Melissa Ordway, Abby Newman, JPI, Y&R
Credit: John Paschal/JPI

It’s never easy to say goodbye.

Those who follow Melissa Ordway on Instagram know that being a mother is just as important as it is to The Young and the Restless‘ Abby — if not more so. The actress isn’t just the mother of two kids, though, but of five — her two daughters, Olivia and Sophie, and three pups, Lily, Teddy and Riley.

Now, though, that wonderful family is down by one, as Riley has, sadly, passed on.

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Ordway offered a heartbreaking tribute to her lost fur-baby on Instagram, writing that, “Riley, my companion, my journal, my first child, the sweetest boy. One of a kind. I’ll never forget the first time I saw you. You stole my heart. 16 years of memories.”

As dog lovers know, 16 years is an incredible, beautifully full life, but that just makes it harder to say goodbye to someone who’s been a part of your family for so long.

“Thank you for being an angel here on earth,” Ordway continued. “Now you’re amongst all the angels in heaven. I know you’re playing with your brothers and running after a soccer ball. I love you. We all love you. We will miss you every day.”

Along with the post, the actress shared the most adorable life in photos that we’ve seen, making clear just how much Riley was loved, and how important he was — and still is — to his human family.

Her co-stars began offering their sympathy almost immediately, with Lauralee Bell (Christine) saying she was “Thinking of you all! So, so hard,”

Courtney Hope jumped in, saying, “I’m so, so sorry. What a gift… Sending you love,” while Sally’s onscreen nemesis, Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), echoed the sentiment.

“Oh Meliss,” Egan mourned with her friend, “I’m so, so sorry. They are our babies. Sending you soooo much love.”

And babies they are. One of the photos Ordway shared in tribute was from just this past Mother’s Day, when the actress gathered all her “babies that have made me a momma in one photo… I’m a happy girl.”

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Today, sadly, that happiness is muted, as Ordway’s family mourns the loss of one of their own.

We don’t want to leave you with a heavy heart, though, so before you head out, though, why not take a look at a gallery full of more joyful times looking back at the real-life romance between Ordway and hubby Justin Gaston.