My family has always had a least one pet and I have seen a number of them die. Some were fish, which quite honestly did not affect me much, but the others were all dogs. Dogs, and even our cats to some degree, are treated like other members of the family. We are very close with them and spend a lot of time walking them and playing with them. It has been really terrible when they have passed away.
The first dog that passed away in my lifetime was called Keaven. She was a beautiful golden retriever who loved everyone. She passed away the day after my fourth birthday. Honestly I don't remember her very much, and I was too young to really understand what had happened I think. While my dad took care of her my mother and I went to see the Nutcracker, so I didn't really see her in the terrible state that I am sure she was in for a while.
The next dog to die was Keaven's sister Chelsey. She was old, like 14, and just fell asleep and didn't wake up. It was a lot harder on my mom at the time because we had just gotten a puppy a couple years earlier and my sister and I were much closer to the puppy. Rosie had lived a long life, so her death wasn't as horrible.
The most recent death occurred on Christmas Eve two years ago. Taush's death was by far the worst for me. We had gotten her when I was around eight and I had been there as she grew up. She was a newfoundland, which are huge black dogs with long hair. She loved everyone as well, and I only saw her growl twice in the ten years that she lived. Both instances involved a large dog that she seemed to feel were threatening towards us. Tausha always carried a stuffed animal in her mouth like she wanted to have puppies. Although she chewed many things up as a puppy, she was very well behaved and calm. I remember my dad calling me on Christmas Eve and telling me that she was really sick and he didn't think that she was going to make it. I came to the house to say goodbye and see her one last time, and by the time I got there she was gone. She had passed away in her sleep. Although she lived a long life as well, it was hard to give her up. Her health decreased rapidly, and within a week she went from acting normal and active to dying. Every time we eat salmon I think about her because we used to give her the skins. Going to the beach reminds us all of her too because she would always come with us and chase the gulls and play with the kelp. Needless to say, that Christmas was not a great one for the family, and to make it worse my insensitive step sister made numerous unthoughtful remarks. Taush was the perfect dog, and we miss her a lot.
My family still has a number of animals: two chihuahuas, one golden retriever, and two cats to be exact. Both of my roommates have dogs as well, so they still play a large role in my life. There have been a number of scares with all of the animals, and the thought of losing another one is hard. Loosing an animal is like the loss of a child. It is terrible, and although time dulls the pain, it will never go away fully.