Neil Gaiman's dog Cabal died. He made a blog post about it and by the end I was sobbing. Not because I know Neil or Cabal, but because I know a dog...and three cats. I have also known other dogs and cats.
His blog reminded me of a time, in 2002, when we lost our old dog. He was 12 and became suddenly very ill. In the end there was nothing for it but we had to make that most difficult of decisions. (A decision we would make again 6 years later for one of our beloved felines.) A year later, my mom passed away. I am (only a little bit) embarrassed to say that I wept more and was more devastated over the loss of Bo. After all, he had been my constant friend & companion since the age of 13 or so and my mom & I had become a bit estranged, especially with her moving to another town, etc.
As I write this, our elderly cat, Fox, is perched on the desk in front of the keyboard. He'll be 16 this May. He's gotten thinner over the last year & a half, in the manner that humans often do when they reach a certain age. He's still loveable, feisty, eats & drinks normally, and after a myriad of tests about a year ago, we know he's still pretty healthy. However, despite our joking about his immortality, we know with a logical certainty that someday... well, nevermind that someday. (The same goes for our 8 year old dog, whom I've begun to feed a better food in hopes of his continuing health.)
In the end, it's not use worrying about what is to come. We should focus more on what we can do right now. All the playing, petting, scritches, and hugs we can possibly fit into a day. Even the days when they might do something not so great (like Fox's shredding of the toilet paper or 'marking territory' as one of our less civilized cats does from time to time). Hug your furbabies and spare a few kind thoughts for Neil....