Local nonprofit finds homes for pets and friends for sick kids

BOONE COUNTY, Ky. -- BestD the puppy loves romping around with her kids, Nico and Finn Kappen. He only got to play with Sophia, Finn's twin sister, for two weeks before she died of leukemia.

The golden retriever pup came to the Kappen family through Pets for Patients, an organization that fulfills wishes for the sick and provides rescue animals with "a seamless transition" to a new home, according to its Facebook page.

Greg Kappen, Sophia's dad, said the 6-year-old named her new puppy "Best Day Ever" -- shortened to BestD.

"She told me that she wanted a blond dog," he said. "When I see him, it reminds me that he did bring some smiles to Sophia."

"The program has been wonderful," said Amy Kappen, Sophia's mom.

Usually, animals come from shelters and rescues. BestD is an exception -- he came to the Kappens by way of a purebred golden retriever breeder in Liberty Township.

"I try to help people, and it just sounded like a wonderful chance to give a little girl some fond memories," said Laura Ellis, of Laurell Kennels. "I really feel that she got to live some extra days because of the puppy."

Carol Bonner, director of Pets for Patients, said Ellis' donation was a kind surprise.

"Laura gifted us this puppy; she didn't charge us anything at all for him," Bonner said. "It's just such a great gift from her heart. It's just really sweet."

Bonner started a GoFundMe page in December for Pets for Patients. So far, they've raised $150 towards their $10,000 goal.

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