Texas Nurse Tirelessly Searches for Late Patient's Dog So She Can Give the Pet a New Home (Exclusive)

Dezorey Arocha spent 11 days searching for Bear Bear the dog, after learning her late patient left behind the pup without a new owner to care for him

<p>Courtesy SPCA of Texas</p> Dezorey Arocha with Bear Bear/Asher

Courtesy SPCA of Texas

Dezorey Arocha with Bear Bear/Asher

Bear Bear, the rescue pup, has lived many lives in under a year.

The SPCA of Texas pulled the pup from an animal hoarding case in Sept. 2023, helped him recover, and found him a home. Sadly, a little over six months later, Bear Bear found himself homeless and back at the SPCA of Texas once again after the sudden death of his 37-year-old owner.

Dezorey Arocha, a registered nurse at the Neuro ICU at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center, ensured the canine didn't stay in the shelter for long, adopting the pup at the end of May.

Arocha first learned about the dog after caring for the pet's late owner at the hospital. Bear Bear's first adopter arrived at Methodist Dallas in the early morning of May 19 after being found unconscious in their car with the dog. Sadly, the owner died shortly after reaching the hospital.

Later that same day, a detective arrived at the hospital and informed Arocha that the deceased had a pet dog, who was now in the shelter system because no one in the deceased's family could take over the care of the pet.

The detective didn't have any details on the dog, but Arocha still knew she wanted to give the pet a home.

Related: Rescue Dog So Emaciated That He Was 'Literally a Skeleton' Finds Home with a Vet Who Helped Him (Exclusive)

"I didn't know his name. I didn't know if he was a male or a female. I had no idea," Arocha explains to PEOPLE.

"All I could think of was how sad he must feel," Arocha says on why she was attracted to finding and adopting Bear Bear. "I don't know how long the owner had been unconscious in the car, and it just broke my heart. To think he went to the shelter, and then not knowing where he's going, where his owner is, or anything like that."

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After hearing about the dog, Arocha and another nurse began scouring local animal rescues, making calls, and sending emails in hopes of locating their late patient's pet. For 11 days, the two eagerly searched for the dog, even though they had almost no information to go.

Finally, on May 29, Arocha learned the dog she was searching for was named Bear Bear and soon located the pup on the SPCA of Texas' website.

<p>Courtesy SPCA of Texas</p> Bear Bear/Asher the rescue dog

Courtesy SPCA of Texas

Bear Bear/Asher the rescue dog

Thanks to his microchip, Bear Bear ended up back at the SPCA of Texas. When authorities initially found the dog with his unconscious owner, they brought the pooch to the Dallas Animal Shelter, the city's municipal shelter.

"Because he was microchipped, they knew that Bear Bear had come from us. And so they reached out to us," Chris Luna, the CEO and President of the SPCA of Texas, says of how Dallas Animal Shelter knew to contact them. "And we have a policy that no matter how crowded we are, if they're alumni, we take them back. And that's how Bear Bear came back to us for the second time."

When Arocha spotted Bear Bear on the shelter's website, she emailed them and explained the search that had led her there. The nurse got a response the next day, May 30, and set up a meet-and-greet with the pup later that afternoon.

"It was very relieving because another nurse I had been trying to figure out where he was for the last 11 days; it was relieving to know that we finally, finally found him," Arocha says.

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Things got even sweeter when Arocha met Bear Bear face to face.

"In the greeting room, he was sweet as pie. He was a very loving, gentle, yet excited, and very much a puppy. He's very cute, very playful," the nurse remembers.

After an hour of bonding with Bear Bear at the SPCA of Texas, "I was out of there with him," she adds about adopting the pup right after their first meeting.

"It just felt right. I don't know why I was so drawn to him," she adds.

Bear Bear now goes by Asher at his new home, which he shares with two female dogs who love having a brother.

"He's the leader. He is the quick one. He loves the girls. They play together constantly," Arocha says of how Asher is fitting in, adding, "For him not to be even a year, he's doing exceptionally well. I'm blessed and very fortunate to have him."

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Arocha hopes her efforts to find and adopt Asher inspire others to look for their perfect pets at animal shelters and rescues.

"It always breaks my heart that there are so many unhomed pets. Animals who don't have a loving family to take care of them and to grow with," she says. "So I hope there are thousands, if not millions, more adoptions after this story is out."

Luna says the SPCA of Texas always welcomes a rise in adoption rates and hopes microchipping rates go up, too, especially after animal lovers learn how a microchip helped Bear Bear/Asher.

"I think the other takeaway is the importance of microchipping pets. We were able to get Bear Bear back to us because of his microchip with our information," Luna says. Had there not been a microchip with Bear Bear's name and info, "this story never would've happened."

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