Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dying man gets his wish: a loving kiss from giraffe

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 A giraffe gave a lick to a dying man who asked as a last wish to be taken to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he had done odd jobs for 25 years.

A giraffe at Rotterdam�s Blijdorp Zoo nuzzles Mario Eijs. Eijs worked at the zoo 25 years and is disabled by a brain tumour. His dying wish was for a giraffe kiss.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

A giraffe gave a lick to a dying man who asked as a last wish to be taken to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he had done odd jobs for 25 years. A giraffe at Rotterdam�s Blijdorp Zoo nuzzles Mario Eijs. Eijs worked at the zoo 25 years and is disabled by a brain tumour. His dying wish was for a giraffe kiss.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- A giraffe gave a lick to a dying man who asked as a last wish to be taken to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he had done odd jobs for 25 years.

Mario Eijs, who is mentally disabled, had developed a brain tumour and had difficulty walking or speaking. He wanted to pay a final visit to the co-workers and animals he loved.

The Stichting Ambulance Wens (Ambulance Wish Foundation) offers free transport to terminally ill patients.

Several giraffes became curious when Eijs was brought to their inside enclosure on March 19.

"Mario got a lick on his nose after a lot of snuffles," foundation worker Olaf Exoo said in a written summary of the day. Exoo said it was "a last greeting to each other that gave everybody watching goose bumps."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2014 A5

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