Rescue dog becomes cancer patient’s compaion

GREENFIELD — Seeing Dave Renn snuggled up to Jordan, a year-old rescue dog that clearly adores her master, it’s hard to tell who rescued whom.

Jordan, a Yorkie Maltese mix, came to the Renn family after a streak of rotten luck.

Last July, on Renn’s 73rd birthday, the Greenfield man was diagnosed with cancer. Three days later, the eldest of his two dogs died — followed a month later by the younger.

Renn had just loved those dogs, his wife, Tina, said, and now, he faced cancer — carcinoma of the stomach — without a furry friend to ease the journey.

And so, they began their search for a new dog to join their family. They’d nearly given up when one of Tina Renn’s coworkers pointed out Jordan, eagerly awaiting adoption in an ad for the Southside Animal Shelter.

“Meet Jordan!” the enthusiastic Facebook post read. “…Her favorite place to nap is on the back of the couch!”

The pup loved kids, did well with other animals — just needed someone to open their forever home.

“I went up and put in for her on a Monday,” Renn said. “She’s been with me ever since.”

Renn and Jordan have been inseparable since the day they met. She accompanies him to services at Brandywine Community Church, to visit his wife’s office and even to his radiation appointments at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, he said.

Renn has registered Jordan as an emotional support dog, which allows him to keep his pooch alongside him at all times.

He was particularly interested in the Air Carrier Access Act, which would allow Jordan to be in the cabin of the airplane with him on any trips — free of charge.

The registration required Renn to get a signed letter from his oncologist stating he needs her to cope with his condition, he said.

She’s been with him every step of the way.

At the hospital, Jordan likes to visit with all the people in the waiting room and often serves as an ice-breaker for chats with other patients, Renn said.

He’s had only one complaint — a fellow radiation patient came in to see Jordan, but Renn hadn’t brought her.

Renn recently completed radiation treatments, and nurses and the staff at St. Vincent presented the pair with a small bag of gifts and treats.

Renn feels grateful for the circumstances that led to him finding Jordan.

“I really think she’s a gift from God,” he said. “Just to find her was something else, and for her to be so good is totally amazing.”

Tina Renn said the difference in her husband since adopting Jordan has been remarkable — he gets up earlier, is more active and is just happier.

“She makes him feel good,” she said. “When they’re out and about, she starts a lot of conversations.”

Renn retired about six years ago from his job as a manager of a retail store, he said, and he and his wife often travel. He’s taken steps to ensure Jordan can go anywhere they do.

He said being separated from his dog is painful for both of them — she cries like “she’s being stabbed in the heart,” he said.

Renn said though he doesn’t know who relinquished Jordan to the Southside Animal Shelter or the circumstances behind that decision, he’s still grateful.

“I just want to thank them for bringing such a wonderful dog into the world,” he said.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or