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Giraffe Kisses Cancer-Ridden Zookeeper Goodbye [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 22, 2014 09:53 AM EDT

The image of a giraffe saying goodbye to his dying zookeeper will forever be a reminder that humans and animals can develop strong and everlasting bonds with one another.

The zookeeper, 54-year-old Mario's dying wish was to say goodbye to his animals. With the help of the charity Ambulance Wish Foundation, Mario was wheeled into the giraffe habitat at the Blijdorp zoo located in Rotterdam in The Netherlands

As Mario laid in his hospital bed off to the side of the habitat, one of the giraffes walked over, bent down and 'kissed' Mario on the face. The image has warmed hearts all over the world.

"It was a very special moment. You saw him smile," the Ambulance Wish Foundation's director Kees Veldboer said reported by the Dutch Newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad. "It was special that the animals knew him and could sense all was not well with him."

Mario is a mentally disabled man who has been working at the zoo for most of his adult life. He was responsible for cleaning and maintaining the homes of these majestic animals. He developed cancer, which has reached its final stages.

After saying goodbye to the animals, Mario also bid farewell to his co-workers.

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