Family Adopts Puppy With ‘Small Ear’ For Boy With Same Condition

For 8-year-old Maxson Hess, it was a typical Friday morning as his family got ready to go to breakfast.

Then, as the family left their Las Vegas home, he was taken by surprise — a crowd of people was waiting outside, and with them was a familiar face!

“I just walked out and I saw them, and then I saw Nemo, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh we got Nemo!’ It was such a surprise for me, such a surprise,” Maxson later told KTNV 13.


Maxson and his family had applied to adopt Nemo, a Goldendoodle puppy, weeks earlier. It was at this moment that the boy met his dog for the first time. Although he’d never seen her before, they already had a special bond.

Like Maxson, Nemo has a condition called microtia. Microtia, which means “little ear,” is a birth defect resulting in an underdeveloped ear and ear canal. It’s just one of the many things that make her unique, and a perfect fit for the Hess family.

Photo: Unsplash/En Vie

Nemo’s name is a reference to Disney’s Finding Nemo and the titular fish who has a “lucky fin.” Just like Nemo, she doesn’t let her condition stop her from exploring and celebrating life!

The adoption was facilitated by 4E Healing Hearts, a non-profit that “provides trained service dogs, facility dogs, therapy dogs as well as untrained puppies to deserving people.”


More than 100 families applied for Nemo; most of them also had a family member with microtia.

“He’s a very special boy who now has a puppy that is just as special as he is. Neither of them let this define them, instead, they celebrate their uniqueness,” explained Jeanette Forrey, the owner and founder of 4E Healing Hearts. She was there at the family’s home when the two met, and knew that Nemo had found her forever home.


While the family loves Finding Nemo, they plan to rename the pup to either Honey or Daisy, explaining that they don’t want one of her features to define her.

Still, the fact that she shares such a unique trait with Maxson means a lot to the family, and they are excited to welcome her to the pack.

Watch more of Nemo and Maxson’s story below:

Las Vegas boy adopts a puppy 'Nemo' who shares his 'small ear'

One Las Vegas boy, Maxson, got the surprise of a lifetime with a new puppy named Nemo from the 4E Healing Hearts nonprofit, which connects service dogs with their forever homes. Maxson and Nemo share the same "small right ear." Zora Asberry TV has the story:

Posted by KTNV Channel 13 Action News on Friday, September 17, 2021

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