social services manager. Shortly after bringing Gracie home, Stewart started bringing her along to work. Gracie immediately became a natural at loving the residents and bringing joy to those around her.
“We’ve seen a lot of changes since she’s come,” Stewart told Good Morning America. “We’ve seen a lot of smiles, cuddles. It’s giving them a lot to talk about versus what they’ve seen in the world.”
When Gracie accompanies Stewart to work, she spends most of the day visiting the facility’s residents, cuddling and comforting roughly 30 senior citizens each day. Throughout these rounds, the pup is always accompanied by a staff member to ensure everyone stays safe, according to Good Samaritan.
The residents love Gracie’s company, and are happy to have a dog around after the facility’s previous dog, Hope, died last November.
“I talk to her and pet her,” 66-year-old resident Dennis Gruhlke told GMA.
Good Samaritan has been in lockdown since the pandemic began last March, but is now starting to reopen to visitors in accordance with federal guidelines. Gracie is helping residents stay positive and comforted while they wait for family visits to return to normal.