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To All the Dogs (and Cats) I’ve Loved Before

Our cats and dogs are our companions, our confidantes, and, for many of us, our best friends. They come into our lives for a short time, and we “teach” them silly things like how to sit and “shake,” where not to scratch, and the meaning of words like “vet,” bath,” and “cookie.”

In return, they teach us the really important stuff—like finding joy in the simple things (e.g., a warm beam of sunlight on the floor, fresh-cut grass, a hug), living for the moment (no dog has ever been “too busy” for a walk or a trip to the beach!), and the meaning of unconditional love. In one way or another, each of the animals who have been a part of our lives has helped shape us and make us into who we are today.

Why not take a few moments to remember the special animals who have been a part of your life—and maybe even do something special in their honor? The following are some ideas:

• Bring joy to animals who don’t have a loving home by volunteering at your local animal shelter.

• Connect with other animal guardians. You could brighten an elderly neighbor’s day by stopping by to chat and taking over some toys and treats for their cat or dog. • Plant a tree, bush, or flowerbed as a “living memorial” to your companion.

• Donate to an animal shelter or animal protection organization. PETA’s True Friends Memorials program is a way to pay tribute to beloved animals while making a gift in their name to help stop animal suffering.

• Show your companion animals how much you love them by walking, hugging, playing with them every day. Are you missing a special animal friend?

Tell us about something you learned from him or her. If you’ve come up with a creative way to memorialize a departed companion animal, we’d love to hear about that too!

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  • Cyndi says:

    On June 12 of this year I lost my heart, my best friend, and my teacher of all things important, to the dreaded osteosarcoma. I was blessed to have this beautiful and wonderous creature in my life for almost 6 years. It was not nearly long enough. Bandit suffered during the 2-1/2 years prior to my adopting him on greyhound race tracks in Florida. He had not only the grace to forgive humans for failing him during that time, but the loving spirit that allowed him to learn to trust us again. He had almost 6 years of being unfalteringly loved and spoiled and pampered as his reward for opening his heart to me and he deserved every ounce of it and more. He taught me so much about myself, about giving and volunteering your time to a cause you care about, about going outside yourself to see what is important, about tolerance, understanding and compassion and finally about unconditional and never ending love. People always said that I saved his life… the truth is, he saved mine. I will carry him safely here in my heart until the day we are reunited in another place. He will always be remembered as his legacy is a changed and more loving human here on earth and more homes for more homeless greyhounds. As a matter of fact, right at this moment, there are three additional rescued greyhounds happily lounging on couches at home, who are each thankful to Bandit for starting me on this beautiful journey to save as many of them as I can. It’s because of Bandit that I treasure each day with each of them.
    I still miss you every day my big man… I will love you all the days of my life…
    Snuggles and skritches and nibbles… till I can kiss your face again… Love, your Mommy

  • Sara says:

    On Friday 17th my cat name Coda (in english is Tail) passed away. Is difficult for me to explain how much I miss him, I go around my house and I hope to see my hairy baby, I smell the air to find his scent, he knew how much I loved him but he doesn’tknow how much I still love him.

    Love you my sweet Coda, I miss you, you still here with me!!!


  • Joyce says:

    I have a cat named Britney she was given to me by my grand father way back 2001.. she loves to sleep beside me, cuddle, play and kneed on my tummy when im sleeping. she get’s really sad when i leave for work and i can see her cheerfull spirit when she hears my voice when i come home from work..she’s our little princess inside our house and my mom buys treats for her…sometimes i come home from work stressed out, tired, sleepy but when i see her, my mood changes esp when she kisses me using her nose…

    you can add britney’s friendster account.. her email is [email protected]… hope we can share stories about our pet cats/dogs

    manila, philippines
    vegetarian for 3 yrs 🙂

  • Danie B. says:

    I love the locket in the picture! Is there a URL for purchase???

  • Claudia says:

    Bengie was my best friend for the time that he was in my life. He is definitely missed and never forgotten. He loved long walks, to run, play catch, and sit in front of our apartment building to watch people walk by. He was sweet and considerate of everyone and loved to be a happy dog no matter what. We miss you Bengie.

