From caregiver to pet owner: nurse adopts terminally ill patient’s dog so he doesn’t have to go to shelter
Finding a new home for a dog can be a difficult task, particularly when the dog has lost its owner due to death. Not only must the dog cope with the loss of its loving owner, but it must also adjust to a new caregiver.
Recently, one dog was lucky enough to find a loving new home thanks to the compassion of a nurse named Kim Still. Still is a nurse at Northside Hospital Gwinnett in Gwinnett County, Georgia. She formed a close bond with one of her patients, an elderly and terminally ill woman, while providing care.
As the end neared, the woman had one big concern: what would happen to her beloved dog, a chihuahua named Jax, after she died. “She didn’t have any kids. She didn’t have any family close by. So all she really had was this dog,” Kim told WSB-TV.
Making things worse, the family told Kim to surrender the dog to a shelter when the patient died. “I was very worried that he was not going to be given a good chance, and possibly be put down if he didn’t get out of the shelter,” Kim said. Worried about what would happen to her late patient’s beloved dog, Kim did something extraordinary: she adopted the dog herself!
According to the DAISY Foundation, Kim went to the shelter and adopted Jax, “ensuring that he would have the best life with her.” The patient reportedly knew Jax was in good hands before she died, and was able to “pass peacefully.”
For Kim, it was a way to help a patient in a way that went beyond healthcare, and it shows the real human connection formed between nurses and their patients.
“I could have never guessed the connection that you develop with some people when you take care of them,” Kim told WSB-TV. “They just totally changed my life.”
“I am never going to get rid of him. He is so sweet. He is one of the most loving dogs ever.”