It was just after Thanksgiving that Jennifer Smith, a nurse, got an early morning call. John Burley called her because he was upset about his dog.
“I received a call from John around 7 a.m. on Monday, after I arrived at the office for the first time following Thanksgiving.”. “Boomer is in the pound!” he said, excitedly. “Boomer’s in the pound!” Boomer is John’s entire world, according to Smith.” – Smith told CNN.
Smith (a nurse) said that she could tell that he (the patient) was worried and also scared about what would happen to his dog, Boomer.
“He took a deep breath and asked me, ‘Will you take care of Boomer?’ And I said, ‘Of course John. I will find Boomer and take care of him for you.’
Smith met Burley at Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Rome, New York. Smith visits the center for adult day healthcare. The program is for people who need help with their healthcare. They can meet other people there too.
Burley adopted the 12-year-old dog when he was a puppy. Later, he moved to New York. The 60-year-old man still lived in his own apartment, even though he had to be hospitalized for pneumonia. His family was still in Arkansas, so he had no one to take care of his dog. Except for Smith.
In the adult daycare program, Smith said she formed a friendship with Burley. He would often talk about Boomer and show pictures of him to Smith. She said, “I couldn’t separate them.”
Burley didn’t know where Boomer was. Smith looked up nearby animal shelters and called the Rome Humane Society. And she found out he was there.
“I was a little panicked because I didn’t know how long he had been in the shelter or if he had already been adopted to another family. It’s Christmas time and people get animals,” she said. “I told John I have a 13-year-old dog myself who I’ve had since a puppy, so I fully understand the panic. It made my heart sad for him and Boomer.”
On the next day, she took an early lunch and visited the shelter, where she discovered 18-pound Boomer in a big cage in the back. Smith said to herself, “Where are his adoption papers? I’m going to take him home.”
Smith immediately dialed Burley to inform him that she’d located Boomer, he was fine, and she would be bringing him home shortly. Boomer was brought home a few minutes later, where Smith’s pet met him with interest.
“It was one less worry that John has, and he needs to focus on getting better and taking care of himself and know Boomer is in good hands,” Smith said.
Burley is living in the rehabilitation area of the center. It’s not known where he’ll live when he is released, but while he is there, Smith can bring Boomer to work with her. She takes him up to Burley’s room twice a day. “It helps John with healing and gives him peace of mind,” Smith said.
The other residents of the building like Boomer too. Smith describes Burley proudly displaying Boomer while riding in his wheelchair. They grin and stroke him as he passes by.
“There are so many worries in the world today. If I can take one worry away from John, that is the least I can do,” she said. “I cannot cure diseases. I am not a miracle worker … I promised John to take care of Boomer. I will take care of him as long as he needs me. John knows this. Right now, he is trying to get better and take it one day at a time.
Smith’s kindness has not gone unnoticed. Burley, who has difficulty speaking, had a significant message to convey: “I love Jennifer.”
“John seeing Boomer, that’s the only Christmas present I need right now,” Smith said that she wanted a career in nursing so that she could help people.
I’m so glad that this nurse went beyond her duty to save a dog in need. What about you? Share with us your thoughts on the story and let’s talk more about how we can help dogs in our community stay safe!