5 movies about pet loss or losing a dog. 

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
February 25, 2023

Admit it, seeing a dog die in a movie is so much sadder than watching people die. It’s hard not to watch these movies and reflect on your own experience with your pet, and think of the potential heartbreak when losing them.

Whether you’re looking for a movie that is guaranteed to pull at your heart strings, or you want to prepare yourself for your own dog’s end-of-life, here’s a list of our top five movies about a dog passing away. Watch out, spoilers ahead!

Marley & Me (2008)

A classic favourite with Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson, Marley & Me beautifully portrays the beloved bond between this pup and his family. 

Marley &Me teaches us important lessons such as the massive responsibility of being a responsible pet owner, and also knowing when is the right time to say goodbye. The last thing you want your dog to experience is immense pain and suffering near the end of their life, as there is virtually no more quality of life. 

We all can see it’s the right decision, but that doesn’t make watching John and Jenny say goodbye to Marley any easier. 

I Am Legend (2007)

A more unique setting, I Am Legend explores the relationship between a man and his dog in the midst of an apocalypse. When there’s nothing else left, main character Robert endures with his best friend, Sam the German Shepherd, by his side.

Sam’s death is particularly heartbreaking as it is Robert himself who has to euthanise her to protect himself, and at that point was his only friend and companion in the post apocalyptic world. 

The film takes an interesting approach to euthanasia, showing that sometimes the most difficult and heart-wrenching choice is also the most humane and what’s best for your pet.

A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

A Dog’s Purpose is a psychological comedy-drama film that looks at several different relationships between a dog and its family. The film covers themes of loyalty, grief, dysfunctional family, and reincarnation from one lifetime to another.

Despite the uplifting message of a dog trying again and again to find its life purpose — just like we’re all trying to do, throughout the film we watch several different versions of Bailey die in different ways, from euthanasia, old age, and fatal killings, which are all heartbreaking in their own ways. 

Red Dog (2011)

This classic Aussie film tells the true story and legacy of Red, a kelpie x cattle dog that travelled across Western Australia in search for his owner John, who had died in a motorcycle accident. 

Not only does this explore the power of a connection between a dog and his family, but also the sad ending of Red Dog reuniting with John only in death, as he passes away at John’s graveside. 

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

This American remake of Japanese film Hachikō Monogatari, Hachi stars Richard Gere and a cute Akita, and the story is similar to that of Red Dog. 

Hachi has a strong connection with his owner Parker and feels devastated when he dies. Unlike Red Dog, Hachi has a home but it’s not the same without Parker, so the loyal dog continues to look for his friend each day for years. In the end, Hachi and his human friend reunite in the afterlife. 

Again we see the profound effect the relationship between dog and human has on Hachi, who only wants his owner. Often we only think about our own relationship with our dog, but forget that to our dogs, we are their whole world.

Dog movies not only make us cry, but also reflect.

Watching movies where a dog is put down or passes away can be really difficult to watch, but can also help us work through our own feelings about our dogs dying. Whether your beloved furry friend is young and healthy or ill and near the end of their life, these movies can help us think about how we would want to say goodbye.

At Goodbye Good Boy, we can give you and your dog the dignified farewell they deserve.

The team at Goodbye Good Boy offers individualised support to help you and your family navigate this difficult time by providing quality-of-life checks, in-home euthanasia, cremation and aftercare services, and personalised memorialisation options. 

To learn more about our pet end-of-life services, give our team of passionate pet lovers a call on 1800 953 619.