WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE/CNN) - Just one day before his death, family and friends in Kansas helped grant their loved one’s last wish to see his beloved horse, saying it’s a reunion they will always remember.
After a three-year battle with cancer, Kevin Adkins, a 55-year-old cowboy, died Tuesday. For nearly two decades prior, he spent every day with his 27-year-old horse, Vic.
Jennifer Wadley’s family ranch, D&J Ranch, sold Vic to Adkins all those years ago. She says the two were inseparable.
"They’ve been partners for all these years,” Wadley said. “It could be pouring rain, it could be snowing, it could be hotter than heck. He was always here.”
Even while Adkins fought cancer, he would spend hours just sitting, watching and caring for Vic.
“Take the time to brush him, pick his feet and spend time with him, and that went on every day,” Wadley said.
But when cancer kept Adkins in the hospital, he wasn’t able to see his beloved horse for weeks – until friends and family granted his last wish.
"It's truly a love story between a man and a horse," Wadley said. "It was just an unbelievable friendship."
Friends at the ranch say it might feel a little empty for a while, remembering Adkins as a man who was always there to offer a smile or a wave.
“He’d always come riding Vic up, so we’d have a beer together or just sit and talk. I’m going to miss those times,” Megan Hoover-Wadley said.
Vic will be an honorary pallbearer at Adkins' funeral on Feb. 15.
The Kevin B. Adkins Cowboy Relief Fund has been set up in Adkins’ honor. The funds will help other families in the cowboy community.