Brooks Laich Mourns Wife Julianne Hough's Dogs Lexi and Harley 6 Months After Their Deaths

The actress and dancer's two Cavalier King Charles spaniels both died on Sept. 28 last year

Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich
Photo: Michael Tran/Getty

Brooks Laich celebrated National Pet Day over the weekend with mixed emotions.

On Monday, the ice hockey player posted a photo of himself with Koda, the husky he and his wife Julianne Hough adopted in November 2018. In the caption, he reflected on his special relationship with the animal as he paid tribute to Hough’s late dogs Lexi and Harley, two Cavalier King Charles spaniels who both died on Sept. 28 last year.

“A couple days ago it was #nationalpetday, and it came and went with a happy but heavy heart,” wrote Laich, 36. “On one hand, I am so grateful that this boy found me. He is a soul companion, he lives for adventure and every second of the day is play time. He is also incredibly loving and compassionate; just the sweetest boy on earth.”

“On the other hand, it’s just over 6 months ago that we lost our girls Lexi and Harley,” he continued. “Words cannot describe the gifts that they gave, and I still feel their presence to this day.”

“Our pets always see the best in us, even when we don’t. They give love, unconditionally, and effortlessly. My hope is that we do the same to them,” he added. “Our job as parents is to give them the best life imaginable. So let’s take them on adventures, give them all belly rubs they can handle, and let them eat all the treats. They will never possibly be here long enough, so make every single day count!”

Hough, 31, announced the sad news of her dogs’ deaths last October on Instagram.

“Pure love is real, it existed through us,” she captioned a photo of herself cuddling the two pets. “My heart expanded and felt the truth of what is possible. I am forever grateful. Thank you for your love.”

Continuing, she thanked the pups for being her “babies” and teaching her “how to be your mother.”

“Thank you for being the most consistent and constant beings in my life. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my guardians on this earth and even more so now. I’ve never experienced a love like ours,” she wrote. “I miss you. I love you forever. Now You Are Free.”

A source told PEOPLE last month that the couple, who insiders said had hit a rough patch in their relationship earlier this year, have been working on things.

“They are spending more time together and seem happy,” the source said. “They actually seem to have figured out how they can stay married. Both have had to make changes, Brooks especially so.”

“Their marriage isn’t perfect and they are very open about this,” the source added. “But it seems both really want it to work.”

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