Man’s 16-Year-Old Dog Dies, Then Looks at the Sky: ‘Giving You a Sign’

A family struggling with the loss of their much-loved dog has been comforted by an unusual source.

The Rocco family, consisting of Jason, his wife, and their three lively boys, said goodbye to their 16-year-old adopted dog Fennie earlier this week—but an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon brought comfort as they saw a rare sun dog.

“There was no denying it was a strange occurrence that we have never noticed before,” Jason Rocco told Newsweek.

Sundog in sky
A picture of the awe-inspiring “sundog” phenomenon that brought comfort to a family who had just lost their dog.
Jason Rocco

Fennie was a mix of breeds, a true mutt with a prominent Dachshund stature. Through the years, she became an integral part of the family, patrolling the backyard, chasing squirrels, and playing with the growing boys.

Over time, Fennie’s health declined, and the family knew her time had come. With the help of a compassionate local vet, Fennie peacefully died earlier this week, surrounded by familiar home comforts.

On the evening of Fennie’s death, the family’s grief was momentarily lifted by the natural light phenomenon.

“We could sense a feeling of peace, that Fennie was telling us she was happy and will always be watching over our family and the yard,” said Rocco.

A “sundog” is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that occurs when sunlight interacts with ice crystals in the atmosphere. It creates bright spots or patches of light on either side of the sun, often forming a halo-like appearance.

Fennie the dog
A picture of the “sundog” alongside Fennie, the family dog who recently died.
Jason Rocco

The name sundog is believed to date back to Greek mythology, though this isn’t the definitive origin of the name. The name may reflect the belief that as Zeus, the father of all gods and the god of the sky in Greek mythology, walked his dogs through the sky, they often appeared as companions to the sun as two “false suns.”

The distinct shape in the sky was particularly special to the family in such a difficult time, giving them a sense of peace, as though their dog Fennie was communicating with them from beyond.

Captivated by the moment, Rocco documented the phenomenon and decided to share it on Reddit where people taught him that the light phenomenon is named a “sun dog.”

“To find out it truly was a rare occurrence—Reddit does a great job explaining it—and actually has a name, ‘Sun Dog,’ left us in undeniable awe,” said the owner.

In comments on Reddit, people shared their reactions to the incredible moment.

“Looks like your pup is saying goodbye,” said one commenter. While another wrote: “It is your baby giving you a sign. Rejoice—seeing a sun dog is rare.”

Another commenter added: “What a beautiful sign. Sorry for your loss.”

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to [email protected] with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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