There's arguably no stronger bond than a person and their dog. If you've been a longtime dog owner, you know this better than anyone.
Dogs will do just about anything for their owner, and their compassionate and loving nature is intoxicating.
I remember when the first time I asked to adopt a puppy at the dog shelter, my parents were hesitant.
It wasn't that they didn't love dogs, but said they couldn't imagine dealing with the loss of a beloved member of the family many years down the road.
After relentless begging, my parents finally succumbed to adopt a Pomeranian mix when I was eight years old.
Ernie passed away 13 years later from old age, and I remember it was of the most devastating moments of my life.
My parents were right, but in a way they were also wrong. I don't ever regret providing a loving home to a pup in need. While coping with Ernie's death was difficult, those 13 years we were together brought so much joy in my life, and I'm sure Ernie's life too.
Now many years later, I still have dreams about Ernie and feel like he's watching over me. It's a strange feeling to have, and I'm sure many other dog owners who have dealt with loss have felt the same.
After this photo below of a dog-shaped cloud went viral on Facebook, thousands of people filled the comments expressing their belief that all dogs do go to heaven.
"I know they do ... and I know my dogs are waiting for me...and sometimes in my dreams they come back for a little visit ... I swear I can smell them or feel their special lick."
When social media users were asked if they believe in doggy heaven, some people couldn't imagine such a thing to be real, but others shared interesting personal stories about the times the spirit of their dog paid them a visit.
"I used to call my dog Sable my little arctic fox because she looked a lot like them just bigger. On my 30th birthday, the anniversary of when I would have gotten her, I was driving home from dinner and a beautiful fox ran across the street. It stopped, looked me dead in the eyes while I slowed down to almost a complete stop, and then walked away really slowly. It literally made me burst into tears because it felt like she was wishing me a happy birthday and anniversary. I miss her everyday.
The spirit of a former dog may have saved this Reddit user's mother.
"We [have] dogs that kinda just show up on our property and then never leave. They act like they’ve lived here for decades. One in particular, a pit bull we named Brick, knew from day one where our property line was because we don’t have a fence in the front yard ... He didn’t have a problem learning the layout of the house it’s like he knew it. I believe he was another dog we had before ... He ended up saving my mom from a dog that lived up the road that had almost killed a previous dog we had."
One person can't explain how her new dog knows all her old dog's tricks without being trained...
"Our dog has known all our old dog's tricks since he was a puppy, including complex ones like 'play dead' and he tries to do the ones he's too small to do, like 'open the fridge.' He never needed to be house-trained or crate-trained. He hates the same types of dogs she was reactive to. He looks drastically different, and he's a boy, but it's like he's the same dog. It's very weird. So I think something's going on. I usually don't jump to supernatural explanations but I don't know how else any of it's possible."
After this user's German Shepherd passed away, exactly a year later they adopted English Bulldog that changed the course of their life.
"My last promise to my German Shepherd was to find a special dog that deserved a life of love, kindness, compassion and dignity and save them the way I saved her. I truly believe her spirit guided me to Duke that day to save him.
[When I] had an diagnosed arrhythmia and one night my heart rate was over 200 beats per minute while sleeping. Duke woke me up and made me aware of the dangerous situation. I got to the hospital in time and got diagnosed. I doubt I would be here today if Duke hadn’t sensed something wasn’t right."