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Final wish granted as dog visits dying owner in hospital

Beloved family pet Koda cuddled into 80-year-old Roland Smith in Aberdeen.

Roland Smith: He was taken to hospital.
Roland Smith: He was taken to hospital.

A dying grandfather was granted one of his final wishes after getting a hug from his dog in hospital.

Beloved family pet Koda cuddled into 80-year-old Roland Smith as he made an emotional farewell to his loved ones from his hospital bed.

Nurses at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary granted permission for the cocker spaniel to visit and were "immensely grateful" that Roland's final days were so special.

His face lit up the second that Koda entered the room according to the pensioner's 18-year-old granddaughter Lois Smith.

Roland, who used to look after the dog every Wednesday, died on March 6 from complications caused by pneumonia while receiving cancer treatment.

Lois said the time Roland spent at the hospital had been difficult for the family.

She said: "My grandad went to the doctor one day because he was having chest pains.

"The doctor sent him to get his chest checked and that's when he found out he had cancer. It was just before Christmas.

"They found a tumour in his bowel and he was admitted to ARI to have it removed. He was supposed to go home after the surgery, but he contracted pneumonia."

'He was supposed to go home after the surgery, but he contracted pneumonia.'
Granddaughter Lois Smith

On ward 206, Roland formed a close bond with the nurses who did their utmost to grant him his final wishes.

The popular octogenarian also wanted to savour the taste of his favourite beer McEwan's Export and some ice cream one last time.

He was allowed to have a sweet treat and a few sips of ale shortly before passing away.

Lois added: "I don't know where he got the idea from because he's not an ice cream person.

"He was so happy.

"He wasn't able to speak much at that point, so he would give us thumbs up, a smile and pointed to the tin when he wanted more."

He left behind his wife of 54 years, Dorothy, two children and three grandchildren.

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman expressed pride in her colleagues for helping Roland in his final days.

She said: "We are enormously proud of the compassion, professionalism and care our staff show, particularly when it comes to something like end of life care."

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