Dying Vietnam War veteran reunites with beloved horses
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
BEDRIDDEN United States Vietnam War veteran and horse trainer Roberto Gonzalez had one of his final wishes granted when he was reunited with his beloved horses - Ringo and Sugar - outside a hospital in Texas, the American media reported.
The animals were taken some 240km from Premont, his hometown, to the front doors of Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio, where Mr Gonzalez, in a hospital bed and surrounded by his family, nuzzled noses with them on Saturday, reported the San Antonio Express.
Saturday was 46 years to the day when Mr Gonzalez, now 65, was paralysed from being shot just two months into serving in Vietnam, the Daily Beast news portal reported.
Despite his condition, he began training and racing horses throughout Texas, his home state, and Arizona after returning to the US.
"My husband was one of the only handicapped or paralysed licensed horse trainers in Texas," Rosario Gonzalez, his wife, told News 4 San Antonio channel.
Mrs Gonzalez, who organised the reunion, called the hospital staff "angels" for granting her husband his wish.
"When the horses came up to him, he actually opened his eyes," she said.
"I think they were actually kissing him," she added, noting that the emotion on his face said it all, although he could not speak.
"The horses are his life.
"We have raised and trained horses for 30, 40 years," she pointed out.
The two horses reportedly had been with Mr Gonzalez for decades.
He was hospitalised 10 months ago, initially for a back wound, but then learnt that his liver and kidneys were failing.
His condition was unknown as of yesterday.