James Wathen, a 73-year-old man from Kentucky, was hospitalized more than a month ago at Baptist Health Corbin. He stopped eating and his condition worsened. He told a care worker that he missed his one-eyed Chihuahua named Bubba, who was turned over to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter when James was hospitalized.
James was lonely and heartbroken, so the nurses at the hospital arranged for Bubba to visit even if it was against hospital rules, Today reports. To their surprise, Bubba has also fallen ill.
Mary-Ann Smythe, president of the animal shelter, said that Bubba stopped eating.
"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."
According to The Huffington Post, Bubba was brought to his owner, and the two were reunited at last. Smyth said that as soon as they were 20 steps away from James, Bubba's eyes brightened and his head went up. She said that the same happened to James during his 30-minute reunion with his pet.
"They didn't think James was going to make it. I was 10 feet from his bed and you could barely understand him because he was so hard to hear. The nurse had to lean up right against his face to hear what he was saying."
Bubba visited James again on Tuesday. James made a complete turnaround and started eating and speaking. Medical staff said that he didn't look like the same guy that they cared for before his reunion with Bubba. Smyth said that Bubba started eating as well.
James and Bubba's story just goes to show that pets can provide a healing power to their owners. In another Inquisitr article, a 76-year-old woman from Florida was kept alive by her two dogs, Higgins and Dodger. Judy fell in her kitchen, and wasn't found until two days later. Her two dogs stayed by her side and kept her warm throughout her ordeal.
Smythe hopes that James' relationship with Bubba will encourage others to adopt pets from shelters, and realize that pets are not property.
"I hope this story will show to people the tremendous difference that animals can make in people's lives. 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.'"