A veteran on hospice was able to say a final farewell to his dog this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared photos online of the special moment between John Vincent, 69, and his Yorkie, Patch, when the two were reunited for a few moments at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Thursday.
The animal shelter’s Facebook post said Vincent “has no family in New Mexico so had to surrender his beloved dog, Patch to us.”
The post continued:
John Vincent 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. Yesterday we were able to make their final reunion happen. Our AWD Director, Danny Nevarez, along with team members Joel Craig, Desiree Cawley and Celina Chavez-Fennell took Patch down to the Hospice Center for the reunion. It was such a heart warming moment! They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true.
The animal shelter could not pass up the chance to reunite the two when they heard Vincent did not have much time left.
“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely,’ and let’s do whatever we can to get it done,” said Nevarez.
“It was as simple as getting Patch over here,” he noted.
Nevarez said the little Yorkie was “as quiet as can be” on his ride to the medical center where his master was waiting for him. But once they neared the building, Patch began to make noise.
“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevarez commented.
Vincent served as a United States Marine for three years in Vietnam, and upon his return home, lived in Wyoming, Alaska, and New Mexico.
He got Patch from a neighbor’s litter and said he wanted a dog small enough to ride on his Harley Davidson motorcycle with him.
“The only hair I had was on my chin, which was called a patch. … And he had a little white patch, so we were the patch brothers,” the veteran recalled.
When Vincent retired, he and the dog would take long walks together every evening until he was admitted to hospice care.
“It’s about ‘what can we do to enhance his life?’ Because it’s about living here when they come here … and this is living for him,” Neal said of the touching reunion.
The Albuquerque Animal Welfare said Patch is now back at the shelter and someone is already interested in adopting him.