A dying Vietnam veteran was able to say goodbye to his beloved horses after the hospital brought them to him.
In a touching moment, captured on camera, Sugar and Ringo were able to nuzzle their owner, Roberto Gonzalez, before he passed away.
“He knew that the end was near, and he would not be going home again,” a spokeswoman for the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, where Gonzalez was a patient, told Inside Edition.
“He requested through his wife that he see his horses one last time.”
Gonzalez was one of the hospital’s first patients after it opened in 1973.
“He was drafted in 1970 [for] the Vietnam War. After four months in the country, he was wounded in action. He was paralyzed as the result of those wounds,” the spokeswoman said.
Despite his injuries, Gonzalez continued to pursue his passions including ranching and hunting. The veteran trained and raced horses for decades and was the only paralyzed horse trainer in Texas.
“While he was in the hospital he ended up with a wound in his back and initially that was why we were here to treat his wound,” his wife, Rosario, told News4SA.
“But he also had liver problems and then his kidneys started to shut down.”
As his health declined, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to ride again. That wouldn’t stop him from seeing Sugar and Ringo again, though.
The family requested that the horses be brought to him instead and the administration complied. Gonzalez was taken outside in his hospital bed where the animals met him.
Rosario watched the tear-jerking goodbye. When the horses approached him, “he actually opened his eyes,” she said. “They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him.”
The family was extremely grateful to the hospital for making the veteran’s dying wish come true. Rosario wrote on the hospital’s Facebook page to say thank you.
“A heartfelt thank you, to all at Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital. A special thank you to the spinal cord staff, all of you became a part of our family,” she wrote.
“The care you have been giving my husband and to me, goes above and beyond. You are our angels God Bless you all.”
Rosario hopes that their story gives other patient’s families hope, too. “Something like this can become a reality for them also,” she said.
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