  • Alva says:

    I wanted to write about my special cat Mr. Brat. He passed away 3 years ago and I missed him very much. I never had a chance to memoralize him so I thought this is a good opportunity to write about him. I was given Mr. Brat when he was a week old. He was a very big pure white cat with orange tipped ears and the most beautiful big blue eyes. He was a gorgeous cat and I was so proud of him. He was very independant and smart but he was also very loyal to me. He did not like very many people except for me and my mom. I still remember all the antics he used to get into and smile. I had such a strong bond with Mr. Brat but he wasn’t into cuddling with me except for one time after surgery because he was in pain. I waited 2 years before I could get another cat. My new cat is named Lucy but I call her Kitty. She is sweet, shy and nothing like Mr. Brat. Mr. Brat was a magnificant cat and very special. I was always in fear that someone would steal him. Kitty is pretty non-descript grayish cat but her coat is very soft and sometimes she likes to cuddle.

  • Marina Barrios says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. The fact that it shows people that our dogs, cats, bunnies, fish any animals we keep with us as a companion is more than just a “pet”. We are equal and should be treated and respected equally. I have had a arrange of companions. When I talk about my turkey, Mr. Chilly Willy, to my friends they all trip out. It seems unbelievable to people how a “turkey”(usual lunch and dinner)can be so loving and amazing. I raised him as baby and slept with me in my bed until he was about 6 months. He started getting to big and needed his outdoors, lol. He is so spoiled and knows it! He has showed me that all animals if given the chance to be known and loved are just like us. They get sad if ignored, get happy if held and love attention and giving it back. I’m happy to have experienced this and be able to pass on his love and charm to others who come across him. If we all become less close minded we can make this a more compassionate world!

  • Debra says:

    Pepper, my cat of 14 years, was the kindest, gentlest and most playful cat. He was the ideal Jellicle Cat. Whenever I was sick or upset, he would touch his nose to mine and then curl up with me purring. I still wish for him on bad days. Pepper danced, jumped and trilled around the house. He loved to play fetch with tin foil balls and would affectionately nip my ankles when he was ready to play. There was never a day in 14 years that I was not greeted and hugged at the front door. He was an abandoned kitten I brought home zipped up in my jacket on a rainy day and he grew into all things that are love. On his last night here on earth, I sat up with Pepper all through the night and told him how much his life meant to me. I know when I am outside the gates of heaven; he will be the first to greet me, just like old times.

    I recently have rescued two cats from shelters: Finn and Sparrow. My heart is full again.

  • Ilze Garnett-Bennett says:

    I had a Maltese poodle when I was little, his name was Snow flake. He taught me how to share and unconditional love. As a child I used to curl up in bed with cheese, crackers and a good book. He would lie with me and I would share the cheese and crackers. The moment my food was finished, he got up, ran to his bowl and got some of his dog pellets. He placed all of it on my chest and urged me to eat them by barking and pushing them forward. I sure miss him a lot and the tears are flowing. We will surely meet in heaven one day.

    Thank you PETA for the wonderful work you do!

  • Ronda Dietzler says:

    i just want to honor my cat jimi dean,he died in my house fire 6 years ago along with another cat named willy,dog named sadie and some fish to…i had jimi since he was a baby though,he was 11 years when he died in the fire,not a day goes by that i dont think of him and the others,jimi and i had a very special bond though,he was the best cat a girl could ask for,he was caring and he knew when i was down he would make me feel happy…always.he use to lay on my pillow at night ,he was a pillow hog,funny guy,some nights i still scoot my head over just in case he is still there and wanting to sleep on my pillow with me,i miss that cat,he was my first baby,i love you jimi!see you on the rainbows bridge when its my time to pass…thanks peta.

