A clever canine named Scout breaks out of a nearby animal shelter not just once, but three times! His destination? The comforting confines of Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility—a nursing home that mostly looks after seniors. This audacious pooch navigates two fences, dodges highway traffic, and sneaks into the lobby only to curl up on a couch for the night. It sounds like a canine caper straight out of a movie, but it’s true! When an astonished nurse discovered him the next morning, it was clear that Scout wasn’t your average stray. You see, Scout had a mysterious past. A stray with no known history, he was named by the shelter staff who picked up on his wary demeanor.If you got the chance to pet him, you’d notice the BBs or birdshot lodged in his jowl. A sheriff escorted Scout back to the shelter, but our determined four-legged friend had other plans. Like a character in a feel-good film, he returned to the very same nursing home couch—twice!
Meadow Brook is about an hour northeast of Traverse City and has 82 beds, split between several households.The place provides long-term care to seniors dealing with terminal illnesses, dementia, or loneliness. And somehow, this became the place that Scout chose as his forever home. Marna Robertson, the nursing home’s administrator, said, “I’m a person who looks at outward signs, and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. He did that one time, two times, three times, and obviously that’s something that you should pay attention to. And I asked the staff, ‘Well, he wants to be here. Would anybody like to have a dog?’” Suddenly, Meadow Brook had its newest resident—Scout, the wonder dog. The staff formally adopted him, and the seniors were thrilled. “I think it reminds them of being home,” noted Rhonda Thomczak, administrative assistant at Glacier Hill, where Scout first chose to hang out.
Today, Scout is more than a pet; he’s a pal to the 20 or so seniors living at Glacier Hill. He roams the halls freely, visiting residents, lying down whenever and wherever he pleases.And he’s smart too—figuring out how to use his paws to open doors and knowing which residents have dog biscuits hidden in their walkers. “To each and every one of them, it’s their dog,” Jenni Martinek, the household coordinator, pointed out. Scout even has his own bed and toys in Martinek’s office. Touched by his story, the nursing staff held a fundraiser in his name, raising hundreds for the animal shelter that first took him in. He’s become so popular that someone even dropped by just to meet the dog they’d seen on social media.Oh, and he was named “Resident of the Month” in February. The poster said it all: “We woof you! Thank you for adopting us!” Scout, however, remains a mysterious figure. “All they knew is he was abused. He was just very scared,” Martinek explained. His mannerisms bear scars from the past, like a subtle cower in his walk and a tendency to get nervous around loud noises or strange men.
But why was he so determined to be at Meadow Brook? “Maybe he felt like it was a safe environment,” pondered Robertson. “He certainly has a penchant for the elders. If they have dementia or if they’re not going to be around much longer he knows that, and he will go and be with them and comfort them. He must’ve just felt like he needed to be here.”
Alongside staff members and other residents, he attended a last-minute pizza party thrown to cheer Craig up. Though he didn’t partake in the pizza, he lay at the feet of his human friends, quietly content. “I think he knows that this is his home and he is all of ours, so that gives him a sense of security,” Thomczak reflected. Scout may not know how to talk, but he certainly knows how to love and be loved. In choosing to be at Meadow Brook, he didn’t just find a home, he made one.
See Scout with his big family in the video below.
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