Hospital Allows Terminally Ill Patient’s Dog to Come for a Visit

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Hospitals usually don’t allow pets inside their walls, unless they are service dogs, but Baptist Hospital in Corbin, Ky., allowed Bubba, a house pet, to come visit his terminally ill owner, James Wathern, after the elderly man stopped eating.

Photo Credit: Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter
Photo Credit: Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter

Wathern has been at the hospital for over six weeks, and during all this time he has been away from his beloved, one-eyed Chihuahua. The pet was turned over to Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter (KWAS) and since then, Bubba has been living in a loving foster home.

Hospital social workers became worried for Wathern when he lost all interest in food and his emotional health declined drastically. Hospital workers asked the dying man if there was anything they could do for him, and as a dying wish, Wathern asked to see his dog one more time. What happened next was unexpected.

“When Bubba was handed to James he started to cry, and then Bubba started to snuggle James,” said Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.

The pet’s visit uplifted the dying man’s spirit so much that Wathern began eating and has regained some strength.

“[The emotional reunion] makes you realize that animals are not just pets they are loved ones,” said KWAS.

Baptist Hospital is considering revising their policy to allow visits from pets. Bubba and Wathern have many scheduled visits in their future.

Watch the emotional hospital reunion here.