Friends of the late Jessie Brothers say they're working on arrangements for the adoption of his beloved Jack Russell terrier, Nubbin.
The little dog has been in the care of Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control since Brothers' death this week at age 66.
Betty Hoopes of Lexington, one of many who had helped Brothers during the past 21⁄2 years, said plans would be contingent on Brothers' three children agreeing to put Nubbin up for adoption.
If that happens, Hoopes said, she and other friends of Brothers would find a person to adopt Nubbin.
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"The Humane Society normally holds dogs for 10 days, but in this instance they said they would work with us because the children are all from out of town," Hoopes said Wednesday. "I feel like we need to find him a special home.
"Nubbin loves attention, and Jessie gave him a lot of attention. I don't know how he would be around children, because he's never been around children. So, he probably needs a one-owner home, like he had with Jessie."
Brothers and his dog were inseparable until November 2012, when Nubbin suffered a severely broken leg. The dog needed emergency surgery that Brothers, a retired laborer living on Social Security and disability, couldn't afford.
Fortunately, two Lexington firefighters put up the money for the operation. A newspaper account of the story prompted many other people around Lexington to come forward with donations of money, food and other assistance. They even arranged for Brothers to buy a Habitat For Humanity house, where he was living with Nubbin when he died.
Brothers was born in Lexington, and grew up in hardscrabble circumstances in a family of 14 children, his sister, Amy Crawford, said Wednesday. Crawford said Brothers never finished school, could not read and write, and basically supported himself doing farm work.
Crawford said she lost track of her brother around 2001, and did not know where he was until she read a newspaper story about him and Nubbin two years ago. The two reconnected after that, she said.
"He loved that dog more than anything," Crawford said.
Betty Hoopes said she also learned about Brothers through a newspaper story. She said she was so touched by his situation that she felt compelled to help, as did many others.
Habitat For Humanity, Lexington's Catholic Action Center, and Central Bank worked together to make it possible for Brothers to buy a new home. Some people donated interior paint for the house; others provided a chain-link fence for the yard; an attorney did free legal work; a printing company made up 200 thank-you cards with Nubbin's picture that were mailed to those who sent in donations. Still others became care-givers for Brothers, who had many medical needs himself.
They also got some money together to provide a small motor scooter so that Brothers could get around town, Hoopes said.
"I think it made Jessie really happy," she said Wednesday. "So many people from different walks of life did so much. All of them have been blessed in their own lives, and they wanted to give to someone who needed help.
"It's just a real sweet story, and I think it's a real compliment to our city for the people of Lexington to be so generous," Hoopes said.
Now, she said, the focus will be on placing Nubbin in a new home.