Live

Watch CBSN Live

Dog visits dying owner in hospital to give heartbreaking goodbye

Ryan Jessen thought he just had a migraine, but it turned out to worse than anyone could have ever imagined.

The 33-year-old California man was diagnosed with a ventricular brain hemorrhage and quickly fell into a coma he would never awake from. While his family gathered around his hospital bed to say goodbye, they realized they were missing someone: Ryan’s best friend and devoted dog, Mollie.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-5-37-42-pm.png
Ryan Jessen’s sister, Michelle, shares a photo of the siblings. Michelle Jessen/Facebook

Luckily, the hospital agreed to allow the Jessen family to bring the dog inside to bid farewell to his buddy for the last time.

“So she’d know why her human never came home,” Ryan’s sister, Michelle, explained in a Facebook post. “If you knew my brother, he really loved his sweet dog.”

A 30-second video of the brown and white dog sniffing her owner as the man lays lifeless in a hospital bed, surrounded by tubes and machines, has gone viral with more than 12 million views since it was posted on Dec. 1. 

“There he is, say goodbye to him,” someone can be heard saying through tears in the background. “There he is. Do you smell him?”

The hospital did the sweetest thing for us and allowed us to bring my brother's dog in to "say goodbye" so she'd know why her human never came home. If you knew my brother, he really loved his sweet dog. (So many people have asked - He thought he had a migraine, but it was a ventricular brain hemorrhage. They think it was brought on by high blood pressure, and there's speculation that his frequent consumption of energy drinks may have contributed. THANK YOU to everybody for the outpouring of support, but I won't be responding anymore. We are sincerely touched and humbled by others' stories, their sharing in our sadness and the kindness of so many people. Don't worry about the dog! We're keeping her!!! She's part of the family.) To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email licensing@storyful.com

Posted by Michelle Jessen on Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ryan died on Nov. 30 -- just a day before the video was posted.

“We [released] him, with gratitude, to give the gift of life through the organ donor program to waiting recipients,” Michelle said. “We have personally, and prayerfully, received much support, for which we are gratefully indebted to each and every kindness. It happened so quickly.”

Doctors believe the hemorrhage was caused by high blood pressure; there’s speculation that his frequent consumption of energy drinks may have contributed, Michelle explained.

Though Ryan’s passing was tragic for the Jessen family, they were comforted to know that while he lost his life, he saved another.

A 17-year-old boy in California, whose birthday is on Christmas, received Ryan’s heart last week, the family said.

“As sad as it is to lose Ryan, we know his heart is going to bring so much joy to the family of the recipient,” Michelle said. “I wish Ryan could know what a difference his heart will make for that young man.”

As for the dog, Michelle assured everyone that Mollie will stay in the family.