I think most people agree that losing a pet is one of the hardest things in the entire world. When I was in high school, our family dog Duke was very old and had to be put down, and I remember coming home from school every day for two weeks and just bawling because he wasn't there to greet me. It's been a long time since I felt that level of loss, but then this weekend I was sadly reminded of the feeling.

On Friday afternoon, my family and I had to unexpectedly say goodbye to our family dog, Petey. Petey was about 10-years-old and was in pretty good health until last Thursday. He was given a bone to chew on that ended up splintering inside of him and causing too much damage to fix. He went in for emergency surgery on Thursday night, but there were some unforeseen complications. By late Friday afternoon, his health was rapidly declining and my mom had to make a very hard decision. I got the phone call that he was being put down from my brother while I was in the middle of Lindale Mall, which was not the ideal place to have a breakdown. I ended up silently sobbing on the floor of the American Eagle fitting room for about 10 minutes before I finally held myself together long enough to make it out to the parking lot.

I realize that this level of mourning might sound ridiculous to some, but in my family, our dogs are like children. We adopted Petey back in 2010 during a very difficult time for our family. My mom, brother, and I had just moved into a new place the year before, and our landlord told us we couldn't bring a new dog into the home. I knew we needed a dog to bring our family back together, so I wrote a letter to the landlord pleading with him to make an exception. He did, and several weeks later we got Petey. My mom and brother had gone to an adoption event to just look around, but they knew the second they met him that he was perfect for us.

My heart is still aching for Petey, but what hurts the most is knowing that I can't explain to my dog what happened to his brother. Since my mom took my dog Charles in, Petey and he have been best buddies. My mom said that he just kind of mopes around and sits by the window, waiting for him to come home. It breaks my heart into a million pieces just thinking about it.

If you have a dog or a cat or any other pet that you love, make sure you snuggle them extra hard today and give them a treat in Pete's memory <3