People say that those who have never had a dog in their lives can’t understand what it is like to lose them. We challenge you, then, to read the words of actor and animal advocate Ian Somerhalder paying tribute to his beloved dog on Instagram and not be reduced to tears.

German Shepherd Ira lost her battle with cancer, leaving Vampire Diaries actor Ian and his wife Nikki Reed heartbroken. On Instagram, Somerhalder wrote: “this beautiful girl took her last breath. Quietly cancer had filled this amazing girl of mine and there was nothing any of us could do. I’ve never known a more incredible animal. A soul that spoke 1,000 languages. Kid, I will miss you and anyone that ever got to know you will miss you. Countless flights, 100 nights in the airstream, driving across the country, jumping in every lake- river- stream and ocean there was, just for a splash and to be happy. Thank you for loving me like I’ve never known. I know you’re here, your energy is here with us-I saw you playing with Neech this morning. I love you kiddo. Love, Dad.”

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Reed also added her own tribute, writing“my sweet Ira girl. So many memories, so many adventures with you by my side. You’ve been my best friend for so long, and as I sit here and write you this letter, I still don’t know if I am able to say goodbye.”

When we lose our pets it is sometimes instinctive to want to rush out to bring another companion into our lives. We are sure it is too soon for Somerhalder to be thinking of replacing his beloved Ira, but for anyone who is in the same situation and is ready to introduce a new family member into their lives, we hope that they will consider adopting over buying. We know that both Somerhalder and his wife Reed are fond of fostering animals in need of a home, and hope that others will look to them for inspiration.

Pets are not just parts of the furniture in our homes, they are parts of our family, and losing them is just as hard as losing any of our relatives. We are sure Somerhalder and Reed will need to take some time to grieve like so many other pet owners who have lost their dogs. They will find mementos of Ira around their home and miss her, look at cherished photographs and put them away for when they are easier to look at. Ira might not be physically with Ian and his family any longer, but we know she will forever be in their hearts.

We are sorry for your loss, Ian and Nikki!

Image Source: Gage Skidmore/Flickr 

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