Saying goodbye is never easy, and it’s especially hard for pets. For one thing, you can explain your itinerary to them all day and they won’t really get it. “I’ll be home at six,” means nothing because the average dog doesn’t understand the future tense, nor the concept of “six.”

That’s why goodbyes are sometimes so heartbreaking, even if you’ll only be apart for an hour. These saddened pet owners really know the pain.

1. When the realization of what an airport means kicks in.

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2. When a single gesture means so much.

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3. When you’re off to college.

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4. (Going off to college is a tough one.)

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5. When you forget an important goodbye ritual, like the proper number of scratches.

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6. When you realize that they can see you leaving.

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7. When you really hit it off with the locals.

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8. When you thought you could just slip out.

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9. When they make an effort to get up at 5 a.m. just to see you off.
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10. When they think of clever ways to see you off (like breaking your blinds).

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11. When they insist.

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12. When a stranger appreciates your kindness.

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13. When you make a friend in the neighborhood.

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14. When you get the spontaneous hug.

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15. When they realize they’re inside and you’re outside.

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16. …And when they seem to rediscover this each time.

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17. When they really enjoyed your visit.

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18. When they’re unexpectedly emotional.

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So tragic. But it’s okay. Just think of how happy all the pets are when their humans finally come home!

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