Nala is one special poodle. She is “employed” as a therapy dog at a Saint Paul, Minnesota nursing home, and the residents couldn’t be happier to have her around. She’s very smart, and has even learned how to ride the elevator to get from floor to floor.
“She’s an angel,” said 90-year-old Ruth New as Nala hopped up onto Ruth’s bed and cuddles in next to her. “I love her, and she loves me.”
Doug Dawson is Nala’s human, and he is employed at the facility as a trained medications assistant at the home. “There’s something about her,” he said in a news interview.
Every morning, Doug brings Nala to work with. Once inside the building, he goes off to do his thing, and Nala is off on her mission, to provide love and comfort to the residents. She even rides the elevator herself. In fact, she prefers to ride solo.
“She’d rather ride it alone than with people, because she knows where she’s going,” Doug said. “If she could, she would push the button herself.”
Each day, she seems to set herself to her work as if she actually makes a schedule or plan on who she’ll be visiting and when. Each resident gets special time with her, and love the company and affection she provides. She’s almost a bit like an actual family member to some of the residents.
“Grandma loves her little girl,” Carmen Flaherty tells Nala. “I just love her,” she says. “She knows where to come.”
In a bit of an ironic twist, Nala actually was a flop at the first nursing home she was supposed to be a therapy dog. Doug said he thinks it may have something to do with her extended stay in a kennel. However, at her new place, she’s a natural.
“Where did this little being come from,” Doug said. “She’s here for a purpose. She really is doing God’s work.”