A Nurse’s Kindness Rescues

A Nurse’s Kindness Rescues

Nurse goes beyond duty and rescues a hospitalized patient’s dog from the shelter

By Jennifer Hauser / CNN

It was right after Thanksgiving that registered nurse Jennifer Smith got an early morning phone call from John Burley, one of her favorite patients. He was distraught about his beloved dog, Boomer.

“I came into work the Monday after Thanksgiving to the phone ringing at 7 a.m.,” Smith told CNN. “John was calling from his hospital room saying, ‘Boomer is in the pound!’ Boomer is in the pound!’ Boomer is John’s world.”

Smith, who has been a nurse for 12 years, said she could tell he was concerned and also scared about what would happen to Boomer.

“He took a breath and asked me, ‘Will you take care of Boomer?’ And I said, ‘Of course, John. I will find Boomer and take care of him for you,'” Smith told CNN. 

Smith had met Burley at the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Rome, New York, through its adult day health care program, which is for patients requiring supervision, and which allows them to socialize with others while receiving medical care.

The 60-year-old still had his own apartment where he lived alone with his little mutt. Burley had adopted the 12-year-old dog in Arkansas when he was a puppy and later moved to New York. Most of his family still lives in Arkansas, so when he was hospitalized for pneumonia and lung problems, he had no one to take care of his dog. No one — except Smith.

Smith says that she formed a friendship with Burley in the adult daycare program and he would often talk about Boomer, showing off pictures of his furry companion. “I couldn’t separate the two of them. I just couldn’t.”

Burley didn’t know which shelter Boomer was in. Smith immediately looked up nearby animal shelters and when she called the Rome Humane Society, she discovered he’d been taken there.

“I was a little panicked because I didn’t know how long he had been in the shelter or if he had already been adopted to another family. It’s Christmas time and people get animals,” she said. “I told John I have a 13-year-old dog myself who I’ve had since a puppy, so I fully understand the panic. It made my heart sad for him and Boomer.”

She took an early lunch the next day and drove to the shelter where she found 18-pound Boomer in a large cage in the back. Smith said, “OK, where are the adoption papers? I’m going to take him home.”

Although he wasn’t quite ready to be released from the shelter, Smith immediately called Burley to let him know she’d found Boomer, he was OK and she would be bringing him home soon. A short while later, Boomer was set up at Smith’s home and making friends with her dog.

“It was one less worry that John has, and he needs to focus on getting better and taking care of himself and know Boomer is in good hands,” Smith said.

Burley is now temporarily living in the rehabilitation wing of the center. It’s uncertain where he’ll live after he is released. But while he is there, Smith is able to bring Boomer to work with her. She takes him up to Burley’s room a couple times a day. “It helps John with the healing process and gives him peace of mind,” Smith said. 

The other residents love Boomer, too. Smith says that Burley is proud to show off Boomer as he rides on his lap in the wheelchair. They smile and pet him. 

“There are just so many worries in the world right now. If I can take one worry away from John, that’s the least I can do,” she said. “I can’t cure diseases. I’m not a miracle worker … I made a promise to John to take care of Boomer. I will take care of him as long as he needs me to. John knows that. Right now the focus is on John getting better and taking it one day at a time.”

Smith’s kindness hasn’t gone unnoticed. Burley, who struggles a bit with speech, had an important thing to say: “I love Jennifer.”

“John seeing Boomer, that’s the only Christmas present I need right now,” said Smith, who, not surprisingly, said she pursued a career in nursing so she could help people.

be kind . be grace . be there for each other


Welcoming Refugees

Welcoming Refugees

Kenneth and Adi Martinez immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2011, and when given the opportunity to help a family of four who recently fled Afghanistan, they jumped at the chance.

“We know exactly what it feels like to come to a brand new county with no family or anything,” Kenneth told Good Morning America. “We know it can be difficult, and in the case [of Afghan refugees], it’s very difficult.”

The government expects tens of thousands of Afghan refugees will come to the United States over the next year, and resettlement agencies are working with organizations and individuals like Kenneth and Adi to help the refugees find housing, jobs, schools, and medical care.

