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

Posted at 1:30 PM, Sep 20, 2021

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — A Las Vegas boy and his new puppy have something special in common. They were each born with a small ear.

Nemo, the pup, was named after Disney and Pixar's “Finding Nemo.” The young clownfish in the film is a little different, and so is the adorable pup.

While Nemo, the fish, had a lucky fin, Nemo, the dog, has a tiny ear, making her the perfect match for 8-year-old Maxson Hess.

The surprise visit happened Friday morning as Maxson was headed to breakfast with his family. Seeing people lined outside of the Hess household came as a surprise to young Maxson, especially when he spotted Nemo.

“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,” said Maxson.

Maxson and Nemo were both born with Microtia, which means "small ear."

4E Healing Hearts, a nonprofit that connects service animals with their forever homes, had more than 100 applications for Nemo, most of them from parents of a child with Microtia.

The owner and founder of 4E Healing Hearts, Jeanette Forrey, says it warms her heart to be able to connect pets with their new families in such a unique way.

“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, " said Forrey.

"Now, there’s two of them that share a special uniqueness. I think when you have a best friend that is just as unique and special as you are, it makes the world a brighter place."

Maxson’s mom, Jennifer Hess, who was in on the surprise, says she's been planning to get a dog for her three boys, and when she and her family saw Nemo, their heart was set on her!

“We fell in love with her immediately and we applied, but then we thought, 'Ok, we know a lot of people probably applied, so let’s not get our hopes up too much.' We just kind of were prepping for a dog and hoping, maybe if we put that in the universe, we would get her,“ said Hess.

Dad, Maxson, and his two younger brothers were shocked that they were chosen to be Nemo's forever home. Although the kids love the movie “Finding Nemo,” the Hess family plans to change Nemos' name to either Honey or Daisy.

They say it’s because they don’t want her name, or her ear, to define her.

Learn more about the nonprofit 4E Healing Hearts at

This story was originally published by Zora Asberry at KTNV.