Georgia Nurse Adopts Dog After Her Patient Dies: 'People Need to Feel Like Someone Cares About Them'
Every pet parent has at some point had to come to grips with the passing of a beloved best friend. Something we might not think about as often, however, is what happens to our animal friends once we pass.
Georgia nurse Kim Still was faced with such a situation when a terminal patient she developed a strong bond with passed away recently, leaving her beloved dog behind. Still, who's been a nurse for four years, joined the profession because she wanted to help people. But she soon learned that working with terminal patients creates interactions that go beyond simple empathy.
"I could have never guessed the connection that you develop with some people when you take care of them," Still told WSB-TV.
When Still developed a particularly close bond with one of her elderly patients, the two started to talk about what would happen to the patient's beloved Chihuahua mix, Jax.
"She didn't have any kids. She didn't have any family close by. So all she really had was this dog," Still said. "I was very worried that he was not going to be given a good chance."
After the patient died, the family members that flew in to handle arrangements told Still that they had surrendered Jax to a shelter. Despite already having a dog of her own at home and never really thinking she would get a second, Still was quick to act, going to the shelter and adopting the small dog herself.
"I am never going to get rid of him," Still told WSB-TV. "He is so sweet. He is one of the most loving dogs ever."
Still says that Jax and her other dog are getting along famously and that Jax now serves as a daily reminder of why she goes to work every day and how important those connections between patient and medical staff can be.
"Being [in the hospital], people need to feel heard, and they need to feel like someone cares about them," Still told WSB-TV.
In recognition of her great work as a care provider and her selfless act of service to a patient who had passed, Still's coworkers honored her with a DAISY Award, given in recognition of extraordinary, compassionate care.
"Kim's story is one that showed not only compassion for her patient but for her patient's dog Jax as well," the post reads. And though his human friend may be gone, Jax can rest easy in his new forever home with his amazing, loving new friends.