  • Nikki says:

    I lost my cat MISTY last year, she was run over and killed last December. She was 2 1/2 and i had had her since she was a 6 week kitten and she was so cute. Misty was the most amazing cat, black with a white tummy, the loudest purr and very vocal. I loved Misty so much, she was such a character, very active, always there to greet me with a meow, talking to me. Had to keep her food bowls full or there would be loud protests. Misty i miss you so much, think about you all the time, thank you for loving me. xxx

  • Bailey says:

    This post made me greatful to have known my Little Liby. She was my best friend, fur and all. She was a little grey chinchilla, who passed away this monthe. It was so hard for me.
    I guess what I learned from her is to fight for yourself. She would always warn my kittens by running and hitting her side against the kittens to tell them to stop with the claws! lol

    I miss her everyday, but she is burried outside my window right now. I put wood, and a pinwheel around her grave to ward off people.


    (R.I.P. Liby Jane)

  • brenda says:

    my 11 year old cat died this are never ever ready to let them go when your so attached to them. the bond we share was a strong one. he was a indoor cat but liked to go out for fresh air sometimes when the weather was nice never gone long. little did i know was he had a cat friend bond to a similiar looking cat just like him. recently this cat has been standing around my yard just starring at me and my two dogs. then he got bolder and he comes to me on my porch and sleeps where my cat used to sit and get fresh air. i really think he feels my pain of the lost of my cat. and he too is probably missing him. he doesn’t stay to long. but alway reappears. he is a stray i think because i used to see him now and then before my cat died. he is such a mystery at this point. i tried to see if he is hungry but he doesn’t eat much. i really think he was just a buddy to my cat. and when he sleeps on my porch he reminds me of my very much missed cat. i think he is just here to help me thru. cats are so smart and sensitive to humans. so appreciate your cat while they are here because when they are gone it is so profound and they are etched in your heart forever.

  • Nicole says:

    In my 20 years I was lucky enough to have some amazing animals in my life. My dog Trotty (my first pet, who my family had when I was a baby) who protected me like a mother. My beautiful cats Sparky (an American Shorthair, who I got when I was in kindergarten) who my mom put down 10 years ago because she was “old and senile”, and Trixie (Maine Coon) who was shot 7 years ago by my piece of crap redneck neighbor.

    And to the two lovely animals that are currently in my life: my precious cat Smokie (Turkish Angora) who loves attention, and has my attitude and my dog nephew (my sisters dog) Teddy aka Mr. Bear, a beautiful Maltipoo who we are all in love with.

    We got all of our pets from animal shelters, except my sister, and always will.

  • MADDIE says:


  • Malia says:

    I cried reading this. I love them so much. <3

  • Malia says:

    This brought me to tears. I love them so much. <3

  • Elise says:

    What I do is pick up another one!! I am constantly bottle feeding kittens, getting them spayed/neutered, and finding them homes. It is my ‘community service’! And I know that I do a great job as the people who adopt them say they are the best pets that they have ever had.

    Thank you Patches (my siberian husky), for getting me thru a horrible childhood. You were my best friend and my gaurdian. I will always remember you. Your hugs got me thru the long nights of fights. Your kisses cleaned both my tears and my soul. Love always….

  • Silvia Rosatti says:

    I thank You God for bringing me Pitucha 18 years ago…a siamese female who used to “talk” to me and my parents…She had 7 nestlings…the last one died this year.She died in my arms 3 years ago…how I miss her everyday.She was my daughter.
    I have today 20 cats and 2 dogs, and all of them are very special, but no one was like Pitucha.
    I love you Pitu…and always will!

  • Teresa says:

    I have had many dogs and cats over the years as well as many other animals.Each and every one brought unconditional love into my life. As a child, my mother was a foster mom for the Humane Society.I have passed on my love for all animals to my beautiful daughter. We are both vegetarians and animal right activists.Thank you Peta for all the work you do for all animals.

  • Fatima says:

    Hey, first of all thanks for this post, Just last night my new kitty got ran over and Im feeling real miserable right now, I only had him for a week and he came home by himself and no one at my house wanted him so I decided to adopt his secretly and give him food and take care of him, I named him Amigo because he was so friendly, I had already made plans to take him to our new home and make him his own little house but that wonr happen anymore…
    I took pictures of him hugging me on Hug A Vegetarian Day and when I see those picture I end up crying again =( …
    So I would like to tell everyone who reads this to appreciate their companion animals because they are only here for a short time and we never know what might happen tomorrow, take time to play with them and love them so much because they love us like no one else will…
    Thank PETA for all you do to help animals 🙂

  • Jane says:

    In memory of all our cat companions who have died we place a small bell on the Christmas tree for each of them. As we walk past and they jingle we are reminded of all the happy and fun Christmases we shared.

