James Wathen and Bubba are both doing better after the visits.
An elderly man who had stopped eating has had a new lease of life after staff secretly brought in his dog to visit him in hospital.
James Wathen was so frail he was barely able to speak and had to whisper to a care worker that he missed his dog, a one-eyed chihuahua.
The 73-year-old had not seen Bubba since paramedics brought him to the hospital weeks before.
Despite hospital rules staff tracked down the dog to a local animal shelter, the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, where staff revealed that the little dog had also stopped eating – at almost exactly same time as his owner.
The first time staff brought the pair back together they were shocked at the change in both patients.
Mary-Ann Smyth at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter said Bubba knew who we was going to meet as they took him into the hospital:
He was so sad at first. We had him wrapped in a baby blanket 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.
Bubba and his owner have made a ‘tremendous improvement’ since the visits began.
Bubba has now visited his master several times in hospital and they have both made a “tremendous improvement”.
“He’s done a complete turnaround. He’s speaking, he’s sitting up, he’s eating. He doesn’t look like the same guy,” Smyth NBC, “and the dog is eating and doing better now, too.”
Ms Smyth said efforts have now started to ensure Bubba and James can have regular visits.