When Walnut the dog went on his final walk Saturday, he was far from alone.
Not only did the 18-year-old whippet have the company of his owner, Mark Woods, the pair also had the support of hundreds of people and pets who walked with them on the beach in Cornwall, southwest England, around 9:30 a.m.
On Tuesday, Woods posted about Walnut on Facebook, writing he was sad to say he planned to have the elderly dog euthanized on Saturday.
“He has had an incredible life and having reached the grand age of 18 is ready for his final sleep,” Woods wrote. The dog’s health had deteriorated over the past several months. Walnut had become too frail to stand and he needed help eating, Woods told the Cornwall Guardian.
In his Facebook post, Woods invited supporters to join him and Walnut on Walnut’s favorite walk, along Porth Beach, on the outskirts of the town of Newquay. The post went viral, and when Saturday arrived, the turn-out was overwhelming.
Hundreds of people walked with Woods and Walnut on the beach, and countless others sent messages of compassion from around the world.
Walnut and Woods were inseparable during the dog’s life, he told local news station Pirate FM. Sometimes it even may have caused issues when others didn’t understand their strong bond.
“He has always travelled around with me, all around London and he stood by the swimming pool whilst I gave diving lessons,” he said. “We’ve been in all sorts of bizarre situations together, various girlfriends who have got upset because I always put him before them. I have always put him first and maybe I shouldn’t have but he is just such a special dog.”
Woods announced on Facebook around noon on Saturday that Walnut had died. He thanked everyone for their kindness and support.
“I read out a poem that was sent to me by one of the many well wishers just before Walnut had his last sleep and would love you all to read this as well to remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be alive and to share in the wonderful world that our pets give us,” he wrote.