Life is a journey that is often traveled in the company of friends. Yet, as we know, all journeys come to an end eventually, and bidding farewell to our traveling companions leaves us with a sullen, hollow feeling in our hearts.
As one heartbreaking photo on Reddit shows, saying farewell to our furry friends, our pets, who stuck by our sides through thick and thin for much of our lives, is sometimes the hardest of all.
Andrew Bernhard posted a touching photo of his aged cat, whose name was also Andrew, as they were driving to the vet for the last time. It was almost as if Little Andrew knew they were about to say their final farewell, for, as shown in the photo, he was “holding hands” with his owners in the car, making the most of that last, precious moment.
"He held our hands on his last trip to the vet. Little Andrew was much stronger than his mom and I. He was a great guy….
According to Bernhard, the 15-year-old gray cat had gotten him through many of his life milestones, including “high school, undergraduate, medical school, and residency graduations,” as he wrote on Reddit.
“Andrew was my little boy,” Bernhard told PEOPLE. “He was a great guy. He was always happy to see everybody, always won fights with the dog and just wanted you around all the time. He just finally got too weak to keep up.”
However, after a decade and a half, that happy spirit started to fade.
“[He] got old and sick over the last year,” wrote Bernhard. “He purred everyday [sic] of his life and when he lost that, I knew it was time.”
In response to the photo that Bernhard posted, over 300 Reddit users commented to share their sympathy and their own tales of their pets that had passed on.
One commenter indicated that his cat somehow knew that he wasn’t coming back, “It’s amazing how they can tell when that final vet trip comes. Mine knew and was at peace about it, like yours was.”
Another person shared, “I lost my baby, a Russian Blue two years ago. He looked just like your kitty. He was with me for 18 years. There’s a special love there that you cannot explain. My wholehearted condolences.
“It’s always sad to lose a friend. Sorry for everybody else’s losses as well.”
“That is so beautiful. It made me cry,” another wrote. “I’m so sorry for your loss … it’s easy to see just from that one picture how much you loved him, and I’m sure he knew.”
Andrew, the 15-year-old cat, held his owners hands on his way to a final vet trip. Andrew got really sick and his owners, along with the vet, decided it was best to say goodbye in a peaceful manner. His owner posted the photo saying "He held our hands on his last trip to the vet. Little Andrew was much stronger than his mom and I."
Posted by Natalie Bomke Fox 32 Chicago on Thursday, August 25, 2016
One more Reddit user wrote, “I just found out today that I have to put my old man kitty down! This hit me hard and I feel your hurt my friend. He was a stray that was severely starving and abused when we found him. We named him ‘Scooty.’ We would roll around on our bed and pull himself along our blankets. My heart is broken and I hope Scooty and Andrew can play together when he crosses the rainbow!”
In response to all of the heartfelt comments, Bernhard added, “I’m just so happy his story has continued. He brought such happiness to me and I hope he continues to make others feel good about their own pets.”