When Derrick Stott was unexpectedly hospitalized, he didn’t not know who would care for his service dog, Keller. Thankfully, his counselor showed up in the right place at the right time and was able to help.”I texted him and I didn’t get a reply. I thought that was kind of odd because he’s very meticulous about things. He’s just really good about letting me know what’s going on,” said Michelle Hargis-Zuerlein, a mental health counselor with CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs in Nebraska.Hargis-Zuerlein says she was coming to pick up Stott, her client, for a support group session when she realized something was wrong. “I came upstairs to the inside door in the apartments and I can hear his dog, Keller, kind of crying,” said Hargis-Zuerlein. When she went inside, she found Stott on the floor. He had been lying there for seven hours. “My medical bracelet had cut into my wrist… I’d been laying there so long,” Stott said.Stott was taken to the hospital, where he spent two weeks recovering from a flu-related fever. During that time, Hargis-Zuerlein took in Keller and cared for her with her husband. She and the dog even made trips to the hospital when Stott started to improve.”Having her there for that time, snuggling with her, to give her up was really hard,” said Hargis-Zuerlein. “But I knew that Derrick loves her and she takes care of him and this is where she needed to be.”Keller is back home now with Stott but got to reunite with her temporary caretaker on Thursday. Now, the relationship between the two humans is closer than ever, thanks to one very lovable dog. “You know, she’s kind of my girl. And I’m not married, so she’s kind of my little honey. I don’t know what I’d do without her,” Stott said about his dog.

When Derrick Stott was unexpectedly hospitalized, he didn’t not know who would care for his service dog, Keller.

Thankfully, his counselor showed up in the right place at the right time and was able to help.

“I texted him and I didn’t get a reply. I thought that was kind of odd because he’s very meticulous about things. He’s just really good about letting me know what’s going on,” said Michelle Hargis-Zuerlein, a mental health counselor with CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs in Nebraska.

Hargis-Zuerlein says she was coming to pick up Stott, her client, for a support group session when she realized something was wrong.

“I came upstairs to the inside door in the apartments and I can hear his dog, Keller, kind of crying,” said Hargis-Zuerlein.

When she went inside, she found Stott on the floor. He had been lying there for seven hours.

“My medical bracelet had cut into my wrist… I’d been laying there so long,” Stott said.

Stott was taken to the hospital, where he spent two weeks recovering from a flu-related fever. During that time, Hargis-Zuerlein took in Keller and cared for her with her husband.

She and the dog even made trips to the hospital when Stott started to improve.

“Having her there for that time, snuggling with her, to give her up was really hard,” said Hargis-Zuerlein. “But I knew that Derrick loves her and she takes care of him and this is where she needed to be.”

Keller is back home now with Stott but got to reunite with her temporary caretaker on Thursday.

Now, the relationship between the two humans is closer than ever, thanks to one very lovable dog.

“You know, she’s kind of my girl. And I’m not married, so she’s kind of my little honey. I don’t know what I’d do without her,” Stott said about his dog.



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