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Rusty The Stray Dog Becomes Loyal Companion To Nursing Home Residents

03/03/2014 11:11 am ET | Updated Mar 04, 2014

A dog named Rusty was found as a stray in 2008 and almost put down, but now he's an old friend to the residents of Toulon Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Toulon, Ill.

The 8-year-old chocolate Lab was celebrated this February, KWQC reported, for his years as one of the nursing home's most cherished members. He's been by the residents' side for the past six years, after the sister of the center's administrator, Sue VanDeRostyne, found him wandering in her backyard. Last month, a pet food and supply drive was held in the loyal pup's honor, according to McKnights.com, a website dedicated to long-term care news and assisted living.

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"[Rusty] gets called so many different names because people who have had dogs in the past call him 'Brownie' or 'Missy,'" VanDeRostyne told McKnight's. "He'll go over to them, he'll come and walk right over to the wheelchair and will stay until they're done petting him."

"His instinct to know when residents may be needing some extra cheering-up is amazing, too," Michelle Spears, community relations coordinator for the center, told Yahoo! Shine's Good News blog. "Overall, Rusty is wonderful medicine for those in our care."

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