  • Bethany says:

    Reading this really reminded me of 2 of my animals that past away, Fancy and Courage. Fancy my dog, I don’t remember much about her because when we had her i was 3 but my mom has told me that i would always lay next to her or eat her dog food (am i the only one that did that?) and she would treat me like her baby like try to get me to nurse on her or nudging my diaper when it was dirty telling my mom when it needed to be changed or when ever my mom couldn’t find me in the house she would tell fancy “go find Bethany” and she’d come back 5 minutes latter with me at her side. Or Courage who was one of my cat’s kittens she had had when i was about 11. Courage was born paralyzed from the waist down (would you say that if it was a kitty?) he was the CUTEST (not to mention loudest) and for some reason i instantly fell in love with this fluffy white kitten. I would stay up all night checking on them every hour because my mom said he might not make it and other silly things i thought might happen to the kitties. One day i fell asleep without getting up because i thought at this point since they were walking around and older they would be okay. The next morning i get up and courage is just laying there and there had been a random cold front that night so i guess since he was a little weak he had got a cold. He ended up dying in my hands, I never put him down and kept him warm (since the mother knew he was sick she didn’t want him near her others and kept putting him away from her kittens) And i felt so horrible because if i could have gotten up at night i could have saved him. Today im planting some strawberries in memory of every animal iv ever had that past away (including the fish!)

  • Leah says:

    My baby Max, a solid black cat that I took in at 4 weeks, died in January of 2007. He was a year and a half old. He was attacked by a dog the day after thanksgiving, and dragged himself home with every bone in his leg broken and his hip torn out of socket. He went through extensive surgery and lived in a cage for 6 weeks, and was NOT happy about it. Finally in January he was able to get out and walk so I took him in for a CT scan to make sure his leg had set right. He never woke up from the sedation. Maxi was my best friend, my baby, and my closest family. I loved him with all my heart and miss him every day. My boyfriend had a gravestone made to put where he was laid and I planted little flowers like the ones he used to chew on.

    I adopted another cat to keep Max’s brother company, and since I have taken in another off the street.

  • Peekay kaSimba says:

    My name means “little lion”. I know my mom misses me still so much. Since I went to kitty heaven, she has joined PETA and is an activist for animals. And she has five rescued kitties and found homes for many more. All because of the unconditional love I gave her throughout all my nine lives!

  • MountainLady says:

    Nice posting! Could you also do something like this for people with rabbits and guinea pigs as pets? Dogs and cats most likely rank as the most owned pets. But did you know that rabbits rank 3rd in euthanizing at shelters? So you know that many people have them as pets. In-door litter box trained rabbits are great pets and have very distinct personalities, just like dogs and cats do! Rabbits are very social animals. Thanks!

  • Sara Clevenger says:

    Hilary Paskal– I know just what you mean by the first couple of lines in that post.

    I read all the emails and send all the letters I can, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like the world will ever be safe for the most innocent and loving creatures of all- animals. Though, when I hear a story of an animal hurt, killed or neglected, I find some peace in knowing that PETA will go after them and fight for them.

  • Kathy Richmond says:

    I’ve lost several companions over the years. This month would have marked the 35th birthday of my first cat, born a few months before me. In fact, she startled my mother into labour. My cat’s name was Timmy. She died November 18, 1989 and it is still a painful memory. She was such a part of my life. A few years before her passing we got another cat, Expo, and a dog, Prince. The three were such a crazy bunch and Timmy taught them a lot. When Prince came home for the first time he pinned Timmy to the kitchen floor and she smacked him with both paws as if to say, “Enough of that.” Prince passed away while I was in New Zealand in 2000 so my parents had him cremated. They also related how, before taking him to the vet, Expo had kissed him on the nose, knowing he was not coming home. Expo died five years later, aged just a couple months shy of 19 years. That Spring I got a marvelous cat who is almost a meld of her and my sister’s late male cat, Tracy. I recall walking into the shelter, still blue from Expo’s passing, looking up and making eye contact with this little kitten. It was love at first site and my mother figures Expo sent him to me as his estimated birth is almost to the day that she passed. The memories of these companions sustain me when I find I’ve had a hard day, and the joy of my new companions (I also got another dog after Prince passed) reaffirms that even more.

