8:47 AM PST, December 30, 2021
A nurse from upstate New York went above and beyond the call of duty when she adopted her patient’s dog when the rehabilitation center had to separate the pair.
“Boomer’s in the pound, Boomer’s in the pound,” Jennifer Smith recalled her patient John Burley saying. Smith, 41, is a registered nurse who works at the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome in Rome, New York.
“He was saying it so many times. I could tell in his voice that he was scared, that he was sad,” Smith told Spectrum Local News.
Before Thanksgiving, Burley, 60, was admitted into the adult day healthcare facility. There, he could no longer have his loyal companion, Boomer, by his side.
Smith, who has a 13-year-old dog at home, said that she “couldn’t imagine my dog being taken away.”
When Burley asked Smith to take care of Boomer for him, she didn’t hesitate. “How can you say no to that? I said ‘John, I will take care of Boomer for you,'” Smith said.
However, Burley did not know where the dog was sent. Smith said she searched for him at shelters. And, when she found Boomer at the Rome Humane Society, she was overjoyed.
“I crouched down and I put my hand on the cage. And he came up to me and he licked my finger. I said ‘where do I sign the adoption papers? I am here to adopt him,'” she said.
When Smith told Burley the news that she was able to adopt him and that he was in her care, he was over the moon.
“When he saw Jennifer and Boomer come around the corner, he just burst into tears and reached for his pal,” Kimberleigh Hare from The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome told Newsweek. “There was not a dry eye in the room between residents and staff. He was so happy to see the dog and so thankful to Jennifer for saving him.”
Smith said she will continue to take care of Boomer as Burley continues his recovery at the rehabilitation center.
“I can see why John loves his dog so much,” Smith said. “Boomer is fantastic. I walk through the halls with him on the wings and all the residents that are in the hallway, they instantly smile. I let each of them pet Boomer.”