A grieving wife took her husband’s dog to visit him one last time at the funeral home after his passing. As family members looked on, they couldn’t believe the sight unfolding before their very eyes as a devastating revelation was made.
Andy Beaulieu was a loving husband and pet owner who cared deeply for the 13-year-old mixed-breed dog named Sadie, who he raised from a puppy. His dog deeply loved him too. Day after day, his faithful companion accompanied her best friend to work. The two were practically inseparable.
In fact, Sadie was right by Andy’s side when tragedy struck. As Andy fell victim to a sudden heart attack, Sadie saw it all and was there as her beloved owner died in front of her. “After the paramedics could not revive and save Andy, Sadie laid down beside him and was snuggling his hand,” Jeremy May, president of Elements Cremation, Pre-Planning, & Burial, told TODAY.
Following Andy’s death, Sadie’s behavior changed drastically. During the 10 days between Andy’s death and his funeral, “Sadie started showing signs and symptoms of grief,” explained May, the funeral director who helped organize Andy’s memorial service. Indeed, Sadie seemed to be displaying all the symptoms of depression and grief, just like the humans who lost Andy too.
After going to work with Andy every day for more than a decade, Sadie tirelessly waited by the window for Andy to return home following his death. Sadie also couldn’t sleep on her own, and she stopped eating, quickly losing 10 pounds as the dog seemed grief-stricken by Andy’s absence, which she didn’t seem to understand.
Andy’s wife Julia knew, from the moment Andy passed away, Sadie needed to visit the funeral home with her, where she could see her beloved owner one last time. As Sadie and Julia approached Andy’s casket on the day of the funeral, Sadie put her two front paws up on the coffin and looked inside at her deceased companion.
May captured a heartwrenching photo of their last goodbye. “There was this unbelievable sense of emotion and power in the room because everyone knew the importance of Sadie to Andy,” May recalled. He also said the image he captured not only helped Julia “with this ongoing grief process,” after losing her husband, “but it has also brought her a great deal of joy in this difficult time,” according to Inside Edition.
After the loss of Andy Beaulieu, Sadie seemingly got the closure she needed. She “calmly walked out, went home, and ate two meals, and started to heal and go back to her way of life,” May revealed, proving that humans aren’t the only ones who grieve the loss of a loved one and need a chance to say goodbye, gaining closure as they grieve.
“Grief is not a human emotion. Love is not a human emotion. These are emotions we share with other animals,” Barbara J. King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary and author of “How Animals Grieve,” explained. “It is very possible that the funeral was closure for the wife and Sadie may have picked up on a certain closure that she felt,” she speculated. But, she added another explanation as well: “maybe the dog, seeing her owner quiet, smelling differently, and clearly not in a living state, had a moment of realization.”
According to King, during pet grief, an animal will display “some kind of really altered behavior that suggests distress, such as social withdrawal, altered feeding or sleeping habits, or distressed vocalizations and body language, which persists for a while.” Although many studies have shown that dogs grieve for each other, King says, “the really important thing to understand is that when a pet mourns one of us that it’s because they have the emotional capacity that comes from their own relationships.”
As for Jeremy May, he hopes this will encourage others in his business to think about pets after their human companions pass away. Although an increasing number of people are prearranging for their pets to attend services, a practice May finds very important, it isn’t allowed at every funeral home. “This is not the first nor will this be the last time this happens,” May said. “I would encourage all funeral homes to care more about closure than they do about carpets.”