Until recently, I had dogs and cats in my family since I was a very young boy. They were all family members. My last pet was a cat and she died at age 15. Just prior to her death, I had 2 dogs that died at age 16. They died just over a year from each other. They all were treated like family members. They lived long because they had a great life. I would love to have another pet now but I can't afford to keep a pet in this economy, but if I could, it would be just like another grandchild. It hurts when you lose them just like any other family member and it takes a long time to heal the wound in your heart. You know for sure that it was part of the family when they are gone.