  • jessica says:

    I have learned pretty much everything important to me through my cat ,McCloud(RIP july 14-07). I am 23 years old, and had him since i was 6 mos. old. He was there with me through thick and thin, and always had affection ready for me when i was having the worst day. I still even see him lying in his fovorite spots in the house! He will always be remembered and have an eternal place in my heart!

    R.I.P. McCloud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeanette Gagne says:

    When one of my kitties passes away, I purchase live lobsters from the fish market, remove their rubber bands, and take them down to the ocean and release them in the names of my kitties. It is my hope to give a life a second chance.

  • J says:

    Yesterday was 2yrs since I lost my 19yr old cat Suki. She was my world and still is. In her memory she is in a big planter and every Birthday, Anniversary I add something to her garden.
    Since her departure I have 2 male cats from rescue.
    My 19yr old was and still is my furry soulmate we were inseperable.

  • mary narkiewicz says:

    Thank you to PETA. What would we do without you?

    I just want to honour all the animals I have loved especially dog friends Major and Tippy, and Cat friends – Clara, Kitty,and all the cats and dogs who lived at our home in Vermont in the fifties and sixties and seventies.

    How I miss my friends Anuszka who died of oral cancer on Good Friday and Artemis who passed away of kidney failure and heart attack on January 5th 2008. Beautiful cat girls! I think of you every day. Foxfeather and I are lonely without you.

    And Baby Deet- beautiful, eccentric, high strung kitty Baby Deet! And Beautiful Nea, her friend. You both passed away nearly 2 decades ago, but we will always remember you and hope to see you again somewhere down the road!

    We were all so fortunate and blessed to know each other for so many many years. Only death could separate us.

  • Chris Charlton says:

    Some time ago I had to put down a female cat which I had loved dearly. Mitten (I know, common name, black and white) had cancer and it tore my heart out that we were to be parted, however she was in too much pain and no longer had any quality of life whatsoever. I buried her beneath some sour cherry trees in front of my country home and then lit a small lantern so that she would not feel so alone in the dark and to perhaps ease her passage into heaven. She was the most intelligebnt cat I had ever had and I still miss her today. I have been and will always feel a close bond with all my cats and forever miss the ones that have passed on.

  • christine says:

    I had a doggie companion in my teens named Max. He was a little bit of a dog, wasn’t any particular breed – seemed like a mix of somethings. At any rate, my brother found him on the street and once it was clear that no one at our local shelter reported him missing, he became and instant addition to our family.

    The one biggest thing he taught me was compassion. If there was a particularly bad day I was having and I had to cry to get the pain and frustration out, he would come sit or lay by my side and look at me. Then if I put my face down next to his he would lick my cheek. He knew! He knew I was feeling down and that was his way of standing by me. I’ve learned to stand by people people and animals who are suffering and/or in pain. It helped me when Max sat by me and took an interest. It helps others when I do the same. Thank you Max for being such a dependable friend! I love and miss you – always.

  • Hilary Paskal says:

    Sometimes I feel I live in a world that is hopeless! Then I read the email PETA sends me everyday. Thank you PETA for everything you do! I am so proud to be a member of PETA! I am so happy that there are other people in the world that are decent. It makes me believe that the world will change one day…become a place that doesn’t have cruelty. Animals are friends!

  • Lulu And Lolly says:

    Loved this post! Particularly the fact that you talk about how much WE — the critters — bring to YOU GUYS — the humans. 🙂 Love, Your Doggy PaLs, LuLu and LoLLy (ps! LoLLy is a rescue and rescue pets will teach you some particularly special things, like the fact that trust is the first step toward love!)