Today, a majority of Americans consider their pets not merely animal companions, but as bona fide members of the families, so it's no wonder that the death of a dog, cat or other cherished creature can give rise to grief and sorrow as strong as those felt at the loss of a loved-one who is human.
But to have such tender feeling towards pets isn't some modern phenomenon indicative of a soft and overly-sensitive society. In fact, people have been mourning over their deceased animals for much of recorded history -- and in no place is that more evident than in these fascinating, and totally heartbreaking, epitaphs written for dogs of Ancient Greece and Rome.
Here are 9 of the most touching ancient epitaphs to dogs:
1. "I am in tears, while carrying you to your last resting place as much as I rejoiced when bringing you home in my own hands fifteen years ago." (Source)
Ancients weren't ashamed to openly weep for their departed dogs, as seen in this saddened pet-owner's final farewell to his companion.
2. "Thou who passest on this path, If haply thou dost mark this monument, Laugh not, I pray thee, though it is a dog's grave. Tears fell for me, and the dust was heaped above me By a master's hand." (Source)
In an age before pet cemeteries, Greek and Romans would bury their pets along the roadside in marked graves like this one -- a mournful gesture they did not take lightly.
3. "My eyes were wet with tears, our little dog, when I bore thee (to the grave)... So, Patricus, never again shall thou give me a thousand kisses. Never canst thou be contentedly in my lap. In sadness have I buried thee, and thou deservist. In a resting place of marble, I have put thee for all time by the side of my shade. In thy qualities, sagacious thou wert like a human being. Ah, me! What a loved companion have we lost!" (Source)
This text was found on the tombstone of Patricus, an Italian dog, written by his grieving owner. Note that, even in this era, pets were being likened to humans.