Dogs truly are man’s best friend. They are the perfect pet, a loyal companion who can keep you company and comfort you when times get tough.
And for one man, his beloved dog was there when he needed it most: at his deathbed. It’s a sad story, but one that ultimately shows the beautiful bond that exists between people and their pets.
John Vincent, a veteran Marine who served in Vietnam, is facing the end of his life. The 69-year-old man was admitted to hospice care at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Sadly, this also meant parting ways with his beloved dog, Patch, a 5-year-old Yorkshire terrier. Since he had no family in the area, he turned the dog over to Albuquerque Animal Welfare.
John is likely in his final days, so Amy Neal, a hospice social worker, asked if he had any final requests.
For John, the choice was simple: he just wanted to see his dog one more time.
Moved by his last wish, the workers decided to make it come true, organizing a beautiful final reunion between the man and his dog.
“I asked him if that would be something meaningful to him,” Amy Neal told the Albuquerque Journal. “And he joined very quickly.”
“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely’, and let’s do everything we can to get it done,” said Danny Nevarez, director of Animal Welfare. “It was as simple as bringing Patch here.”
Members of the Albuquerque Animal Welfare team took Patch to the hospice. John was deeply moved to see his old friend again:
“Yeah, that’s me, that’s dad,” Vincent told Patch. “Are you so happy to see me? I’m so happy to see you.”
Patch was reportedly quiet during the ride, but became emotional as they approached the hospital.
“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevares told the Journal. “As if he had that anticipation.”
Vincent adopted Patch when a neighbor had a litter of puppies. He named the dog after its small patch of white fur, which matched the single patch of white fur on John’s chin.
“We were the patch brothers,” Vincent said. He says that he also liked that Patch was the youngest of the litter, so he could take him for rides on his motorcycle.
It was an emotional reunion between two old friends. Sadly, it’s likely to be the final goodbye for him.
Still, it’s nice that they were able to make the reunion possible, giving the vet a bit of joy in his final moments.
“It was such a heartwarming moment!” Albuquerque Animal Welfare wrote on Facebook. “They were so happy to see each other and say goodbye.”
“It was an honor to make this last wish of the veterans come true.”
And if there’s a silver lining, it’s that Patch will continue to be well cared for when his owner is gone.
He has returned to the animal shelter where he is looking for a new home, and Animal Welfare says they have an interested adopter lined up.
But of course, part of his heart will always be with John.