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I don’t think I’m exaggerating by stating that losing a beloved pet is one of the most painful experiences ever. If pet owners are lucky enough to know that the rainbow bridge approaches, then sometimes there is the small mercy of being able to make that last day a truly special one.
Celebrating a pet’s final moments need not be an arduous event. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, it can be as simple as indulging on a last meal of forbidden treats, capturing photos and videos to use later for albums, or simply enjoying some of your favorite activities together. I will never forget the last day at the dog beach with our beautiful black lab named Estrella. We had to carry her in a little wagon across the sand, but her smile was there nonetheless.
No, it doesn’t really soften the blow, but creating ceremony around this inevitable tragedy of pet ownership can at least provide some peace. There is undeniably some inherent comfort in knowing that one last memory is full of love and nurturing to hold onto as we say goodbye. A dash of sweet to cope with the bitter, if you will.
A recent TikTok posted by Ellie Buckler (@ellibuckler) offered a touching glimpse into the last day spent with her good boy named Baxter.
The 12-year-old shar-pei was struggling with breathing and walking and was on lots of painkillers. Buckler felt that it was selfish to keep him as he suffered, so she made that never-easy decision to put him down. But that didn’t stop Buckler from giving him the best last day possible.
Warning: This video requires a box of tissues.
Baxter’s last day started off with a McDonald’s breakfast, followed by a “slow walk” to the shop for some ham. Buckler and Baxter would share the pack. She even let him try a small bit of chocolate for the first time, which he happily devoured and washed it all down with a nice cup of tea.
@elliebuckler Running in the big fields in the sky ❤️ love yoor forever baby boy 🌈 12 years wasnt long enough 😢 #dogslastday #fyp #bestfriend ♬ Stuff We Did (From “Up”) – Mark Northam
And of course, it was a day filled with “lots of cuddles and kisses.”
His health might have been compromised, but his little tail could be seen wagging for the entire video. He could certainly feel the love being showered over him.
Then, the final car ride came. The TikTok ends with an actual rainbow caught on camera—perhaps a good omen for Baxter’s trip across planes.
Unsurprisingly, this video tore at peoples’ hearts. Many sent their praise to Buckler for being such a caring owner. Others reflected on their own experiences of pet loss. And then some were simply crying at the heartbreaking video. Regardless, folks showed support in different ways.
This video, though tear inducing to say the least, is a great example of how to make those final moments into a beautiful memory. Of course, one can celebrate a pet’s life in many ways—what matters is spending quality time with that sweet creature that has given love unconditionally. Rest easy Baxter, you are now in all of our hearts.