When Scout the dog entered a county shelter in Bellaire, Michigan, as a stray, no one knew anything about him — only that he had some kind of pellet embedded in his face from having been shot and also other signs of having been abused.
Then one evening, despite a 10-foot fence around his space in the shelter, he was just gone.
The county sheriff arrived, picked up Scout, and took him back to the shelter. But soon after, Scout escaped again. He returned to the care center, which primarily serves elders, including those with dementia or terminal illness. The sheriff was called and returned him to the shelter.
But Scout escaped a third time — successfully navigating the chain link fence, another fence, and a highway crossing to once more pad through the automatic doors of the nursing home.
That’s when Marna Robertson, the nursing home’s administrator, thought something bigger than Scout may be in the works.
“I’m a person who looks at outward signs, and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,” she told The Detroit Free Press. “He did that one, two, three times and obviously that’s something you should pay attention to.”
Rhonda Tomczak, an administrative assistant, told Lady Freethinker that a former staff member adopted Scout and had him for two weeks before emailing Meadow Brook that the situation wasn’t working because the adopter had other dogs and worked away from home. The adopter asked if anyone at the care facility might want to adopt him.
“Our administrator was the first to respond in saying he obviously wants to be here, he chose us, so he is ours,” Tomczak said.
Robertson knew the decision wasn’t hers alone, however, and asked the center’s households if anyone would be willing to take in a dog. That’s when the Glacier Hill household of the nursing home, where Scout originally was found, raised their hands.
Since that time in 2017, he’s been making residents — and staff — smile. When asked if she was glad the center had adopted Scout so many years ago, Tomczak responded with “One million percent, yes!”
“Everyone, staff and residents included, love Scout and look for him and greet him,” she said. “He adds that little extra something to the feel and vibe of our facility.”
Tomczak said that Scout does not like to be alone and is happiest making his rounds of the residents.
“Scout really loves to watch over his people,” she said. “You can either find him doing his room checks or sitting next to a resident, and sometimes you will find him snuggled in bed with a resident that is not feeling well or might be passing. He is very compassionate about his role here and knows that this is what his purpose is — to be here for our residents and watch over them.”
Tomczak said the residents also love Scout’s kisses, watching him play fetch down the hallway, his crazy sleeping poses and knowing that when they are down or not feeling well, he will be there to comfort them. Some of Scout’s favorite people include residents who hide treats in their walkers or store bags of dog treats in the closet space of their rooms.
He is always a comforting presence, 82-year-old resident Shirley Sawyer said.
“When you feel bad, he’s there to pet,” she said. “He just lays there and lets you unwind. He’s just a good all-around friend.”
Fun facts about Scout: His favorite toy is a stuffed lambchop doll named “Lambie,” his favorite trick is “Shake,” he enjoys doing hallway Zoomies and playing in the snow, and during a thunderstorm he will find the largest male resident and climb into bed with him for protection.
To accommodate a dog, the nursing home has had to make a few adjustments. There are now “Don’t let the dog out” and “Don’t feed the Dog” reminders around the facility. But Scout undeniably belongs — even earning the “Resident of the Month” award in February.
“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had,” the award announcement, bearing a picture of Scout with a huge dog smile on his face, noted.
Since his adoption, Scout’s story has gone viral, making coast-to-coast headlines. He’s enjoying the chance to be a goofball at every chance he gets, Tomczak said.
“Scout is on top of the world right now,” she said. “He completely knows that the world is going crazy over him. He is hamming it up all the time.”
Scout also has raised hundreds of dollars for the shelter that cared for him until his escape, with the nursing home staff hosting annual fundraisers to help other animals.
“Words cannot express the warmth, love, and gratitude that we have felt from not only our small community but the world!” the nursing home posted on Facebook. “We are forever grateful to everyone that has reached out with donations and simply to say thank you for adopting Scout.”
As to how Scout knew he’d eventually find a loving forever home at Meadow Brook — that’s something only he will ever know.
Although staff have their surmises.
“He must have just felt like he needed to be here,” Robertson told news.
And for that, staff are grateful, Tomczak added.
“We are very blessed that he was so persistent on being here so we could all be his family,” she said.
Lady Freethinker thanks this incredible team of caring people for giving Scout such a loving home! Please remember to always adopt — not shop — for your companion animals. There are animals like Scout just waiting to bring their love and light into your life!