I’m going to be honest with you, this isn’t ever going to be my favorite article to write. Our pets, dogs especially, become such integral parts of our life that even the thought of them no longer being around can bring us to tears. I recently lost my dog as well after having him for more than a decade, so I know it isn’t easy.
Music can be good therapy though, so in this article, we’ll be giving you 21 songs to help the grieving process after you’ve lost your dearly beloved pup.
1. Chasing Butterflies – Frankly Speaking
Not all of the tracks in this article will involve a dog dying, that’s a little much for me. Most of these are going to be reflective songs on the good times you spent with your dog, and Chasing Butterflies by Frankly Speaking is one of those. Watching your dog run around chasing stuff is a joy for both of you. They love it. So the line ‘My only hope is you’re up there chasing butterflies’ is nothing but good wishes for your departed dog on the other side and a happy image to help you through your grief.
Recommended: Songs about dogs
2. Shannon – Henry Gross
Henry Gross wrote this song about a dog named Shannon that belonged to a member of The Beach Boys. In it, the family finds itself mourning the loss of their pet and wondering where it’s gone after passing. Hopefully, it drifted peacefully away on the sea and found a nice island. Gross himself also had an Irish setter named Shannon, just like Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys.
3. I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan
This is one of two songs by Sarah McLachlan on this list, but this one ranks higher because it’s probably going to give you a lot more comfort than the second. I Will Remember You isn’t exactly about dogs, it’s more of just a promise that even though someone has passed on, you will always keep their memory alive in your heart. It’s a track you can find some comfort in any time a loved one passes, and reminiscing about the good times you had with them can help ease the pain of their loss.
Recommended: Songs about death to grieve to
4. Just A Dog – Mo Pitney
While the title of this song may seem a little callous, the track is the farthest thing from it. For a lot of people, losing a dog is a major loss in life. If it takes you a while to get over it or you’re deeply emotional, someone will inevitably say the phrase ‘it’s just a dog.’ This song from Mo Pitney is about how offensive that can be for dog owners who lost their furry friend and describes the artist’s own relationship with his dog.
5. Better With You There – Dan Reising
Life is just better when you have your dog with you. They will offer unwavering support in return for your love. Dan Reising recorded Better With You There as a tribute to dog owners who have lost their pets. Once they’re gone, everything seems a little darker and won’t be nearly as good.
6. I’ll See You Again – Westlife
No matter whether you’ve lost your dog or another loved one, the one hope that really can give your heart a little boost is that you’ll eventually see them again one day. It’s a universal hope for humanity that this isn’t all we get and when the lights go out that there’s something else. We also hope that the same is true for the animals we love. It’s a sentiment that appears in I’ll See You Again by Westlife and one that can help heal your heart after the loss of your dog. One day, you might be able to reunite with them in the afterworld.
7. I Will Always Be With You – Sheena Easton and Jesse Corti
This song hits pretty close to home. You might have heard it in the film All Dogs Go To Heaven 2. The title of the movie alone gives us some amount of hope that our good boys and girls will be waiting on us and is a clear statement about how pure those animals are. I Will Always Be With You is a beautiful sentiment about how even after they’ve gone, they are still watching over us from the other side.
8. Cracker Jack – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton wrote a lot of songs about her childhood and life experiences. This 1974 tune was a tribute to her dog Cracker Jack who was her best friend as a young girl. The track is mostly just her reminiscing on all the good times the pair shared together and her discussing her fond memories with the old pup.
Recommended: Country songs about dogs
9. Old Grey Dog – Jimmy Scott
Barring an accident, most people tend to know when it’s their dog’s time. They get to spend their entire lives with us, and it’s a pity that it’s so short. Unfortunately, that means that we see them get older, slower, and grayer. Old Grey Dog by Jimmy Scott is about how hard it is to watch them age and the impending feeling that their time is getting closer and closer. It’s also a good remembrance of your old gray dog before it passed.
10. You’re Missing – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
It doesn’t matter who you lose, life is going to go on. It’s a harsh truth, but reality often sucks. The one thing about it is that once you lose somebody, a void opens up in your life in the spot that they used to feel.
When it comes to our dogs, they hold a very big place in our hearts and are a huge part of everyday life, meaning that their loss leaves a huge hole. It’s hard to put that kind of feeling into words, especially when you’re going through them yourself, but Bruce Springsteen does a pretty darn good job with the song You’re Missing.
