The final month, when a man in California lay dying in a hospital bed, his family wanted to give his beloved dog one last chance to say farewell.
Ryan Jessen, 33, had a ventricular brain hemorrhage and was on a ventilator at Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville when his family brought his six-year-old dog, Mollie, to see him just before he died on Nov. 30.
Michelle, Jessen’s 32-year-old sister, captured the terrible event on film and shared it with friends and family on Facebook.
“It was certainly terrible just thinking that my brother was not going to wake up,” Jessen told TODAY. “We wanted to give the dog a sense of closure.” We needed to make sure she was on the same page.”
Ryan was walking in a cemetery near his parents’ house in Sutter, California, some six years ago when he first came across Mollie, a stray described by his sister as “a little flea-bitten dog.”
The two had formed such a strong attachment that the family decided to take Mollie to the hospital so she could understand why her owner wasn’t returning home.
“(Ryan) was a really kind guy, and we’re all dog people,” Jessen said. “Mollie’s regular reaction would have been to come up to him and jump on him and be overjoyed, but she was reluctant in her reaction to him (in the hospital).”
The family has received an outpouring of solidarity from the public after millions of people watched the film, many of whom shared their own loss experiences.
“If we hadn’t clung to our religion, this would have been disastrous for us,” Jessen remarked. “The outpouring of support has been tremendous, and it has meant a lot to us.”
According to experts, Ryan had high blood pressure, which could have led to brain hemorrhage.
“It would be good if we could point the finger at someone, but we can’t,” Jessen added. “We’re at a loss for words.”
According to Jessen, seven of Ryan’s organs were donated, including his heart, which will be given to a 17-year-old California kid with a Christmas birthday. His family hopes that his tale will raise awareness about the necessity of organ donation.
Mollie, on the other hand, is now residing in Sutter with Ryan’s parents.
“Through our family, she will continue to adore Ryan vicariously,” Jessen said. “Everyone is anxious about the dog, and we couldn’t imagine life without her.”