A terminally-ill pensioner was granted his dying wish after being reunited with his beloved horse one final time.
Ron Smith, 66, was given the chance to say a goodbye to Jay at the hospice where he now stays since being diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer.
The retired mechanic has owned the horse for the past fours years and said he missed the bond they shared after being moved to St Giles Hospice.
So staff arranged for a special visit and 15-year-old Jay turned up in the gardens of the hospice in Lichfield, Staffs., on October 2.
Delighted Ron spent around half an hour with Jay feeding him carrots and cobnuts – just like they used to do at the stables – and petting his loyal companion.
Heartbreaking photos show the horse gently nuzzling his owner as he sits in a wheelchair wearing a coat and covered by blankets.
Ron’s sister Sandra Bull said: “Ron fell in love with horses and riding when he visited Texas around 20 years ago – he started riding and never looked back.
“He got Jay 4 years ago and rode him five or six times a week. They have a really close bond – Jay nibbles Ron’s hair and hands, particularly when carrots are involved.
“Ron really missed Jay when he was first admitted to hospital and when he was transferred to the hospice, one of the first things staff offered to do was arrange for Jay to visit.
“I didn’t think it would be possible for Ron to see Jay again, but thanks to staff at the hospice and at Lullington Hill Stables, where Jay is stabled, he was able to come and visit.
“It was a really lovely moment for Ron and Jay and the connection between them was so obvious – it was a really emotional moment for everyone involved.”
St Giles Director of Nursing Katie Taroni said: “At St Giles we talk about doing what matters for our patients and it’s clear that for many people what really matters is their family including their animals.
“We welcome dogs into the hospice on a regular basis but I think this might be the first time we have had a horse.
“We were delighted to be able to help Ron achieve his wish to see Jay. It was a lovely thing to witness and the team were all proud to be part of it.”