11. This Is Not Goodbye – Sidewalk Prophets
One of the thoughts that give a lot of people comfort when they lose a loved one is that death is not the final goodbye. Somehow, some way, you’re going to see them again. While the Sidewalk Prophets might not have had dogs in mind when writing This Is Not Goodbye, they wound up producing an amazing song to help you through the grief that follows your dog dying.
12. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Tears In Heaven isn’t actually about a dog dying, nor is it a tribute for your pet. It is, however, an amazing funeral song and one that can easily be related to losing your dog. It’s about meeting up with your loved one in the afterlife and not being sure you can keep going here on Earth without them.
13. Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog – Jane Siberry
Our dogs become a massive part of our lives, even if we don’t notice. You can’t cook dinner or sit on the couch without them being there. And while we get used to it over time, their absence is louder than any sound you could hear. Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog by Jane Siberry is a comprehensive list of all the things that remind her of her dearly departed pup and every single thing she lists is a beautiful one.
14. I Wish Dogs Could Live Forever – Tyler Farr
It’s truly unfair how short a life dogs get to have. They have such a big impact on us and we only get to spend a short amount of time with them. There’s no doubt that many people can relate to the sentiment in I Wish Dogs Could Live Forever by Tyler Farr. I sure wish my pooch could have lived forever. It wound up being so relatable that it became one of his most popular songs of all time.
15. Ghost of Buddy – Wisdom In Chains
You might feel angry when you lose your dog. I did even though I knew it was time for him to go and he was ready. Anger is a normal part of grieving, so why not listen to some music that fits your emotions and relates to your situation perfectly?
Ghost Of Buddy is a hardcore punk song by Wisdom In Chains about a dog owner struggling to cope with their pet being put down. It came out in 2012 and is only a quick YouTube search away, which is good because you can scream along and hopefully feel just a little bit better.
16. Martha My Dear – The Beatles
It may come as a surprise to some that The Beatles wrote a song about a dog. Martha My Dear wasn’t about a woman named Martha, it was inspired by and for Paul McCartney’s sheepdog Martha. The ‘silly girl’ in the track—that probably got used affectionately by men worldwide—was really referring to his dog, and the song as a whole shows how much he loved her.
17. The Day You Went Away – Wendy Mathews
Loss is rather universal, but when you lose someone—or something—as integral in your life as your dog, you wind up feeling lonely on top of being sad and angry. The Day You Went Away by Wendy Mathews is about those lonely feelings after you’ve lost a loved one and dives into how different the world looks without them around. Any pet owner who has lost their dog, recently or not, is going to listen to this song and find they resonate with it.
18. Good Dog – Oliver Houston
No matter how down you’re feeling, your dog is always there for you. Without any words, they can sense your emotions and will usually move to comfort you. Dogs don’t judge us, they just love us. Good Dog by Oliver Houston is all about those good times when your dog was there for you and is a great way to remember the love your dog had for you. While they might not be able to comfort you about their loss, the memories of their warm hugs might be able to.
19. Angel – Sarah McLachlan
This is the second McLachlan song on here, and it’s probably one of the saddest tracks she’s put out. Not because of the song itself, but because of her association with the ASPCA, and this track’s prevalent use in commercials about abandoned and mistreated dogs.
If you can remove those PSAs from your mind, this is a very fitting funeral song for your dog that is perfect for grieving. It’s very much associated with heartbreaking situations that involve pets and deserves a spot on the list, but if you play this one while depressed, you should get your tissues ready.
20. My Dog & Me – John Hiatt
Dogs all have their own personality, and every dog owner is different. That’s what makes the bond between pet and owner so special, each one is unique. My Dog & Me by John Hiatt is a bit different from the grief-stricken songs on this list. He focuses more on being thankful for all the wonderful experiences having his dog brought into his life and emphasizes what a positive impact they can have on your life.
21. I Love My Dog – Cat Stevens
Is it a bit ironic that a man named Cat Stevens wrote an amazing song about how much he loved his dog? I Love My Dog is one of the best tracks that describe how truly loyal a dog is to its owner. They’re very unlike people in that way, as many people will turn their back on you even if you treat them well. It was also the first song he ever released, celebrating the dog-owner relationship and laying down the foundation for his career as a major artist.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.