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How can you express love and concern over the loss of a beloved canine companion? These quotes might help.

By Tracey L. Kelley
February 02, 2021
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happy dog looking up illustration
Credit: Yeji Kim

When a dog dies, it's hard to describe the multitude of emotions you have. Missing a wet snout in your palm, the lack of unabashed joy when you walk in the door, hearing the faint strains of co-mingling happy barks and children's laughter from previous memories...what can a few words do?

Often, quite a lot. Dog quotes, poems, and other expressions provide comfort and remind you, as Dr. Seuss once said, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Our deep love of animals is captured in Steve and Diane Bodfsky's version of the popular poem, "Rainbow Bridge" and it, along with dozens of others' observations, reflects why our grief deserves acknowledgment. We believe these quotes about the death of a dog are some of the most touching.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

Inspirational Dog Quotes About Death and Life

Just when you think no one understands the connection you shared with your treasured canine, some of the best dog quotes about death actually celebrate their contagious spirit and the memories you created together.

  • “Once you’ve had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.” – Dean Koontz, author, honorary board member, and benefactor of Canine Companions
  • “The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be.” – Konrad Lorenz, zoologist and ethologist
  • “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” – M.K. Clinton, author
  • "Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had." – Thom Jones, short story writer
Dogs leave paw prints on our hearts

Dog Quotes for Comfort After Losing a Pet

If you're creating a dog memorial, such as paw print art, a gallery wall, or some other sweet personalized dog craft remembrance, including quotes like these is a thoughtful touch.

  • "It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all of the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and as loving as they are." – Anonymous
  • “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” – Agnus Sligh Turnbull, author
  • “The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me?” – Sir Walter Scott, historical novelist, playwright, and poet
A dog wags his tail with his heart.

Showing Sympathy for a Loved One

Need to write a card for a friend or loved one whose beloved dog passed away? Starting with one of these dog sympathy quotes is one great way to show how much you care.

  • “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings (the pen name of Henry Wheeler Shaw), humorist and lecturer
  • “Dogs die. But dogs live, too. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us. And make our lives a little brighter. And they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.” – Dan Gemeinhart, children's author and former librarian
  • “I guess you don’t really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease.” – Joe Garagiola, professional baseball player and television and radio host

    RELATED: How to Comfort Someone After Their Pet Dies
You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.

Confirming What We Already Know: Dog Heaven Quotes

On the other side of a dog's rainbow bridge is where we all want to be. 'Nuff said.

  • “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers, stage and film actor, humorist, and social commentator
  • “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. ” – Mark Twain, novelist, short story writer, and humorist 
  • “I heard somebody define heaven once as a place where, when you get there, all the dogs you ever loved run to greet you.” – Robert B. Parker, author
A person who has never owned a dog has missed a wonderful part of life.

The Final Goodbye: Dog Death Quotes

As challenging as this time might be for you or someone you know, reflecting on all "Good dog!" attributes provides tremendous comfort. Include one of these reflections with a special custom gift for a lasting tribute.  

  • “A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks beside you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter’s drawing near. His head is within our hand in his old way.” – Mary Carolyn Davies, novelist and playwright
  • “Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he’s owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.” – Gene Hill, columnist for Field and Stream
  • “To call him a dog hardly seems to do him justice, though inasmuch as he had four legs, a tail, and barked, I admit he was, to all outward appearances. But to those who knew him well, he was a perfect gentleman.” – Hermione Gingold, actress
  • “Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.” – Erica Jong, author

    RELATED: Do Dogs Know When They're Dying? Here's What the Experts Say