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Teacup Poodle ‘Nala’ is a Four-Legged Angel to Nursing Home Residents

No one can say for certain if dogs go to heaven, but residents at a St. Paul, Minnesota nursing home say heaven sent Nala to them.

“She’s an angel,” 90-year-old Ruth New told KARE, as a tiny teacup poodle named Nala climbed up onto her bed and snuggles beside her.

Nala’s owner, Doug Dawson is a medications assistant at the Lyngblomsten Care Center. He brings 5-year old Nala to work with him every day. When they arrive at the care center, Doug and Nala each go their separate ways – he goes to work preparing and adminstering medications to patients while Nala provides a different kind of care – comfort to those that need it most.

“If you put her down she’ll pick out the person with Alzheimer’s,” Dawson explained. “She has a way of picking the sick.”

Nala also has an innate ability to sense when people are nearing the end of their life, finding and spending extra time with those that need in their final days. She’s never had any formal therapy dog training.

Ironically, Dawson adopted Nala from another nursing home where he worked prior to Lyngblomsten. She had been brought in as a therapy dog, but wasn’t working out. At the time, she was described as “whiney and neurotic.”  Dawson believes she simply spent too much time living in a kennel at the home and wasn’t free to visit those patients that needed her most. The other nursing home simply gave Nala to Dawson.

Dawson, the care center staff, and residents are amazed by Nala’s ability to navigate the nursing home floors on her own, even riding the elevator alone between floors – she just needs a little help reaching the buttons.

“Where did this little being come from,” he asks rhetorically. “She’s here for a purpose. She really is doing God’s work.”

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