Serena Williams says tearful goodbye to pet dog she's had since she was 17

hellomagazine.com

Serena Williams was devastated after her pet dog Jackie passed away on Tuesday. Calling her four-legged friend her "angel", Serena paid an emotional tribute to Jackie on Instagram.

The tennis ace, who is currently ranked number one in women's singles, got her pet dog when she was 17 – just two weeks before she won her first Grand Slam in 1999.

Little Jackie accompanied Serena to various tennis matches and even modelled with her on photoshoots.

My angel

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Serena Williams got her pet dog in 1999 – two weeks before she won her first Grand Slam

"Today really is hard for me," wrote Serena. "My special friend whom I got at 17 (2 weeks before I won my very first Grand Slam) left me today. She was 16 years young and up until a few days ago was still sprinting. Her poor body gave out this morning and she had a way of telling me it was time for me to be brave and let her go.

"With my dad by my side we were able to say a loving goodbye. She was with me from 1999 until today and I miss her so much. I got out of the shower this afternoon and she was not there to lick my leg as she always did everyday to remind me how much she loved me. I feel so lucky to have such a special friend.

Today really is hard for me. My special friend in which I got at 17 (2 weeks before I won my very first Grand Slam) left me today. She was 16 years young and up until a few days ago was still sprinting. Her poor body gave out this morning and she had a way of telling me it was time for me to be brave and let her go. With my dad by my side we were able to say a loving goodbye. She was with me from 1999 until today and I miss her so much. I got out of the shower this afternoon and she was not there to lick my leg as she always did everyday to remind me how much she loved me. I feel so lucky to have such a special friend. Give your dog, cat, pet a big hug. #breakingheart #bff Jackie Baila Pete Williams I will miss you and your memory will live forever.

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

"She had a way of telling me it was time for me to be brave and let her go," wrote Serena

"Give your dog, cat, pet a big hug. #breakingheart #bff Jackie Baila Pete Williams I will miss you and your memory will live forever."

Broken-hearted Serena shared another photo collage of Jackie with her other sweet canine friends. The animal-lover wrote: "Lauralei, Chip, and Mommy miss you so much. We will never forget u. ❤ thank you for the kindness and joy you brought us."

"Thank you for the kindness and joy you brought us," she added

Earlier that day Serena had explained on Snapchat that Jackie was ill.

"She's an amazing, amazing dog and I love her so much," said the Wimbledon champion. "She's getting old and she's really struggling. She means the world to me and she's made my life better."

Activate HELLO! alerts and find out about everything before anyone else.