Dying man makes ‘complete turnaround’ after hospital reunion with lost dog

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CORBIN, Ky. — A 73-year-old man in a Kentucky hospital had stopped eating, and he told a health car worker that he missed his dog, a one-eyed Chihuahua he hadn’t seen since paramedics brought him to the hospital weeks earlier.

That’s when Baptist Health Corbin bent the rules for the man — to some amazing results, according to Today.

Nurses tracked down James Wathen’s dog, Bubba, in the hopes a reunion would help him in his deteriorating state, even though the hospital rules say no pets are allowed.

Bubba was found through the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, which had placed the dog with a foster family. Bubba also had gotten sick.

“The dog quit eating a week ago, which is very strange,” Mary-Ann Smyth, president of the nonprofit facility, told Today. “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.”

A reunion was planned for Oct. 11 at the hospital. Smyth said the dog seemed sad when being brought to the hospital, but the little guy perked up about 20 steps from Wathen’s room.

Wathen began to cry as soon as he saw his pet, WKYT reported.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Chief Nursing Officer Kimberly Probus said.

Bubba returned Oct. 14 and by then, the dog and Wathen had improved.

“[The hospital staff] didn’t think James was going to make it,” Smyth told Today. “He’s done a complete turnaround. He’s speaking, he’s sitting up, he’s eating. He doesn’t look like the same guy. And the dog is eating and doing better now, too.”

WKYT said it will implement a pet visitation policy for similar situations.

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