- Cullman, Alabama

May 17, 2013

'Prissy' brings warmth happiness to man, wife

By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Bill Smith couldn’t agree more that a dog is man’s best friend, as he and his wife’s pet Chihuahua has given them a new kind of hope.

Seventy-four-year-old Doris Smith and her 78-year-old husband Bill had been married for 22 years and in 2009 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Doris said what  has given him a more positive outlook, and even more so kept him alive, was their dog, Prissy.

“Bill could care less about animals, he didn’t dislike them, but he just never really wanted them,” Doris said. “When we found our Prissy at the animal shelter in 2010, he just took to her.”

Doris said her mother passed away in 2003 and she also had a Chihuahua, often speaking very highly of the pet.

“That little dog stayed by her side, and even slept with her,” Doris said. “If she went somewhere, the dog followed her. She loved that Chihuahua.”

A year after her husband was diagnosed, Doris mentioned going into town and visiting the animal shelter. She said he told her they ‘weren’t going to get another pet,’ (having two Chihuahua’s die in the past). Even so, she encouraged her husband to go with her into the shelter and see the animals.

“We visited the shelter on my mother’s birthday, Aug.12, 2010, and when we saw the little Chihuahua in the cage, we had a connection with her, but especially Bill,” Doris said. “When I held Prissy, I felt like my mother sent us that dog, to help Bill get through everything.”

Doris said that in the last two years, her husband and Prissy have been inseparable. She encourages others, especially senior citizens, to get a pet from the Cullman animal shelter and rescue an animal. 

“It helps with the loneliness, having an animal,” Doris said. “I really believe finding Prissy at the animal shelter has helped keep Bill alive. I thank God for leading us to the shelter that day. After all this happened, I just wanted to do something nice for Bill, so I wanted to share this story. I also wanted to thank the animal shelter for all that they do.”

Doris said that the doctors still have not released Bill, but says that he is cancer-free as of now.

* Lauren Estes can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext 270 or