Kim Still has a new best friend after losing one of her terminally ill patients. The Georgia nurse decided to adopt the patient’s dog after their family surrendered the pet to a local animal shelter.
But Still couldn’t bear the thought of Jax, a chihuahua mix, being abandoned after losing his owner. She spent a lot of time caring for and bonding with the patient before he eventually passed away. Her decision to adopt Jax has changed her life in so many ways.
“I could have never guessed the connection that you develop with some people when you take care of them,” Still told reporters. “They just totally changed my life.”
She says she felt an instant connection with the patient when they first met at Northside Hospital Gwinnett. The patient was suffering from a terminal illness and told Still that she was worried about what would happen to her dog if she were to pass away.
“[She] didn’t have any kids, she didn’t have any family close by. So, all she really had was this dog,” Still said.
After the patient passed away, the family told Still that they were planning to surrender the dog to a local shelter.
“I was very 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,” Still said of her reaction to the news.
She went down to the shelter to adopt Jax as soon as she could.
“I was like, I am never going to get rid of him,” she said. “He was so sweet; he is one of the most loving dogs ever.”
When her colleagues heard the news, they decided to nominate her for the DAISY Award, which recognizes nurses who go above and beyond for their patients.
“Being there, people need to feel heard, and they need to feel like someone cares about them,” Still said after adopting Jax.
Her patient would be thrilled to know that her dog is in good hands. Still already had one dog when she adopted Jax, but the more the merrier.