Death is not easy for anyone, and it seems to be the hardest thing to accept in movies, especially the ones where animals are involved. Is it because they're so innocent? Or that they're cute, little faces are easy to relate to? Whatever it is, there are a number of movies out there that will not only tear at your heart strings, but rip it right to shreds and leave you with tear-stained pillows and a floor full of kleenex—if you can even make it through, that is.
Here is a ranking of the saddest animal movies of all time, in case you ever feel like you haven't had a good cry in a while.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
13 Lion King (1994)
Family conflict and the loss of your idol—The Lion King is a childhood disney classic that scared us and left us in shambles.
12 Land Before Time (1988)
Was it the black and white scene? Was it the sheer size of this protective creature? Was it the fact that she said she will always be with Littlefoot as she lowers her head and accepts death? To see a mother die can wreck a child... many adults today are probably still in counselling.
11 Free Willy (1993)
The happiest ending of any ending to ever be happy. The freeing of willy had tears pouring down so many faces that they could have risen the water levels in the ocean.
10 The Neverending Story (1984)
It isn't necessarily the fact that the horse died... it's how he died. A slow, quiet death where absolutely nothing could be done. It can be compared to so many diseases today, and that simple concept is why it affects so many.
9 Dances with Wolves (1990)
Hunting for sport played out in one of the saddest movies of it's time. Wind animals are rarely pets, but when one becomes bonded to a person, it makes him an obvious target for that person's enemies. Loyal and unwavering, "two socks" fights to the end.
8 War Horse (2011)
The incredible journey of a boy and his horse. Not much more can be said for a bond that withstands the deepest of hardships.
7 Hachi (2009)
And he waited....
Death is an obvious tear jerker, which is why most of the others made it on this list... but what about a dog so loyal he waits in the snow at the train station for his owner. Why is this sad? Well, he waits for years after his owner has died. Grab a kleenex.
6 My Dog Skip (2000)
When you lose a best friend, nothing else seems to matter. This is a typical story about a dog and his best friend, conveniently named Skip, and how the two of them create an unshakable bond. But all great things come to an end, and unfortunately dogs age much quicker than humans.
5 I Am Legend (2007)
Likely one of the saddest movies in recent release. Will Smith not only has to watch his beloved dog get bitten in a heroic effort to sacrifice himself, but he then has to put him down with his own two hands as he starts to turn into the very thing that threatened him.
4 Homeward Bound (1993)
"Now, all you have to learn is to say goodbye." NOOOOOOOOOO. How dare they humanize these dogs (and cat) and then tear one away in what could be the most heart-wrenching verbal goodbye in movie history.
3 Marley & Me (2008)
They build you up and build you up and just as you are hands down head-over-heels in love with who you might even consider your own new best friend... they remind you that life is short.
2 Bambi (1942)
Another loss of a parent, but this time with a gun shot and a disappearance. To lose a mother is devastating... but to simply never see her again, calling out for her in the midnight snowfall, longing for a final goodbye... nobody comes back from that.
1 Old Yeller (1957)
Similarly to I am Legend, when your best friend is your dog, you receive nothing but loyalty, love, and protection. What then, do you do, when that is replaced with a sickness that threatens everything. Times can be tough, but not nearly as tough as having to shoot your best friend after he protects you and slowly turns into a 'monster' because of it.