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paws for thought Can't we mourn the loss of our pets without someone interjecting that it was 'just a dog'?


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Diplo-mutts: Bród and Síoda meet Meghan and Harry

Diplo-mutts: Bród and Síoda meet Meghan and Harry

PA

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Diplo-mutts: Bród and Síoda meet Meghan and Harry

If you've never cried over the loss of a pet, I'm guessing you've never had a pet.

First Pooch Síoda waddled off to the great big Áras in the sky at the weekend.

And news of the Bernese Mountain dog's passing resonated as deeply as if she had two legs rather than four.

Presidogs Bród and Síoda have been a constant cuddly presence on the national stage since their fur parents moved into the Phoenix Park in 2011.

Prince Harry and Meghan are just two of the stars lucky enough to boop their snoots at an official engagement at Áras an Uachtaráin.

While the adorable diplo-mutts even fetched almost 23k followers on unofficial Twitter and Instagram pages.

The death of one half of the double act "after a short illness" was confirmed in a presidential newsletter on Saturday.

Even in the thick of a pandemic that has claimed 988k lives worldwide, Síoda's passing made the obituaries, and I'm not surprised.

Like Miggeldgy, I've waved goodbye to my fair share of faithful furry friends over the years.

One after another, Lady, Tansy, Leia and Homer bounded into our home, making it happier and hairier for a time.

Grieving

Each loss left a Jack Russell-shaped hole in our hearts that could invariably only be patched up by another.

And so the self-torturous cycle of walkies and - ultimately - weepies goes on to this day.

When it comes to grieving the loss of a pet, you either get it or you don't.

Not for a moment am I saying it's comparable to losing a parent, partner or child.

Sorry, fellow dog people, it's simply not (you can't go into the Dog's Trust and adopt a new mother).

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But why does it always have to be a competition?

Can't we be allowed to openly mourn the loss of our best pal without someone, somewhere interjecting that it was "just a dog"?

Celebrity animal lovers like Orlando Bloom are doing their bit to help de-stigmatise pet bereavement.

The Lord of the Rings star recently shared a video of his tattoo tribute to his dog Mighty, who died in July.

Opening up about the devastating loss, he said: "I have wept more this week than I thought possible, which has been very cathartic and healing.

"He was more than a companion. It was a soul connection for sure."

The Ringsend mural to 'Saint Síoda' (inset) by graffiti artist High King Jack and the viral hashtag #nosesforsioda show how far we've come in honouring family members loved and lost.

Pet cremation, taxidermy and even freeze-drying are just some of the other modern-day alternatives to flushing the goldfish.

We've known since canine angel Charlie in 1989 that All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Some wags even claim that dog owners will be reunited with pooches who've crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the afterlife.

That sounds like a bit of a furry tail ending to me - but if so, it'll be belly rubs all round.