A former St Louis fire captain took to Twitter on the 10th May to announce the death of his beloved dog. The Tweet touched the heart of thousands. Read on to find out what Gregg Favre wrote that made such an impact.

It was in 2008 that Captain Favre raced into a burning house to save its occupants. He found among scared residents an equally frightened dog. Fearlessly, Favre led them all to safety.

Returning to his St Louis precinct, Favre rested in the knowledge his job was done. But after his meeting with the dog – who he was to call ‘Bella’ – his life’s journey had just begun.

The inseparable Bella and Favre
Since adopting Bella 11 years ago Favre’s time with the dog has flashed before his eyes. But in that short time he says the pair were, ‘inseparable. On adventures, on walks around the neighborhood, or sitting by the fire at home’.

On the 10th May this year Bella died and Favre was heartbroken.

The retired fireman took to Twitter to send a message to other pet owners about the pain of loss.

‘We’ve had dogs in & around our family my whole life,’ he writes. ‘They are all loved and special in their own ways.But the bond that Bella and I had together was incredible.We could communicate with glances and head nods. My wife would joke that it felt like we were ganging up on her.

‘As life came crashing against our door –grad school, promotions, loss, injury & sickness– our routine stayed the same. She was always grounding. Always loyal. My point to all of this is that love & loss go hand in hand. Bella & I made the most of our time & I hope that in your life, you are cultivating your own brand of joy.’

Bella died in Favre’s arms after a long battle with cancer. Favre has donated Bella’s medical treatments to a charity in the hope that they can be re-administered to dogs with similar conditions.

He also asked that any donations in memory of Bella are made to Stray Rescue, a St Louis rescue centre for animals in need of medical attention. Stray Rescue restores the health of dogs and cats and then puts them up for adoption.