There may not be a more devastating, helpless feeling than knowing that your beloved pet is going to die – even if your dog is made of batteries and circuit boards.
From 1999 through 2006, Sony sold more than 150,000 Aibo robotic dogs, but last year, the Japanese company closed its last Aibo repair center, The New York Times reports. Now, with only a limited number of Aibo parts left, those who still have — and love — their little robots are coming to terms with the fact that they might soon have to say goodbye.
“It wasn’t just a robot, because you had to raise it,” Kouzaburo Sakurai told the Times.
He and his wife, Michiko, travel with their multiple Aibo, take them for walks, pose them for goofy photographs — just like regular dog owners. That’s why the impending loss weighs on them just as heavily.
“I can’t live without it now,” Michiko Sakurai said.
Hiroshi Funabashi, an Aibo repair supervisor, understands that he could be working to save someone’s best friend, not just an expendable electronic device.
“When we get attached to something, it becomes more than an object… then we develop feelings for them,” he told the Times.
And when they’re gone, we’ll mourn them as more than just objects as well.