All of our animals are family members, no less. My parents had a dog (half rott, half bloodhound) when I was born, and she ended up being my "big sister". I spent all my time with her, and I loved her. When she died when I was 14, a very good friend of mine said "she's just a dog, get over it". I didn't speak to that friend for a few months after that. Nuriko, I'm in a similar situation. My dog Marmaduke (Duke) is 13, half king lab, half rott, and he's in his last days. Can't stand up very well, shaky hips, has accidents, and whines when he moves the wrong way. He's like my little brother, and I get upset when I think about him being gone soon.
Animals are more than just things that eat, drink and shit, they're beings that have feelings, emotions, personalities. Just because they don't speak to us, or don't have opposable thumbs, doesn't mean they're not worthy of our love and affection.