Kenneth, Adi, and their two small children live in the Seattle area and offered their spare bedroom to the family from Afghanistan. Over the last month, they have been getting to know one another and their respective cultures, with the adults cooking and the kids playing together. Kenneth and Adi are helping the family get adjusted to life in the U.S. and bought them shoes and coats to prepare for the winter. 

“Even though we may think we don’t have a lot, we have an extra bedroom, we have the means and the resources and the ability to help,” Kenneth said. “We are happy that we can help

be kind . be compassionate . help one another .


Sharing a Batch of Kindness

Sharing a Batch of Kindness

At the start of the pandemic, Maryland teenager Elise Chang would bake cookies and drop them off at her friends’ houses along with a stuffed animal.  Her friends loved the gesture and sent her photos of themselves with the stuffed animals, keeping them all connected.  “That’s why I wanted to continue doing it, because of those small but really meaningful reactions,”  Chang said.

She decided to use this as an opportunity to spread joy in her own neighborhood and launched the ‘Tough Cookie Service Project’, in which she delivers cookies to 20 neighbors each month and leaves a note encouraging them to do something kind for someone else. The pandemic has helped Chang see just how resilient people are, and how even the smallest gesture can mean so much.

“I love random acts of kindness”, Elise said. “You can just make someone smile when they weren’t originally or they’ll just be thinking about you or what you’ve done and want to continue giving kindness to others, which is really important to me.

be kind . be grace . give to others


Empowering Kids Who Stutter

Empowering Kids Who Stutter

Stuttering is often seen as something to fix, but at Camp SAY in Upstate New York, kids who stutter are taught confidence and to unapologetically accept themselves.

Over 70 million people worldwide stutter, including 5% of all children. Children who stutter often face daily ridicule, teasing and bullying, and resort to silence to hide their stutter. Many will withdraw from peers, teachers, and society, leaving them feeling isolated and alone.

Since 2001, SAY has offered comprehensive and innovative programs that address the physical, social, and emotional impacts of stuttering: Through summer camp, regional day camps, speech therapy, and creative arts programming, SAY builds a community of acceptance, friendship, and encouragement where young people who stutter can develop the confidence and communication skills they need to thrive.

How You Can Help:

be kind . be grace . be there for one another 


Brushing & Braiding Bonds of Love

Brushing & Braiding Bonds of Love

Las Vegas Nurse Brushes and Braids Patients’ Hair on Her Days Off: ‘It’s That Connection’

By Abigail Adams / People

One Las Vegas ER nurse is helping care for hospital patients both on and off the clock.

Brooke Johns, a nurse for 2½ years, spends her days off at Southern Hills Hospital, where she volunteers to pamper patients.

“There’s something therapeutic about the human touch, as well,” Johns told the news station in a profile on the healthcare hero. “Human talking, human touching, it’s that connection that we’re all hard-wired for.”

During her visits, Johns will brush or braid the hair of any patients requesting the service. She is hopeful her kindness can provide a spark for those seeking a human connection while hospitalized.

Johns began tending to patients’ appearance five months ago after a friend ran into a problem while at the hospital battling an illness.

“Her hair was very snarled, she was too weak to brush it out herself and it was something she was very worried about,” she told KNTV. “So, one of the times I was up there I was able to brush out her hair and braid it and just talk with her.”

When she finally left her friend’s room, Johns said the patient “was a different person.”

Johns’ kindness has touched more than one heart. Sierra Stein, a former patient of the young nurse, credits her efforts for getting admitted to the hospital for proper care and treatment.

“COVID is going around and there’s a lot of isolation,” Stein noted. “You can’t have visitors or someone to come in with you or hold your hand and to have someone just to be able to braid your hair makes you feel like you’re at home again.”

As more nurses follow in Johns’ footsteps, the nurse is working on a new idea. Once visitation restrictions are lifted, she plans to dress up as Elsa from Frozen and visit younger patients at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

“I think nurses, in general, get into this to help other people,” Johns said of her life’s calling.

Be Kind . Be Grace . Help Others



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