John Vincent, a 69-year-old Vietnam vet from Albuquerque, NM, was recently admitted to hospice care to live out the rest of his life. And because he didn't have any family in the area, he was forced to surrender his beloved dog, Patch, to Albuquerque Animal Welfare. In an effort to make his remaining time more meaningful, the rescue organization fulfilled John's wish to see his Yorkie for one last time, and the photos will instantly bring tears to your eyes.
"Yesterday was a special day for a Veteran named John Vincent and his beloved dog Patch," the group wrote on its Facebook page. "John was admitted this week to the Hospice Center at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center . . . John may not have much time left said Amy Neal, a palliative care social worker, and he had only one request. Vincent wanted to see his dog one last time."
"Everyone jumped on it and was like, 'Tell us where to go and when to be there.'"
The employees at Albuquerque Animal Welfare went above and beyond to carry out John's last wish. "Yesterday we were able to make their final reunion happen." The organizations's director, Danny Nevarez, brought a team down to the Hospice Center so John could spend the day with Patch. "It was such a heart warming moment! They were so happy to see each other and to say their goodbyes," said the Facebook post. "It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true."
Judging by the pup's reaction, the volunteers clearly made the right decision. "It wasn't even a second thought," Danny told Today. "Everyone jumped on it and was like, 'Tell us where to go and when to be there.' As soon as we turned onto the street of the VA hospital, for whatever reason, Patch got up, put his paws up on the window, and just started whimpering — just started crying. It was just like he knew. He knew he was close to Mr. Vincent."
As for John? It was clear that he truly meant it when he said he wanted time with his pup. "There wasn't a dry eye in the room," explained Dan. "Everybody was taken aback by it." As soon as the story got picked up by local media outlets, a longtime volunteer named Robert Candelaria stepped up to adopt Patch. "He's a gentleman who volunteers five to six days a week . . . he's a veteran, too," Nevarez explained. "He was just committed — wholehearted — to say this dog is going to have a good life."
According to Robert, making the decision to adopt Patch was a no-brainer. "When my boss shared the story with me — I'm a Marine veteran as well — I promised he wouldn't spend another day in the shelter, and I went and picked him up yesterday," he explained. "When they said he had nobody, I said, 'He ain't leaving this world alone.'"
Robert has already brought Patch to visit John again, because veterans have each others' backs. "If they (the hospital) can work it out, me and that pup will be next to Mr. Vincent when he passes," he said. "We, as veterans — we don't need to have the same blood to be brothers. No brother should leave this world alone."
Read ahead to get a look at John and Patch's emotional final goodbye.