They tell you not to cry – he’s just a dog, not a human being.
They tell you that “the pain will be over” – that animals don’t know they have to die, and it’s important not to let him suffer.
They tell you that “now there is no more pain” – that you can adopt another dog and you will forget all about this moment that you are in right now.
But they don’t know how many times you’ve looked into your dog’s eyes – or how many times you and your dog have turned and looked into that darkness alone.
They don’t know how many times your dog was the only one who was by your side – or how many times he slept in your bed or within arms reach on the floor right beside you.
They don’t know the fear you feel when you’ve awakened suddenly from sleep, to look for and listen to him in the darkness of night.
They don’t know how much you’ve changed since your dog has become a part of your life.
They don’t know how many times you’ve hugged him when he was sick, or how many times you’ve pretended not to see his face getting whiter or his eyes clouding over.
They don’t know how many times you’ve talked to him – the only one who truly listens and never judges.
They don’t know that it was only your dog who always knew when you were in pain.
They don’t know how much he loves you and how it was always enough for him to be happy, simply knowing that you loved him back.
They don’t know what it feels like to see your old dog struggling to stand up just to greet you with his toe-tapping, tail-wagging “Hello”.
They don’t know that, when absolutely everything was going wrong, the only one who didn’t walk away was your dog.
They don’t know how much your dog has trusted you in every single moment of his life – especially his very last.
They don’t know that crying for your dog is one of the most noble, significant, truest things that you will ever do.
They don’t know that the last time you moved him, you made sure it didn’t hurt.
They don’t know what it feels like to hold his head in the final moments of his life knowing that, as you pet him and kiss his face for the very last time, an irretrievable piece of your heart was departing with him.
“They” don’t know any of these things – but you do. And how lucky are you to have had a friend that makes saying “Goodbye” so damn hard.
(*Edited and adapted from the original poem by Emanuele Spud Grandi.)