The sad image has been shared widely online and will touch even the most hardened of viewers

This distressing image shows the face of a man cradling his pet dog for the last time.

The picture, which was shared on Facebook, shows the man having just been brought out of his burning home and weeping in anguish.

Although his health seems to be fine, the dog didn't make it, having passed away from smoke inhalation.

The image has gone viral online, with more than 20,000 shares, although it was originally taken almost a year ago, on January 30.

It shows Shamel English rocking his two-year-old dog, Gemini, in his arms after she passed away from a fire at 325 W Windsor Street in Pennsylvania.

The Facebook post says: "A man tearfully holds his dog after she passed away from smoke inhalation.

"The photo was taken shortly after firefighters brought her out of the house. Dogs aren't just pets. They're family. Don't forget to share if you're agreed!"

In the fire, five dogs lost their lives in the fire, reports the Examiner, four of them chihuahuas.

English's wife Amanda Moser, 31, and her mom Diane Fritz were able to get out with two pet dogs, but Gemini ran back in.

Although firefighters tried to resuscitate her, Gemini, who English adopted when he found her wandering the streets at three weeks old, sadly died.

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