Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Tale of Two Nubbins

If it were a movie, you wouldn’t believe it. This local news story is as uplifting and melodramatic as any Hallmark Hall of Fame program. And it all started with a feisty little dog named Nubbin.

The first half of the tale started on November 28, when Nubbin chased a groundhog and ended up caught in a fence. Nubbin is the only companion of Jessie Brothers, an elderly man who survives on disability with a host of health challenges while residing in a house he may soon lose. According to a neighbor, Brothers has no family (and, may I add, no perceived purpose in life) other than Nubbin.

Somehow Brothers managed to get his Jack Russell to a nearby clinic, where a stark diagnosis would change his life: Nubbin’s leg, broken in three places, would require complicated and extremely expensive surgery. If Brothers couldn’t afford it (and we already know he couldn’t), the only other alternative was to euthanize little Nubbin.

“My dog, my dog,” Brothers moaned as he crumpled in grief to the floor. A 911 call was placed and firemen (as the first responders) arrived on the scene. When one of them, Anthony Johnson, realized the tragedy that had prompted this emergency, he made the unusual choice of getting more deeply involved.

Johnson couldn’t begin to take on all of Brothers’ problems, but he could spare Nubbin’s life by paying for the surgery, and he knew just who to turn to for the best medical care—a veterinarian he’d met during a fire inspection. The vet agreed to take Nubbin’s case as part of an instructional component of his vet students’ classwork. And when an employee of the vet clinic recounted this story to her father, a retired fireman, he offered to pay for half of Nubbin’s medical care.

While Nubbin underwent surgery, Brothers was recovering at the aptly named Good Samaritan Hospital. His neighbor, the one mentioned earlier, picked him up from Good Samaritan and vowed to help him care for Nubbin during the dog’s crucial recuperation period. (If Nubbin’s leg doesn’t heal properly, he might need it amputated.) After surgery, the clinic staff began worrying about Nubbin, though: He seemed depressed, which could impede his healing. But as soon as the pooch caught sight of Brothers, Nubbin regained his vigor. Fireman Anthony Johnson stood by to witness the heartwarming reunion, and gratitude flowed in all directions.

End of story?

Not by a long shot. Across the country in Oklahoma was a woman who had a dream.

On December 1, Carla Kinnard dreamed that she and her husband, Jessie Kinnard, had at last found the biological father he’d spent years searching for online. Thinking the dream might be significant, Carla took one more stab at trying to find Jessie’s father, whom he hadn’t seen since he was a child—a child nicknamed “Nubbin.”

You see where this is going, don’t you? Carla found the news article about Nubbin the dog. Immediately, the cast of characters expanded to include some long-lost and unknown siblings; the plot thickened to reveal a tragic past; the string of coincidences twisted into a brief time years ago when the two Jessies, father and son, actually lived within two blocks of one another. And a reunion of epic proportions was in the making.

But the story still isn’t over. Many questions are yet to be answered: Will Nubbin’s leg have to be amputated? Will the siblings accept one another? Will the old man lose his home?

Time will tell. But no matter how it unfolds, the bond between Nubbin and his companion certainly sparked the compassion of a lot of people and pulled them together, if only for a short time. If not for one little dog, one lonely old man may never have stumbled upon the happiness he experienced when his first Nubbin returned home.

[Photos by Charles Bertram.]


Anonymous said...

such a wonderful turn out so glad

C. J. Jackson said...

Absolutely! What's more, readers of the original news article donated money to Nubbin's cause as well. I would guess that no matter what misfortunes befall Mr. Brothers next, he will recall this warm show of support and concern from strangers and it will help him shoulder on.

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