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Tag: separation

The healing powers of a one-eyed Chihuahua

It may only be a short-term one, but a dying man in a Kentucky hospital seemed to have a new lease on life after a visit from his Chihuahua.

And ditto for the dog.

James Wathen, after a month in the hospital, wasn’t doing well, and had stopped eating, hospital workers say.

Social workers at Baptist Health Corbin, trying to lift his spirits, talked to him and learned he was troubled by the loss of his dog, Bubba, who had been picked up by animal control after he was hospitalized.

Between hospital staff and workers at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, Bubba was tracked down at a foster home, and — despite rules forbidding dog visits — one was arranged at the hospital earlier this month, WKYT reported.

“One of our social workers realized it was mourning the loss of the dog that was making our patient even worse and emotionally unhealthy. We pulled out all the stops and found the dog,” Kimberly Probus, chief nursing officer at Baptist Health Corbin, said.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Probus said of the reunion.

Wathen, 73, began to cry when he saw his elderly, one-eyed Chihuahua, and then his mood began to brighten.

Bubba’s condition — he’d been emotionally distraught since their separation, and had stopped eating, too — also seemed to improve.

Hospital officials say they plan to have Bubba visit Wathen regularly, and — based on what they saw — they are also looking at implementing a new pet visitation policy.

“To see James and Bubba get back together. It was heartwarming. It’s why we do what we do,” Mary-Ann Smyth, Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter President, said.

Smyth said Bubba seemed sad on the way to the hospital, but perked up about 20 steps from Wathen’s room.

“The dog quit eating a week ago, which is very strange,” she 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.”

By the time Bubba returned for a second visit on Oct. 14, there were visible changes in both Wathen and Bubba’s conditions.

“He’s done a complete turnaround, Smyth said of Wathen. “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.”

Divorce insurance (for dogs)

Don’t look now, old chap, but England seems to be getting quite ahead of us in terms of progressive dog thinking.

For starters, they’re taking a hard and long-needed look at the questionable practices some breeders of show dogs use to meet arbitrary “ideals” of appearance. The Kennel Club and its big show, Crufts, have been put under the spotlight for breeding animals in a way that compromises not just the health of individual animals, but the future health of entire breeds.

Now comes news that Sainsbury’s, a renowned bank and insurance company, is offering insurance for dogs affected by what it calls “Master Separation Syndrome” — a behavioral disorder brought on by a pet’s owners splitting up.

Sainsbury’s estimates that over 60,000 cats and dogs in Britain could suffer from “Master Separation Syndrome,” and it offers a policy that pays benefits of up to £1,000 per condition for treatments and £250 a year for damage brought on by such behavioral problems.

Over the past year, Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance says it has seen a 28% increase in the number of claims linked to behavioral problems, and the company believes that Master Separation Syndrome is one of the reasons. 

“If a couple separating have pets, their animals can also suffer from the anguish and stress caused by the breakdown,” said Neal Devine, Sainsbury’s pet insurance manager. “Cats and dogs can be very susceptible to their owner’s feelings and if they sense they are unhappy they can easily become agitated and depressed.”

“Also,” he adds, “if you suddenly become reliant on one income to look after a pet the need for pet insurance will usually be greater as it will help you to cope more easily with any large unexpected vet bills.”