Heartwarming Healing: 8-Year-Old Chihuahua Brings Joy and Smiles to a Hospital Patient’s Face

8-Year-Old Chihuahua Puts A Smile Back On A Hospital Patient’s Face

Our canines are our family members and we always want to be together. Nothing would ever be the same without our best friends.

James Wathen had no other choice but to be separated from his dear and loyal dog, Bubba. Their abrupt separation took a toll on both of them, but their love and their strong bond led them into each other’s arms again.

Here is their story.


James Wathen has always been attached to Bubba, his eight-year-old, one-eyed Chihuahua. He never wished to be separated from him. It was Bubba who helped him overcome the grief he felt after his dear Pomenarian crossed the rainbow bridge.

Dennis Elswick was raised by Wathen and he knew that Wathen needed another furry friend, so he gave him his wife’s dog, Bubba. When Bubba moved out, Elswick’s other dog, Ozzy, felt sad and lost. He missed his best friend.

After Wathen found out how heartbroken Ozzy felt, he accepted Diane’s suggestion to take Ozzy to his home. The two pooches were overjoyed to be reunited. Their faces radiated with joy.

The three of them lived together in Wathen’s home.

Unfortunately, 2014 was a difficult year for both Wathen and Bubba. In March, they had to say goodbye to Ozzy, who went to heaven. Losing him made them even closer because now, they only had each other.

In mid-September of 2014, Wathen found out he was terminally ill and he was admitted to Baptist Health Corbin, in Corbin, Kentucky.

Wishing To See His Best Friend

While he was at the hospital, he was often thinking about his cherished dog, Bubba. He didn’t know where he was and he missed him very much. There was nothing that would make him happier than seeing his dog. 

The moment the hospital staff heard that, they were on a mission to find his dog. They wanted to make him feel better. Wathen’s condition got worse. He stopped eating and he couldn’t speak above a whisper.

After they made some inquiries, they succeeded in tracking down Bubba. He was placed at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter and he was now in foster care.

The rescue center contacted Bubba’s foster family who immediately agreed to let Bubba visit his owner. Bubba was also going through a difficult time. He missed his owner and he stopped eating, too.


The day of Wathen and Bubba’s reunion finally came. Bubba was brought to the hospital. The nurses wrapped him in a baby blanket. He looked very sad and he was shivering.

“The minute we got about 20 steps from this guy’s room… his little head went up. His eyes got real bright and he was like a different dog,” shelter president Mary Ann Smyth said.

Both Wathen and Bubba were brought to life, and they were no longer sad.

A couple of days later, Bubba visited his owner again. The hospital staff was happy to see Wathen sitting in his bed after a long time.

“When Bubba was brought to James, he began to weep, and then Bubba began to snuggle James, and it makes you realize that animals are not just pets, but loved ones,” Deanna Myers, Director of the Knox Whitley Animal Shelter, wrote on Facebook.

Both Wathen and Bubba were so happy to see each other. Bubba was carried to his owner’s hospital bed. His tail wagged as he licked his face, and Wathen stroked him and played with him.

His beloved dog’s second visit made him feel content and he started eating and talking. Loyal Bubba continued visiting his loving human until he passed away in November 2014.

After receiving the sad news about Wathen’s passing, the Elswicks took their dear Bubba with them to Florida. They were happy that their precious Chihuahua brought so much joy to his beloved owner.

It was time for Bubba to start a new life with his forever family… a life filled with happiness that he deserved.

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