This has always been one of my favorite photos. It’s a picture of our (late) senior dog Ike, on the day my husband returned from a 40-day grueling hospitalization where he had been in critical condition in the ICU.  I love this picture because it shows the way Ike so gently offered his love and compassion, and it is clear how this had a comforting effect on my husband.

This picture is taken three years later, when Ike was 11 years old and had suffered a ruptured tumor–hemangiosarcoma. The picture is intensely sad, because Ike is at the vet and Mike is saying goodbye to him. But it struck me as so poignant because they are almost in the same position as in the first picture…. but reversed. Mike is offering Ike the same love and compassion that Ike had given him years before. Although heartbreaking, the pictures together give me  a tangible snapshot of the love and comfort any dog can offer, and every dog deserves to receive.

We love you and miss you Ike.

Do you agree that dogs are specially-equipped for helping us heal? Has your dog comforted you when you’ve been ill?