60-Year-Old in Hospital Separated From Beloved Dog—Until Kind Nurse Adopts Him, Reunites Them Before Christmas

Christmas arrived early for one Rome resident in New York who, falling ill, was separated from his four-legged best friend, Boomer—but they were reunited thanks to the kindness of a local nurse who went beyond the call of duty.

The ailing 60-year-old, John Burley, had been taken to the hospital just before Thanksgiving. Unable to care for his elderly dog, Boomer was taken to the Rome Humane Society, leaving his human owner distraught.

Burley had no one to care for Boomer in his absence. No one—except a certain nurse he’d gotten to know while he was a patient at the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome, which provides daily adult healthcare programs for the elderly.

(Courtesy of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome)

It was here that he first met nurse Jennifer Smith, 41, and formed a lasting friendship. He would often share photos of Boomer and talk about his furry companion. So, when Burley found himself hospital-bound without his dog, he picked up the phone.

“John mentioned to her that he was devastated about losing his best friend, Boomer,” Kimberleigh Hare from The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome told Newsweek. “It broke her heart to think that Boomer would be adopted by strangers and she couldn’t bear to think about what would happen if no one wanted to adopt this sweet 13-year-old dog.”

Boomer being an older dog like her own pooch of about the same age, Smith sympathized and did what she had to do, telling Burley that she would find Boomer and take care of him. She started dialing up local shelters and soon located the canine at the Rome Humane Society.

(Courtesy of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome)

The next day, she took an early lunch and made the trip to the shelter where she found the little dog in a cage. Right on the spot, she asked for the adoption papers and said she was going to take him home.

Although the dog wasn’t quite ready to be released, Smith called Burley and told him that Boomer was in good hands; he would stay with her, and her dog, for as long as he needed her to.

After being discharged from the hospital, Burley had to spend time in rehabilitation before returning home (he has his own apartment where he lives alone with Boomer). Naturally, he chose to stay at Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome, where Smith still works.

(Courtesy of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome)

On his day leaving the hospital, she decided to surprise him just before Christmas and brought Boomer to work with her. Dressing him in a festive shirt, she and Hare revealed the surprise and Burley broke into a bright smile, filled with joy upon being reunited with his best friend.

Christmas came early for Burley and Boomer, but seeing them reunited was a gift for the rest, too.