Sadie, a 13-year-old mixed-breed dog had accompanied her companion to work every day and she was with him in his last moments too.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 24, 2020. It has since been updated.
Dogs are a man's best friend and they prove it to us over and over again. And just like it is difficult for us when a pet passes away, they too mourn if their owner passes away. They have feelings, just like humans, and like to express them to their family. When a dog comes to live with a family, he/she makes that family completely their own, if they are treated right.
One photo shared on social media has touched people's hearts because it shows the true emotional range of a dog. The photo shows a dog with a woman standing next to a coffin at a funeral home saying their goodbyes to the man they both loved. The photo captured the beautiful moment between "a man, his wife, and their best friend. She had recently lost her dear husband to a sudden heart attack and wanted to see him one last time to say goodbye," according to a Facebook post by the funeral home.
Andy Baelieu of British Columbia had raised the dog from when she was a puppy. When Andy passed away suddenly due to a heart attack, the 13-year-old mixed-breed dog was beside him during his last moments in 2018. "After the paramedics could not revive and save Andy, Sadie laid down beside him and was snuggling his hand," Jeremy May, president of Elements Cremation, Pre-Planning, & Burial, located in Langley, British Columbia, told TODAY.
Soon after, Sadie started showing signs and symptoms of grief, said Jeremy, who helped organize Andy's memorial service. During the 10 days it took to arrange for the service, Sadie had stopped eating and lost 10lbs of weight. She couldn't even sleep on her own anymore.
"When he had passed away at home their dog Sadie would not leave his side. After the death, she showed signs of depression, would not eat, and waited for him to come home every day," the funeral home posted on Facebook. The 13-year-old dog used to accompany her owner to work every day and not having him around was just breaking her heart, just like it would of a family member.
"The wife believed that Sadie could also benefit from saying goodbye and getting closure herself, and she was right! ... The moment Sadie walked in her home again after the service she ate her first meal. Amazing! A heart-wrenching, yet beautiful story." they added.
"From the moment Andy passed away, (Baelieu's wife, Julia, knew) that Sadie was going to be there," said Jeremy, as per TODAY. “She sat with us as we made arrangements,” said Jeremy, as per Kimberly Bulletin. That's when Andy's family told him about their deep connection to Sadie. She had lived with them since she was only eight weeks old.
Sadie was the last one to walk into the room, the day the funeral was held. She calmly put her two paws up and looked at her deceased friend.
"There was this unbelievable sense of emotion and power in the room because everyone knew the importance of Sadie to Andy," said Jeremy. He adds that she seemed to have gotten the closure needed to heal because afterward she "calmly walked out, went home and ate two meals and started to heal and go back to her way of life."
This just shows how complex yet pure-hearted dogs are and if they are capable of grief, they are also capable of true love. "Grief is not a human emotion. Love is not a human emotion. These are emotions we share with other animals," Barbara J. King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary and author of How Animals Grieve, told TODAY. She added that there have been studies to show that dogs grieve when they lose another one of their own species but "the really important thing to understand is that when a pet mourns one of us that it's because they have the emotional capacity that comes from their own relationships (with other animals in their species)."