Rest in peace. Val Chmerkovskiy and his fiancée, Jenna Johnson, are sadly mourning the loss of their dog, Anastasia, who “unexpectedly passed away” on Aug. 15. In the days following Anastasia’s passing, Val opened up about his beloved pet during an emotional new interview with Us Weekly.
“She brought so much happiness to me and really changed my perspective on a lot of things. I didn’t grow up with dogs, I never experienced that love that you can have for an animal, so this was new,” he shared. “The permanence of death is also really frightening and scary and how it came out of nowhere, so it’s definitely [been] a week-and-a-half for me.”
Val added that Anastasia’s death has made him start to look at life differently. “I’ve been kind of going back and forth between seeing the bigger picture of life, you know, ‘life goes on,'” he continued. “And at the same time, I kind of confront that thought and say, ‘Look, it’s all relative.’ You know? You love the things that you love and it’s relative to you.”
According to Us Weekly, Val and Jenna had taken Anastasia — a small, brown poodle mix — on tour with them around the country and on many adventures before she passed away. The morning after the pup’s unexpected death, Jenna penned a touching tribute to the sweet dog via Instagram on Thursday, Aug. 16.
“Thank you for officially making us a family. You made it the three of us,” she shared online. “You brought immense joy into our lives. We treated you like our baby because you definitely were. I wish you could have been a flower girl at our wedding, but I know you’ll be there in spirit.”
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Our sweet angel Anastasia unexpectedly passed away last night. We are in complete and utter shock. I have truly never felt this type of sadness before. . To my sweet baby girl… thank you for officially making us a family. You made it the 3 of us. You had a very adventurous life! You went on two different tours, you traveled the country, you went on set, you refused to sleep anywhere but my face, you had a big crush on Daddy, your sassy energy was contagious, and you brought immense joy into our lives. We treated you like our baby cause you definitely were. I wish you could have been a flower girl at our wedding, but I know you’ll be there in spirit. Go bark at everyone and everything and run around in heaven my love. We love and miss you so much. 💔
While Jenna also recalled being “in complete and utter shock” after learning that Anastasia had passed, Val said he’s optimistic that he’ll one day get over the pain of losing his pup. “Time heals all and keeps it moving and that’s what’s most humbling about this whole thing,” he told Us Weekly.