The bird is the word at South Dakota nursing home – The Brighter Side

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Good Samaritan residents observe Ralph the rooster in his natural habitat

They say that birds of a feather flock together. Today, the residents of Good Samaritan Society-Sioux Falls Center, in Sioux Falls, SD, may not have feathers but they’ve flocked to a new friend with plenty of his own. 

 “I consider my residents family. What brings me joy is making them happy and Ralphy the rooster brings them so much happiness. Ralph is part of the Good Samaritan Society family now,” said Sioux Falls Center Administrator Luke Wanous. “Animals provide an engaging and emotional experience for residents, along with laughter and storytelling between residents. And Ralphy is no exception.” 

Ralphy, or Ralph when he’s called by his more formal name, stumbled upon the Sioux Falls Center during his morning walks a few months ago and decided it was the right place for him to build his nest. He is an enigma, nobody knows where he came from. Facility staff theorize that maybe his owner couldn’t take care of him anymore. Maybe he took the wrong exit off the freeway. Regardless of his origin, he is now prime breakfast entertainment for the residents who watch him through the dining room window. He’ll even let out a “polite crow” every once in a while to show off for his fans.

Ralph enjoys a moment to himself

“Oh, I just can’t wait to see Ralphy when I wake up in the morning. Many of us gather by the window and watch him. He’s just so cute,” said resident Peggy Nyhaug. “He showed up one day and never left! We love him. He’s pretty much right by the window all the time waiting to get fed.” 

It’s clear Ralph has made himself right at home, even during the harsh winter months. He set up camp right in the middle of the facility’s holiday nativity scene. Once the holidays passed and the decorations were removed, he remained in the empty structure thanks to a heat lamp and food provided by facility staff. In his short time on campus, Ralph has already made a big impact on his new friends. They can’t wait to visit him outside when springtime rolls around. 

“Many of the residents grew up on farms and Ralphy evokes so many wonderful memories for them. Ralph really brings that small town feel here to the bigger city of Sioux Falls,” said Wanous, “While some residents are not as verbal as others, their eyes light up with excitement whenever they visit Ralphy.” 

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