Going above and beyond is all in a day’s work for nurses, but when Kimberly Still adopted her patient’s dog after the woman passed away, she changed her own life and captured hearts around the nation.
Nurse adopts dog of patient who died
Kimberly Still is a nurse at Northside Hospital Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Recently assigned to the care of a terminally ill elderly patient, she quickly established a close bond. The two spoke extensively, and Kim learned that the woman had no children or nearby family. She also heard about Jax, the woman’s chihuahua mix, and of her patient’s concerns about what would happen to her pet after her death.
“She didn’t have any kids. She didn’t have any family close by. So all she really had as this dog,” Kim recalled in an interview with 23ABC News.
Expert advice from nurses like you
Join the free Incredible Health Nurse Community to get career advice, support, and tips from experienced fellow nurses.
Kim has been a nurse for four years, and notes that there are some patients with whom a special bond is formed. “I could have never guessed the connection that you develop with some people when you take care of them.”
When her patient eventually passed, Kim spoke with family members who had flown in to make final arrangements. As the woman had feared, the family planned to surrender the dog to a local shelter. That’s when Kim knew she needed to act.
Still already had one dog, and though she’d had no intention of adding to her family, she worried that “he was not going to be given a good chance, and possibly be put down if he didn’t get out of the shelter.” She made the decision to adopt Jax herself, a decision that has been rewarded by the dog’s good nature. Jax and her dog have become best friends, and Kim says, “I am never going to get rid of him. He is so sweet. He is one of the most loving dogs ever.”
Kim has been praised and rewarded for her kind and compassionate act. Her coworkers at Northside Hospital Gwinnett celebrated her by nominating her for The Daisy Award, an international program established in the memory of J. Patrick Barnes by his family. The program allows patients, family members, and hospital staff to recognize extraordinary compassionate care being provided by a nurse.
When The Daisy Foundation posted on social media about Kim’s act of kindness, the response was heartfelt. Wrote one follower, “How kind. We need to be reminded often of even the seemingly smallest of kind acts [and] that there are still decent human beings out there.” Another’s response was more personal, remarking, “I’m so touched by this story. As a pet owner with no children or a lot of family, I’ve thought of this scenario. This patient is very lucky she met this nurse.”
Tired of applying for nursing jobs?
With Incredible Health, hospitals apply to YOU.
As for Kim, she says that Jax and his owner both “changed her life,” and that he serves as a daily reminder of what nursing is all about. “People need to feel heard, and they need to feel like someone cares about them,” she said.
- “What is The Daisy Award?” The Daisy Foundation. Accessed July 30, 2022.
- “thedaisyfoundation.” Instagram. Accessed July 30, 2022.
- “Georgia Nurse Adopts Patient’s Dog After Devoted Owner Dies: ‘Totally Changed My Life.’” People Magazine. Accessed July 30, 2022.
- “Nurse adopts terminally ill patient’s dog.” ABC23News. Accessed July 30, 2022.
- “A nurse’s compassion: A unique connection between a pet and caregiver.” wsbtv.com. Accessed July 30, 2022.