Tim Tebow shares tearful tribute to his beloved dog after putting him down

Our favorite celebrities and sports heroes can often feel very different from us, but sometimes they’ll open up and remind us that they feel the same joys and heartbreaks everyone experiences.

For instance, celebs love their pets just like we all do, like former NFL star Tim Tebow, whose beloved dog Bronco has been by his side and a big part of his life through his athletic career.

Sadly, Bronco recently had to be put down… and Tebow wrote a tearful tribute to his late friend.

Tebow first got the Rhodesian Ridgeback in 2010 as a gift after being drafted by the Denver Broncos, hence the dog’s name.

 “We’ve always liked the name, we always liked that truck, so we talked about it and we were like, yeah, that’s really cool,” he told AOL last February.

Instagram / @TimTebow

Tebow has been a lifelong dog lover. He says he used to sneak out of the house to sleep in the garage with his pets because they weren’t allowed inside the house.

“For so many people, [dogs] are our best friends and they provide so much joy and love,” Tebow told AOL, calling Bronco a “sweet and loving” dog.

They spent nine precious years together: through team changes, his retirement from the NFL and his new career in baseball, Bronco has been loyally by his side.

Instagram / @TimTebow

But then the day that every dog owner dreads: Tebow made the heartbreaking decision to put Bronco down Wednesday night.

Today, he paid heartfelt tribute to Bronco on Instagram.

“One of the toughest goodbyes,” Tebow wrote. “Wanted to make a special tribute to the sweetest boy ever – thank you for all the joy you brought and all the memories.”

Instagram / @TimTebow

Tebow called the Bronco “one of the best dogs ever,” and thanked friends and family for loving and caring for the dog over the years, encouraging them to share their own memories.

The tribute included a heartbreaking video of the two together: Tebow is feeding the dog for a final time before putting him to sleep, laughing with him but also unable to hold back tears:

In another tribute on Twitter, Tebow revealed he laid his dog to rest “in a really special place” and shared a photo of him kneeling at a cross marking the grave.

“I love you Bronco,” he wrote. “Thanks for being the sweetest boy.”

Instagram / @TimTebow

Rest in peace, Bronco. Thank you for being such a great dog.

It’s always heartbreaking to lose a dog — let’s keep Tebow in our thoughts and hope he finds strength in this difficult time.