You Know You're From...Wisconsin Rapids: Paula & Scruffy

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW)-- "Oh good, Scruffy's here. Everybody's excited," claimed Lisa Sommerfeldt.

"Scruffy is an amazing dog," said CNA Deborah Post.

"Is this big, happy guy with his tongue hanging out," said Paula Graves with a smile.

Say hello to Scruffy. Every Friday for the last 11 months, Paula Graves visits the residents at The Waterford with her teammate, the soon-to-be 5 year-old English Cream Golden Retriever.

"We got Scruffy and we could tell this dog really likes people," Graves recalled. "This dog really connects with people."

Like all puppies, first things first.

"Get him to learn manners first, which was the biggest hurdle," Graves said.

Certified since last September through a course with Love on a Leash out of Stevens Point.

"We did 10 hours of therapy work at Waterford," Graves added.

"Sometimes they can reach him because he is taller, that he can just sit and they can just pet his head and his ears. That's a benefit," said Sommerfeldt, activity director at The Waterford.

Paula has a personal connection to The Waterford.

"Both my parents were residents here. My mom was here for a week in 2009. My dad was here for about a month in 2012."

She also has another perspective, having worked in hospital labs for 35 years.

"One of my duties, on occasion, was to come to facilities like this and obtain blood samples. You aren't the most popular person when you're coming with a needle," said Graves.

"She knows how to interact with the residents, with Scruffy, and knows the one's that will interact with him. Playing ball or whatever they do," said Post, a 21-year CNA veteran, one year working with The Waterford.

Paula and Scruffy, Scruffy and Paula. Teammates for the good of all.

"Makes everyone happy, cheerful. It's just something different for their day," said Sommerfeldt.

"He listens to her well and knows what patients he can interact with and the ones he can't," Post said.

"You have time for what's important. God's given me gifts that I think aren't just for me, they're for others," said Graves.

With Scruffy by her side.

Paula's work goes beyond what she does with Scruffy. She and her husband are ordained ministers and have a podcast that you can listen to on 88.5 FM in Wisconsin Rapids or at lightofchristradio.com.