Saying goodbye is never easy. But when it comes time to say goodbye to someone who’s been there literally every day since you were born is heartbreaking.
And it’s even harder when you’re only 6 years old.
But that was what happened to 6-year-old Lynn Bakker from Den Helder, Holland. Since her birth, her bulldog Jaden was her constant companion and best friend.
Jaden was already 7 when Bakker was born, and so when she was 6, still young and healthy and ready to play, Jaden was 13 and slowing down. He was deaf, blind, and barely able to walk.
Bakker’s dad, Jeffrey, took Jaden to the vet and found that for the dog’s comfort, he would have to be put to sleep.
“Lynn could do anything with Jaden, he let her do anything: sit on him, put accessories on him, which led to some very funny photos,” he said.
He also documented the special friendship between his daughter and her dog, and he’s right — those accessories photos are pretty funny.
But they also capture the important developmental impact dogs can have on kids, teaching them to be patient and compassionate, and even boosting their confidence.
But above all, they teach powerful lessons about loving and letting go.
Jaden the bulldog has always been by Lynn Bakker’s side.
Since Bakker, now 6, was born, Jaden was there to play, explore, or just be a big warm lump next to her.
Her dad Jeffrey documented their friendship in photos and captured all the joy and sweetness that comes with the connection between a kid and a dog.
And as for Jaden, he was very patient and was happy to play a game of dress-up now and then.
But Jaden was getting old.
“Jaden had become very old,” Jeffrey Bakker said. “He was 13-and-a-half and barely able to walk anymore. We had to put him down.”
Before Jaden passed away, he decided to capture the last, tender moments of the friendship.
“Lynn is only young and I didn’t want to forget her special friendship with Jaden,” he said.
“Hopefully, the photos of their special time together will remain a tribute to Jaden on which we can look back with pleasure. I’m sure Lynn will always have a special place in her heart for him.”
The photos quickly made the rounds on the internet, touching the hearts of people all over the world.
If you’ve ever had a dog, you know just how special that bond is, and how deeply it’s felt whether you’re 6 or 96.
When it came to Jaden’s final moments, Lynn was right there with him. Here, she’s saying her last goodbyes.
Naturally, she was devastated to see him go, but her father maintains that this moment, no matter how emotionally tough, is something she needs to experience.
“This is life and sadly, we lose the people we love. It was important for Lynn to understand that and have a chance to say goodbye.”
And she seems to be taking Jaden’s passing well.
“Lynn was very sad at first but now there are no more tears and she talks about him with happy memories, and we hope that’s how she will always remember him.”
Their friendship was a beautiful and special thing, and it will continue to touch the hearts of millions and inspire people to treasure their friendships.
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