A terminally ill man’s health improved after a visit from his beloved pet dog.
James Wathen, 73, has been hospitalized with a terminal condition at Baptist Health Corbin in Kentucky for over a month.
Wathen’s health was deteriorating, and he had stopped eating.
When Wathen whispered to a nurse that he missed his one-eyed Chihuahua named Bubba, the hospital nurses decided to reunite Wathen with his cherished dog, reports ABC6.
The nurses’ search led them to Knox-Whitley animal shelter, where they were informed the dog had been placed with a foster family after Wathen was admitted to the hospital.
Wathen was not the only one missing his companion; Bubba had been showing signs of emotional grief too since their separation.
“The dog didn’t know where James was and James didn’t know where the dog was and believe it or not, they both stopped eating at about the same time,” said Mary-Ann Smythe, president of Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.
The nurses reunited Wathen with Bubba on October 11, and Wathen “perked up” and was “emotionally lifted” as he spent time with the dog.
"When Bubba was handed to James he started to cry and then Bubba started to snuggle James and it makes you realize that animals are not just pets they are loved ones," Deanna Myers, director of the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, wrote on her Facebook page.
Since the visit, Wathen’s health has improved and nurses say he is an entirely new person. He is speaking, eating and sitting up; things he was not doing prior to Bubba’s visit.
Bubba is also eating again.
Smythe hopes the relationship between Wathen and Bubba will encourage others to adopt pets from shelters, and realize pets are not property, reports Inquisitr.
“I hope this story will show to people the tremendous difference that animals can make in people’s lives,” Smythe said. “One of the biggest problems we face is the way some people think of animals. People just don’t see animals as creatures and beings, they see them as property. I hope people understand they’re not ‘its.’ They’re ‘beings.'”
The hospital has a no pet visitation policy, but after seeing the positive impact Bubba had on Wathen, the hospital is working on a way to allow patients regular visits with their pets.
Photo Source: ABC6/Facebook