Extending care to man’s best friend

August 11, 2023
Jack the dog

It had been a busy day on Penrose Hospital’s Cardiovascular Unit, when Shannon Eastman, RN, overheard fellow caregivers discussing one of their patients and deliberating whether to go out and check on the patient’s dog. The man had been admitted for care 27 hours prior, and had just informed caregivers that his daschshund, Jack, was outside in his van.

“A few of the CNAs were worried about their safety, since they didn’t know anything about the dog,” Shannon explained. “So, I offered to go out and check on him.”

Shannon asked the patient for permission to visit his dog. The man agreed and gave her the keys to his van. She brought the senior dachshund water and gave him some of the turkey from her turkey sandwich.

“It took about 20 minutes for the dog to trust me,” Shannon said. “Finally, I was able to get a leash on him and take him out of the van so he could go to the bathroom.”

The patient had undergone an amputation during his stay at Penrose, and his road to recovery could take months. The caregivers on the unit decided to call the local Human Society and see if they would care for the dog while the man continued to recover. They learned that the Humane Society could only care for the canine for 6 days, after which he would be put up for adoption or worst-case scenario - euthanized.

“The dog was this man’s only friend in the whole world, and I couldn’t let that happen,” Shannon explained.

She called her husband and asked if it would be OK if she brought Jack home, and he agreed.

“I volunteered to take the gentleman’s dog home,” Shannon said. “I told the patient I would care for Jack for however long he needed.”

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Before taking Jack to her home, she took him up to the patient for a quick visit.

It's been two months since Shannon brought the 10-year-old pup home. During this time, Jack’s owner has been discharged from Penrose and completed rehab. He is now receiving respite care. Shannon keeps the owner updated weekly and sends him photos of Jack on a regular basis.

Jack has made himself at home and happily plays with Shannon’s two huskies. He even has his own bed.

“He thinks he is a husky now and is so spoiled,” Shannon said. “He is such a good boy.”

Please join us in recognizing Shannon, who has gone above and beyond to provide comfort to a patient by caring for his best friend.

Breakout Box:

As part of our work to create a consistent Centura Experience across our connected ecosystem, we celebrate and share the Incredible Moments that happen each day as we carry out our shared mission.

Incredible Moments are meaningful experiences that are:

  • Personal
  • Memorable
  • Unexpected
  • Cannot be measured
  • Unique to the individual

These experiences stand out in our memory because they are grand in scale or rich in emotion.