A photo of a dog's food bowl has gone viral online after the owner who took it shared the heartbreaking story behind the image.
Filmmaker and Actor Easton Dufur made a post online telling a story about his two yellow Labrador retrievers, Stitch and Cookie, reports KDVR. Dufur said in a Twitter post that the dogs shared a single food bowl, and had a special way of sharing their food.
"My dog Stitch trained my other dog Cookie to only eat half the food that’s in the bowl," said Dufur. "So ever since she was young she knew to leave half the food so Stitch can have some (he liked to make sure she would eat)."
Dufur said Stitch had died recently, leaving Cookie on her own.
"So since Stitch is gone, I've been feeding Cookie less food," he said. "Well before I went to bed, I wanted to check to see if she ate. And so I did, and she still left half of her food there so Stitch can eat."
He added the photo, below, showing Cookie's bowl left half full for her friend.
Dufur said Cookie is the "kindest dog," Metro reports. "She is always licking ya and no matter what if you are talking to her she is wagging her tail. She loves my entire family and also looooves to play."
He noted she gets nervous during thunderstorms.
Dufur said Cookie and Stitch were "very close."
"They were like brother and sister," said Dufur.
He also shared an old video of Cookie and Stitch playing together. Twitter users were touched by Cookie's story, many posting sad images and expressing their sorrow for the dog.
"I'm crying so hard ugh," wrote one user. "Oh my gosh poor Cookie missing her best friend ugh she doesn't deserve this."
"Cookie is too good for this world," added another.
"Now I gotta clock back into work and explain why I'm crying," commented another user.
According to Cesar's Way, dogs can experience grief at the loss of a loved one just like humans do. While some dogs may not be affected by loss, others can show signs of sadness at the death of a beloved companion.
Mourning in dogs can take the form of loss of interest in physical activity, loss of appetite and a sad-sounding howl. It's important to take care not to overcompensate when helping a dog work through grief, according to one expert.
"It’s a natural human tendency to want to console, to comfort, to soothe, to nurture, yet it is possible to feed in to the negative emotional process," warns veterinary behaviorist Dr. Christopher Pachel. "If the dog is reluctant to eat and then gets more attention for sitting by the bowl rather than eating, that’s a great way to create a picky eater, at that point."
Instead, Cesar's Way recommends maintaining your pet's normal routine for playing and eating to help it work through its grief.