GREAT FALLS – If you visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls on certain days, you may be surprised by who greets you.
“Any place around town, people always ask, ‘Well, how’s Buddy doing? Is he still working at the Interpretive Center?’”
The answer is yes. Buddy the dog is the official greeter at the center and it’s kind of hard to miss him.
“He’s such a friendly dog,” said William Schueller. “He’s got the great personality. Anybody and everybody is his friend.”
The 6-year-old Newfoundland dog came to Great Falls from Alaska.
“I got Buddy as a rescue when I was living up in Alaska and I had no idea how my life would change by getting Buddy in my life.
Schueller’s life changed in a big way. Buddy was trained as a hospice dog to help bring comfort to people near the end of their life.
“It always brings a smile to their face and even when patients are having a hard and difficult time, just petting Buddy, you can just see the smile on their face and the change of attitude.”
And eventually, the pair found their way to the interpretive center.
“I had a neighbor who says, ‘Hey, you have a Newfoundland, we need one at the center, why don’t you come down and volunteer with us.’ And of course, we volunteered over 750 hours in less than two years down here so I mean, it’s opened up my horizons and of course Buddy loves the attention he gets from anybody and everybody that comes in the center.”
And they’ve been best friends ever since.
“He is my best bud. He really is. He completes my life. “
Buddy also helps visitors understand the true size of the dog that accompanied Lewis and Clark on their journey.
He is at the center on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Reporting by Kaley Collins for MTN News