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Service Dog Gets Help From Church

July 23, 2020

A popular Edmond comfort dog hasn’t been able to do his usual work due to the pandemic.

For years, Rufus, of the St. Mark Lutheran Church, has been visiting disaster sites, nursing homes and hospitals.

“Through this very handsome animal, we’ve been able to make contact with thousands of people in Texas and Oklahoma,” Pastor Mark Erler said.

However, COVID-19 has interrupted the dog’s normal routine.

“He’s normally seeing lots and lots of people every week and now he just basically sees my wife, and my two children and me,” Erler said.

While lockdown is good downtime for Rufus to just be a pet, he misses his work.

The congregation at St. Mark is working to keep his skills sharp.

Rufus sleeps over at handler John Over’s once in a while to break up the boredom

“We’ll do a sleepover. He’ll come over here. We will play with him,” Over said.

Over practices Rufus’ commands to keep his mind sharp.

“I have noticed occasionally sometimes he’s a little slow to responding to commands, but overall he seems to be retaining it fairly well,” Over said.

When social distancing is over, Rufus will be back out where he’s needed most.

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