A hospitalized Vietnam vet asked for one last visit with his beloved horses before he passed away.
In heartbreaking photos, the horses nuzzled their owner, Roberto Gonzalez.
"He knew that the end was near, and he would not be going home again. He requested through his wife that he see his horses one last time," a spokeswoman for the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, where Gonzalez was a patient, told InsideEdition.com.
Gonzalez was a patient at the hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Center before he passed away on Monday. He was one of the hospital’s first patients when it opened in 1974.
“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.
Gonzalez’s organs were failing, according to NEWS4SA.
His wife, Rosario, wrote on the hospital’s Facebook page, “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. The care you have been giving my husband .and to me, goes above and beyond. You are our angels God Bless you all.”
Roberto wanted to be with his horses, Sugar and Ringo, one last time.
Rosario said that when one of the horses approached him, “he actually opened his eyes. They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him,” reports NEWS4SA.
"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 but he also had liver problems and then his kidneys started to shut down," said Rosario.
After the war, Roberto’s injury didn’t stop him from pursuing his passions, ranching and horses. “He was also an avid hunter....He is a rancher from Premont, Texas. And he was the only paralyzed race horse trainer in Texas. He trained and raced horses for 30-40 years,” the hospital spokeswoman said.
Over the years, Roberto participated in hospital events, and he dedicated their crosswalk between the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital and University Health Sciences Center Hospital, said the spokeswoman.