A final goodbye: Dying zoo worker gets a kiss from giraffe

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The moment of a giraffe saying a special goodbye to a dying zoo worker is touching the hearts of viewers worldwide.

As reported by The Independent, Mario, a zoo maintenance worker with terminal cancer, asked the Netherland’s Ambulance Wish Foundation for help visiting Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo, where he cleaned animal enclosures for nearly 25 years. The wish was granted, and what happened during the visit amazed everyone.


The 54-year-old is confined to a bed, so the Ambulance Wish Foundation transported him to the zoo with a specially designed ambulance. He got wheeled around the zoo in his hospital bed, and upon entering the giraffe enclosure, one of the tall animals approached Mario, bent down and gave him a kiss.

A photo of the moment has since gone viral on both Reddit and the Ambulance Wish Foundation’s Facebook page, where more 800 users shared the photo as of Friday morning. Others have taken to Twitter to comment on the moving image.


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A 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found one cat could identify people who were dying of a terminal illness at a nursing home.

Oscar the cat appeared to ‘predict’ a patient's death by sitting next to their bed and keeping a vigil there until they died, which was usually a few hours later.

If he was forced out of the patient's room he would become distressed and would continue to meow outside the door, researchers noted.

Oscar presided over the death of 25 residents during his time at the home. His presence at the bedside of a patient became viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families.

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