Travel Nurse Fosters Homeless Patient’s Dog "Charlie"
Nurses are known for going above and beyond to take care of their patients, but Skie Moore, BSN/RN, a travel ER nurse from Fort Worth, TX, may not have been expecting that her above-the-duty call would be so furry…or cute.
It all started when Moore—who has been a dog lover her entire life—had a patient who spent the day in the ER and happened to have their dog, Charlie, with them. When the patient was told they needed to be admitted, the first question they asked was: “Can Charlie stay with me?”
Unfortunately, the patient was told no, which prompted them to decide that they were going to leave against medical advice because they were homeless and had no other option for Charlie. And that’s when Moore decided to step in. “Knowing this patient needed to stay in the hospital, I told them I would be happy to take Charlie home and foster him until they were in a good place to take him back,” she tells Nurse.org. “Charlie came home with me that night and has been with me since.”
Taking Care of Charlie
Moore explains that she is currently working at a public hospital that cares for a large majority of people who are homeless. Many patients come into the ER with their dogs due to not having any other options for pet care. “When the patient stated they were going to leave because Charlie mattered more, I knew there was no option but to offer to take him in,” she says.
The love many individuals who are homeless have for their pets is something Moore says she can relate to. “I grew up in a house full of animals and I have managed to always have a house full of animals when I moved out,” she explains. “I rescued three dogs during my first year of college and 10 years later, despite college, multiple jobs, and multiple homes, I still have those three dogs (plus an extra addition). I have fostered numerous dogs throughout the years and am sure that I will continue to do so. I am a firm believer that humans don't deserve dogs, they are too good to us!”
Moore admits that Charlie needed a little adjusting at the beginning of their time together. “He is used to being near a human 24/7 so he does not like to be alone,” she explains. “We have been working on kennel training that is slowly getting better.”
Additionally, because Charlie is an unneutered male dog, he has enjoyed marking his territory, well, everywhere. “We have been working on potty training which is also slowly improving,” Moore adds. “Either way, no challenge is too big for us and we will work around it!”
Moore has been sharing her adventures with Charlie on her social media and many have enjoyed getting to know the pup. In fact, last week Charlie had a health checkup, receiving all of his shots and downright smiling for the camera. Because Moore has other dogs, she made sure to keep all of the pups separated until Charlie had his shots caught up. He also went to the groomer's and received a much-deserved bath/haircut. “He looks so handsome!” Moore gushes.
With his owner's permission, Moore relates that Charlie is also getting neutered this week. “He is actually a very healthy dog and his owner has done a fantastic job taking care of him the best they can,” she says.
As they have spent time together, Moore has also enjoyed getting to know Charlie and his personality. “Charlie is such a funny dog,” she explains. “I am used to owning bigger breeds who are not as energetic as Charlie is. He always has to be near me and his favorite spot to sleep is on the ottoman in my living room. Unlike my dogs, Charlie would prefer to stay outside than inside. His favorite treat is wet dog food! He is definitely getting spoiled at my house.”
And for now, it looks like Charlie might enjoy getting spoiled just a bit longer. Moore explains that while Charlie’s human has since been discharged, they still need a little bit more time before they can be reunited. Moore explains that they are trying to get a vehicle for air conditioning during the summer heat and asked that Moore keep Charlie until then. However, it’s clear that Charlie’s human misses him very much.
“They call every few days to check on Charlie so I know they will take him back when their situation is better,” says Moore. “I actually met up with them a few days ago so they could see Charlie and they were both so happy.”
Moore is looking forward to Charlie and his human reuniting, but she also tells Nurse.org that if for some reason, Charlie’s owner cannot take Charlie back in, she is committed to offering a long-term solution and would happily keep him permanently. “Charlie is so well-behaved and full of love,” she states simply.
Moore has been sharing “pupdates” about Charlie and she has seen many fellow nurses become engaged in their journey. “I think this post resonated with so many other nurses because they understand how difficult this problem is to watch,” she notes. “We often see individuals who are homeless who leave AMA because they are unable to keep their animal with them. In special circumstances, some patients can keep their animals and the nurses are the ones taking them outside and making sure they eat. We all hurt for our patients so of course, we will do what we can to make them happier, and having a pet included is just an added plus.”
She also adds that seeing how many other nurses resonated with her post warmed her heart. She pointed out that many people tend to have unkind opinions of individuals who are experiencing homelessness having pets. They might express comments such as how it’s “selfish” of the human or feeling “bad” for the animal.
“All humans need companions, regardless of your socioeconomic status,” says Moore. “Nurses witness first-hand how above and beyond individuals who are homeless for their animals, and it is amazing. I try to always carry cat/dog food and some collapsible bowls in my trunk to give any time I see individuals who are experiencing homelessness with animals. Instead of judging and making preconceived notions, we should be loving this population and helping in any way we can.”
And in the meantime, there is no reason to worry about Charlie, because he is doing just fine.
“He is the king of the house–what Charlie says, goes,” Moore laughs. “He loves to receive love, nap, and eat. He is such a happy dog and I absolutely adore him.”
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