“I will sincerely endeavor to assist the physician in his work, and dedicate myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”
Every day, nurses take these words from Florence Nightingale’s department to heart, striving to ensure the well-being of their patients—but some, like registered nurse Jennifer Smith, are taking this commitment to care a step further.
Last November, Smith received a panicked call from John Burley, one of her patients from the Adult Day Care Program in Rome, a large rehabilitation and nursing center in New York. He was hospitalized with pneumonia, and there was no family nearby to help, his dog Boomer was taken to an animal shelter.
“I came to work the Monday after Thanksgiving for the phone ringing at 7 AM,” Smith recalls in an interview with CNN. “John was calling from his hospital room saying, ’Boomer in pounds! Boomer in pounds!’”
Realizing that the 12-year-old dog he’d had since he was a puppy meant the world to him, when Burley asked Smith if she’d take care of a Boomer, her immediate response resounded, “Of course, I will!”
The first thing Smith had to do was track down Bomer, and finally find him at the Rome Humane Society. The next day, she drove to the shelter and proceeded with the adoption process, letting Burley know that Boomer was doing well and that he would be home soon.
While staying in the rehab ward, Smith brought Bomer to visit his dog dad several times a day. The cute dog quickly became a favorite with staff and patients alike.
For Smith, keeping 60-year-old Burley and Boomer together is just a natural extension of her life goal of helping people. “There are a lot of worries in the world right now. If I can take away one worry from John, it’s the least I can do,” she told CNN.
“I can’t cure diseases. I am not a miracle worker [but] I made a promise to John to take care of Boomer. I’ll take care of him for as long as he needs me. John knows that. Right now, the focus is for John to get better and take it day by day.”
Burley has speech problems as a result of his illness, so it can sometimes be difficult for him to express his thanks in words. However, there is one feeling that he manages to express loudly and clearly: “I love Jennifer,” he declared.
We’re sure Boomer seconds those feelings with a hearty, “Woof!”