'Goodbye kisses': Animal hospital lets dogs taste chocolate before being put to sleep

(Courtesy: Smiths Station Animal Hospital)

An animal hospital in Alabama is tugging on the heartstrings of pet owners everywhere with their now-viral post, showing how they provide a moment of comfort to dogs at the end of their life.

On Monday, Smiths Station Animal Hospital posted a picture on their Facebook page showing a glass jar full of Hershey's Kisses, with the words, "Goodbye Kisses" written on the outside. The caption read, "This jar is reserved for our euthanasia appointments... because no dog should go to Heaven without tasting chocolate."

Though it's well known that dogs are not supposed to eat chocolate, the animal hospital provides it as one last treat at the end of the dog's life.

The simple post resonated with animal lovers across the globe. The photo quickly went viral, garnering more than 113,000 shares as of Friday morning.

"We didn’t expect this kind of response," staff members told FOX 13, saying they've received messages from people from all over the world about how their post touched their hearts. "It just goes to show that everyone around the world shares at least one common interest and that is the love we have for our pets."

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Dr. Nicole Namie from Smiths Station Animal Hospital told WRBL in Alabama that they have always tried to provide as much comfort as possible to both their pet patients as well as their owners during what is a difficult and emotional time.

"My staff has always kept little snacks and candy bars tucked away specifically for those appointments. Typically, these are treats that I wouldn’t recommend giving to my patients, but in their final moments I think it’s important to offer them something special," Dr. Namie explained to the news outlet.

She told FOX 13 they have been doing this for years to bring comfort to both the dogs as well as their owners.

"We have always done something special for our euthanasia appointments, whether we go get a cheeseburger or share something from our lunchboxes that we would have eaten that day. It's just a chance for us to have a special one-on-one moment with the patients that we have become so close to, and their owners."

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As for the dog parents who have to say goodbye to their four-legged friends, she told WRBL they don't expect or anticipate the treats, but appreciate the care and thought that goes into their beloved pet's final moments.

"They seem to find comfort in knowing their pets are going to Heaven with a full belly and love in their hearts," Dr. Namie said.