As animal lovers, it can be difficult for us to accept we will likely survive our pet by years. To others, they may be “just animals,” but for many of us, our companion animals are like our children. We have our moments of frustrating miscommunication, like when our dog mistakes our new slippers for a rad new dog toy and has the time of his life or when our cat thinks that the furniture is a fantastic, plush scratching post. But, these moments never mean that we love them any less. After all, how could we, when they bring so much joy into our lives every day?

There will never be anything comparable to your dog being so excited to see you after a long day at work that they cannot stop giving you kisses or your cat curled up and purring loudly on your chest while you sleep (even if it often means they’re waiting for you to wake up so you can feed them). As sad as it is that our companion animals do not get to spend as much time on this planet as we do, the moments that we share are no less precious and even when they’re gone, we like to think that they never leave us. We can tell from the photos below that was the exactly how Twitter user Catie Callaghan felt when her 15-year-old dog, Bandit, passed away after going through surgery.

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Before Bandit came to the Callaghan family, he had been through four homes, most likely due to health issues. Once they adopted him, they pledged that they would never give up on him like the others had.

As much as he loved all the members of his forever family, Bandit had a special bond with Catie’s dad. 

Bandit had gone through a lifetime of surgeries. Unfortunately, at 15-years-old, he was unable to recover from his last procedure and passed away…

But in the eyes of the Callaghan family, Bandit never left. After their beloved dog passed away, Catie posted this photo on Twitter and wrote “So my 15-year-old dog passed away two days ago. My mom found his bowl like this tonight. Doggie heaven does exist.”

Catie Callaghan/Twitter
 

Callaghan has seen a tremendous response from people on Twitter sharing their sympathies for her family’s loss. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Callaghan shares, “My family is extremely happy about how everyone has seen the tweet. It warms our hearts and makes us feel good about it.”

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In our lifetimes, many of us are the lucky pet parent to even luckier companion animals. But no matter how many we adopt, we can always remember who they were, the moments we shared together, and how much we still miss them, even years after they cross the rainbow bridge. Have you ever felt like your pet was watching over you, even after they left?

All image source: Catie Callaghan