Tears Over Golden Retriever's Last Day Before Crossing Rainbow Bridge

Tears Over Golden Retriever's Last Day Before Crossing Rainbow Bridge

Dog life

Atribute to a beloved "beautiful dog" has touched many viewers online, with some writing that it brought them to tears.

Almost everyone knows the phrase "dogs are a man's best friend," and this was proven to be true with one woman's heartwarming tribute to her pet.

Since being posted on June 25 under @majatravels on TikTok, the video has attracted over 630,000 views. In it, Maya Szostak, originally from Poland but now living in upstate New York, heaps praise on her golden retriever Bandit, who died recently. The clip showed Bandit going on his last walk, fetching his last ball and having a final paddle among many other activities before he died in the arms of Szostak and her husband, JJ. Brice.

Tears Over Golden Retriever's Last Day Before Crossing Rainbow Bridge

From left: A photo of Bandit in a small boat; and Maya Szostak with the golden retriever while outdoors. The owner's tribute to Bandit in a viral video was met with tears online.MAYA SZOSTAK

Szostak told Newsweek she first got Bandit when he was only 8 weeks old for her then-boyfriend and now-husband. She said Bandit quickly became her "heart dog" and that he helped teach her patience and perseverance while she was in college. While a puppy, Bandit was active and enjoyed going on walks up to three hours long to get his energy out.

Szostak added: "He also got me through some of the toughest moments of my life when my father passed away. Friends and family wished me their condolences, but Bandit was there to catch my tears and listen to me cry.

"He did not leave me alone once and cuddled into me every time he saw me get low. I saw more compassion in him than I have in people," Szostak said, "and I truly believe he pushed me out of my darkest places by giving the biggest kisses and throwing toys into my lap to make me laugh."

Szostak added that Bandit had started "slowing down" when he was 7 and developed arthritis and laryngeal paralysis. These were managed with medication for years, although he started to cough much more since 2022. After initially believing that his throwing up at night was just him being sick, it soon became clear that he had a more serious issue.

Following a visit to the vet, it was discovered that Bandit likely had stomach-lining cancer and had neurologically deteriorated to the point that his brain wasn't registering his hind legs or spine.

Unwilling to see Bandit suffer anymore, Szostak and Brice made the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye using an in-home service. This was so they could say their final farewell, along with their other golden retriever, Sansa. Bandit died just three months short of his 13th birthday.

Szostak told Newsweek she hoped people would take pet deaths seriously and said they were incredibly important to many people: "I wish our society took this more seriously as dogs are often the only family we have. In my neighborhood, there are many elderly people whose dog is the only thing keeping them active and smiling.

"They can be the very reason someone gets up from bed in the morning," Szostak added. "They provide endless amounts of comfort to children; they serve the military; they lead the blind, and provide assistance to folks who need extra help moving through their day.

"Their deaths are traumatic, agonizing, and feel extremely unfair," Szostak said. "It doesn't just 'feel as' if you lost a family member; you lose a family member and a best friend."

The overwhelming majority of comments seen by Newsweek were sympathetic about Bandit, and many shared their well wishes to Szostak.

TikTok user Luci Veach wrote: "I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm crying for you. Dog loss always hits me hard. Sending you love."

Jema.76 added: "Run free, play hard and rest easy sweet pup."

Jildo7984 commented: "I just hearted this video even though it broke my heart why can't they live longer."