Sue VanDeRostyne, who runs the Toulon Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Illinois, first met Rusty after her sister found him wandering unattended in her backyard in 2008. The dog, thought to be around 2 years old, was wearing a collar with an out-of-state rabies tag, but it contained no information about who he belonged to.

“He was obviously someone’s pet,” says Sue. “We went everywhere trying to find the owner.”

Eventually, they decided to drop Rusty off at the local animal shelter in hopes that someone might come claim him there. But after a week without any luck, Sue got word that Rusty’s time was up.

“She called me on the seventh day, which was the day they would mostly likely be putting him down, saying nobody had claimed him," Sue says. "I actually left work, put blankets and sheets from the nursing home and went and picked him up in my car. And he's been here ever since.”

Back at the nursing home, which specializes in caring for seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia, the lost dog was given a place to live alongside its nearly 100 live-in residents as Sue continued to try to track down Rusty's owner, but to no avail. It became clear, however, that Sue's gesture of kindness not only gave the friendly dog a new home -- it gave him a purpose as well.

Rusty soon established himself as the nursing home's resident pet, bringing happiness and comfort to seniors who needed it the most.

“He has made a huge difference. Oftentimes, they don't get visitors. But with Rusty though, if he walks by them and someone holds out their hand, he will stop and go closer to them to get petted,” says Sue.

Full Article and Source:
Stray Dog Finds Purpose as Nursing Home Pet