A photo that appears to show a dog mourning his deceased owner has tugged at the heartstrings of Internet users everywhere.
The dog, Jax, can be seen lying on the ground in front of a memorial dedicated to Abraham Martinez, a 21-year-old man from Ontario, California, who was killed in a car accident May 10.
Martinez was in a parking lot when his car was rear-ended, forcing him into a head-on collision with an oncoming truck. He was ejected from the vehicle, his sister Alexandra told Buzzfeed.
"My family and I are in complete shock, denial, sadness, anger, frustration, and deep, deep pain all in one. It is going to be incredibly hard to fill this void in each of our lives and in our family," Alexandra said.
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Jax, a German shepherd, has been part of the family since he was six weeks old. Alexandra said that Jax and Abraham were very close.
"Jax would sleep on top of my brother's head every night until he got too big and took up the entire bed instead," she recalled. "Jax would stay in the front yard with my brother while he washed his car, would sit next to him on the couch, and wouldn’t sit still until my brother and I were in the house."
Since Abraham's death, Alexandra said that Jax has been exhibiting signs of depression.
"He has barely eaten his food, and when people come over, he gets excited until he realizes my brother isn't here. He walks around the house as if he's looking for something and when he gives up he just sighs and sleeps," she said.
In the viral photo, Jax is lying with his head on the ground, facing the memorial Abraham's family set up around their fireplace, and looking downcast.
"I think people have been so touched by the picture… because it captures each of our feelings at the moment. It's unbelievable how many people have been touched," Alexandra said.
When dogs lose someone or something close to them, they often react as Jax has, showing signs of distress like loss of appetite, fear, depression, sleep disturbances and anxiety, according to Cesar's Way. It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months for dogs to return to normal after a loss.