Nurse adopts elderly rehab patient’s dog so he can visit his owner and help him get better 

A cute New York nurse went above and beyond the call of duty when she rescued a sick, beloved dog from the pound.

John Burley, 60, was forced to hand over his 13-year-old dog, Boomer, when he was hospitalized with pneumonia the day before Thanksgiving.

John was worried about his four-legged best friend, so on the Monday after Thanksgiving, he called Jennifer Smith, a registered adult health care program nurse at the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rome, to tell her the news.

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John was calling from his hospital room saying, ‘Boomer in a pound! “Boomer by the pound!” Jennifer told CNN that Boomer is John’s scientist.

The two met at the Nursing Center in Rome, New York, through a day care program for adults for patients who need supervision.

John still had his own apartment, where he lived alone with his pet. He had adopted Boomer in Arkansas as a puppy and later moved to New York. Most of his family lives in Arkansas, so he had no one to call to take care of his dog when he was in the hospital.

Fortunately, Jennifer was there to take on the task. She became friends with John on the adult daycare program, and he would often talk to her about Boomer and show her his pictures.

So when John asked her if she could take care of his big dog, Jennifer immediately agreed. She had a 13-year-old dog, so I totally understood John’s situation.

The problem was that John didn’t know which shelter the Boomer was in. Jennifer searched for animal shelters nearby, called the Rome Humane Society, and confirmed that the pup had been taken there.

Facade of Adult Health Care Day at the Grand Hotel in Rome
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The next day, I had a brunch and headed to the shelter. There, she found an 18-pound Boomer in a big house in the back alone.

“I crouched and put my hand on the cage. He came up to me and licked my finger. I said, ‘Where do I sign the adoption papers? I’m here to adopt him,'” Jennifer said.

Jennifer immediately called John to tell him she had found Boomer and he was fine. The latter was very relieved when he learned that Boomer was in good hands.

After paying the adoption fee, Jennifer did the shopping for food, a crate, toys, and clothes for the dogs.

During John’s time in the hospital, Jennifer called every day to tell him how Boomer had settled in her home. She said the dog sleeps happily in her daughter’s room every night.

When it was time to leave the hospital, John was told he would need rehabilitation before being sent home.

John Burley meets his dog Boomer
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On the day of his discharge from the hospital, Jennifer prepared a surprise by wearing a cute plaid shirt and bringing Boomer to work.

Once he was settled in the room, Kimberleigh Hare of Adult Day Healthcare at The Grand John asked if he was comfortable enough for a surprise visit, and he said yes.

“When he saw Jennifer and Boomer approaching the corner, he burst into tears and reached for his friend,” Hare recalls. “There was no dryness in the room among the residents and staff. He was very happy to see the dog and very thankful to Jennifer for saving him.”

While John was living in the center’s rehab ward, she brought Jennifer Bomer to work and would take him to his owner’s room several times a day.

“It helps John in the healing process and gives him peace of mind,” she said.

John Burley in a wheelchair cuddles his dog Boomer while nurse Jennifer Smith looks after
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John loves to show off his Boomer as he sits on his lap in a wheelchair. The other residents of the nursing home also grew to love the dog. They smile and caress him when they see him.

Jennifer said the dog was very well-behaved and trained, so he was always a welcome visitor at the centre.

“That’s why I started nursing,” said Jennifer, who has been in the profession for 12 years. “I love helping people and taking care of them in any way I can.”

She also promised John that she would take care of Boomer for as long as he needed her. For now, you just want him to focus on getting better.

And in terms of Jennifer King’s acting, John had three simple words to say: “I love Jennifer.”

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