Losing a pet can change you in ways you didn't expect. It changes the routine you've grown to know, it alters the household dynamic and how you cope with that I don't think you can predict until that day arrives.
New research out this week, conducted by pet insurer Direct Line, highlights the bond we have with our dogs and how the grief process we experience when we lose a beloved pet is the same as losing a family member, because (and rightly so) we consider our pets part of the family now.
According to the survey almost half of dog owners take time off work to mourn the loss of their pet and the majority, six in 10, were open and honest with their employers about their need for time off.
Steve from Aldershot in Hampshire spoke to us about the loss of his two beautiful dogs, Tara and Boris (pictured below, left to right in their younger years). Being self-employed Steve found it difficult to take time off work but he ended up taking 10 days off after the loss of his dogs.
He lost Tara, a Boxer, in November 2012 and Boris, a Boxer cross in March last year. Boris had been battling an illness for three years, when diagnosed it was said he wouldn't last more than a few months but he went on for another three years, Steve recalled.
"He had lumps and bumps and a huge lump on his leg. I had to get that removed as it burst and would not stop bleeding. All the years he had it the vets said not to remove it. In the end I was forced to, and he came through it fine. I was so close to both of my dogs, especially Boris.
Recalling Tara's last moments, Steve said "when the time comes to have to put your beloved best friend to sleep is not easy for anyone I suspect. When I went down to the vets and went through the process I could hardly see for tears. I went in to the room with her and you could tell she just wanted to go to rest. She just let them, and it was heartbreaking watching.
You can read more about the research findings and view the infographic overview on Dogmagazine.net
If Steve's story has affected you and you'd like to share your own tales, please comment below - we'd love to hear from you and all about the dogs who've meant so much to you.