Fifty-four-year-old Donald Ellis was buried last week at Oakland Cemetary in Monticello, Arkansas. But not before he made an unusual request: that his 2-year-old Yorkie "Tom Tom" be buried alongside him.
Ellis' sister Marilyn McDaniel told reporters the family wanted to fulfill her brother's desire, so they took the Yorkie to the vet and had it euthanized.
According to McDaniel, Ellis said he wanted the dog to go with him because no one would love him like he did.
But, is putting a healthy, young dog to sleep an act of love? It's a question that's been asked over and over by several animal lovers in the area.
Fayetteville Animal Services director Justine Middleton was shocked to hear about Ellis and his decision. She says it's common for pet owners to make arrangements for their pets to be cared for upon their death, but this is the first she's heard of putting a healthy animal to sleep to have it buried with its owner.
Middleton says it's hard to imagine someone making that request, especially when they deal with the pain of putting pets to sleep on a daily basis.
"We do deal with euthanasia. It's a constant thing here you know....And it's just really hard to grasp why someone would willingly put a dog down that still has a lot of love to give, a lot of life to share with someone else," Middleton said.
The veterinarian involved reportedly euthanized the dog after first pleading with the family to let it live. He followed through with putting the dog to sleep because he said he feared the dog would be killed anyway in a less humane way.