SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Vietnam veteran Roberto Gonzales may not have much time left, so he chose to spend some of his precious final moments with two of his beloved friends: His horses Ringo and Sugar.
The three shared an emotional reunion outside a Texas VA hospital over the weekend.
Despite his paralysis, Gonzales has made a living out of his passion for horses and is one of the only registered horse trainers in Texas who is disabled, his wife said.
“Horses are his life,” Rosario Gonzales told CNN affiliate KABB. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30, 40 years.”
Gonzales was shot and paralyzed while fighting in Vietnam. On a recent visit to a hospital for a back wound, Gonzalez found out he had also developed liver issues and that his kidneys were starting to shut down.
So his dying wish was to say goodbye to the ones he loved.
Whether by coincidence or fate, Gonzales’s final meeting with his two horses took place May 21 – the same date his life changed forever in Vietnam some 46 years ago.
Gonzales was wheeled out into the fresh air. Friends and family held his hands and stroked his hair as Sugar and Ringo were led to his bedside.
“When the horses came up to him, he actually opened his eyes,” Rosario Gonzales said. “They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him.”