It never made sense to me why people would mourn their pets like humans. I never understood how the loss of an animal could rock a person so deeply. I mean, they’re just dogs, right?

I never understood until today.

My very sweet friend, Sunny Magnolia Brock, lived for the last time today. After being hit by a car this morning, she went to sleep on a veterinarian’s table.

And I didn’t know it would be this hard. I didn’t know it would hurt this much.

She was the faithful face waiting for me to come home late and the constant presence who sent me off to early morning shifts. She was my not-so-surefooted friend who slid across the hardwood floor at the prospect of a hotdog. She was my napping partner, my pizza crust sharer, and my ever-present pal.

Now there’s a worn out spot in my dad’s chair and a half-empty bag of marshmallows waiting to be handed out to the good girl coming through the back door. And when I leave the house tomorrow morning, before the sun awakes, there will be no golden face to watch me slip through the door.

She was not just a dog. She was my dog. And now I understand.