I had a black and tan mix breed dog when i was a boy over forty years ago. I got him when i was 12 and he died when I was 29.
I loved him more than life, he was the best fiend I ever had much closer than a brother.
I was totally brokenhearted and cried for a month or more after he died. Strangely his death effected me more than the death of my beloved parents.
Like you said he became a part of me and I know God has kept him safe in heaven, waiting for my arrival with his spiritual tail waging wildly
Our pets are all in heaven , they are/were living souls while on earth just like us. And in some sense much better and more loving
Here is a poem I wrote about him BULLY MY BELOVED FRIEND
Oh! How I remember the awful day that my beloved dog Bully died
Oh! How the uncontrolled flow of tears as I wept that day that and cried
At! 12 years of age I got this beautiful fat black and tan puppy
A! Small boy I was then and so very very happy
At! 29 years of age now a grown married man Bully was still my most beloved first friend
I! Looked at him while at Vaal the power station and saw he was near his end
He! Looked at me with suffering eyes
Yes! This was indeed the day that Bully died