the Rainbow Bridge

I didn’t really start believing in an actual higher power until I lost a parent. Many others that I know say the same thing. The notion of a magical place in the clouds that houses our loved ones after they shed their mortal shell, where they look as they did in their prime before sickness or age took them away from their pain is a far fetched notion in this day of science and reason. But it sounds like a hell of an idea and if it gives you comfort, then go for it. It did for me. We all grieve differently.

Grief is a powerful thing. When someone suffers a loss we want to say something, we want to do something. The bitch of it is that there is nothing we can say or do, it’s a personal process that really never ends it only gets less difficult over time. If you are lucky. It is a matter of patching the giant hole that the loss of a loved one leaves in us.

Our human vanity challenges the notion that the loss of a pet can be as traumatic as the loss of a human. They’re only animals after all, right?
I won’t go so far as to say that an animal is on the scale of a human but I will tell you that to many, most(?), our furry friends are not just pets. They occupy our hearts and minds and command a level of love and companionship that comes in a photo finish second.

I lost my first dog when I was in High School. We adopted a Brittany Springer Spaniel from a shelter when I was 4. He was a hunting dog that was trained too early and was gun shy, rendering him useless to hunters. He was my absolute best friend in the world. To call him a loyal companion would be the understatement of the century. He was by my side everywhere I went. He saved my life once. I was crossing our street and a school bus was barreling down the hill. He ran across the street and tackled me. The bus missed us by inches. He wasn’t just a pet. When I drove to NH one summer day over Summer Vacation I was met with the dour faces of my parents, who told me that he was put down. I was crushed and remained that way for a long time. There was a hole in my life. It was at that time that I saw the poem “the Rainbow Bridge.”

We have had a series of dogs since then. I wasn’t as close to any of them as I was to my first but I loved them so very much and losing them was never easy. Recently we put down our Laso Apso of 14 years. That was a tough one for my mother and I, he was an amazing companion. Smart, loyal and goofy and a constant presence. His loss crushed my mother. This time she said “no more dogs. It’s too hard to lose them.”

I agreed with her on the “hard to lose” them part. But I didn’t agree with the no more dogs thing. The one thing about animals that differs from humans is that, while you can’t replace them, you can fill the hole left by a pet. The mistake we make is that we don’t want to do them a dishonor by “replacing” them and in the process we forget that we have an opportunity to at least fill the empty place in our lives.

Having said that, six months after putting down our beloved Laso, we got another dog. A beautiful Cocker Spaniel named Sammy (Samuel L. Spaniel).

My mother’s frown turned upside down from the first day that we got him and I have to say that her life is better with him in it. He is loyal, friendly, funny, goofy and absolutely full of love for her. He has chosen her as his favorite and I’m fine with it, it was her hole to fill more than mine.

If you are a person who doesn’t want a dog because you feel that their lives are too short and the pain is too much, please focus on the wonderful times you are missing out on. Having something that is always happy to see you, missed you like you had been lost at sea, adores you unconditionally and can comfort you without having to know what’s bothering you is a treasure in and of itself.

If you are a person who doesn’t want to get another to fill the hole, remember that it is not about replacing, it is about mending the massive void in your life. Once you’ve known the unconditional friendship and admiration of a pet you really can’t go without it. As you sit on a park bench worrying about everything, your dog is sitting next to you thinking that you are their entire world.

How many people can you say that about?

I’m more likely to believe in heaven if I were to have all of the wonderful dogs I have been blessed to know waiting for me to walk by my side once again as I cross over.

28 thoughts on “the Rainbow Bridge”

  1. Hello Billy!!
    Thanx for the Rainbow Bridge. I’d never read it.
    Great post, per your usual. One omission that I must point out though in consideration of adoption: we are providing a home for some poor furry soul that needs it. It’s not just about us, our feelings, and what we get. It’s also about what we give – it’s a circle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Day Billy! Awe… pets… I love my dogs! All that I’ve ever owned and the hubby’s family and mine all have dogs! Lots of pain comes with loss but it is a personal journey through all this. You are correct! But life without unconditional love? Is that ever fulfilling? Not from my perspective! ~k

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, you know my thoughts on dogs and gods. I couldn’t live without the former. 😉 😁

    Marvel turned 8 months old this month and he’s more terror now than ever. His chewing stages and incessant gnawing on his older brothers has gotten worse, and it’s worse because he’s the biggest animal in the house now. Poor Ludo is frightened to run after his ball now, in fear that he will be tackled. Is that PTSD?

    Sammy is beautiful, and that’s a great picture of all three of you!

    (Motorcycles are people, too 😉 )

    Congrats on the new edition!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I lost my cat a year ago. It hurts as much now as it did then. He was only 12 and pretty young really for a cat to die. We had to make the decision in the end – one he was super fit and healthy the next super sick and in pain. It happened so devastatingly quickly. I still have his sister and wouldn’t be without her. Thanks for sharing, a lovely read for sure 🐱

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have no pets at this time. Kids and grandkids all do and they visit, but taking on a companion that needs walks and care is expensive and probably not in my future. However I have been craving some of our pets that have passed on. It is heartbreaking.


  6. I loved this Billy, being a firm believer in Rainbow Bridge and when my time comes, my instructions are to go with a pocket full of dog biscuits for my fur babies. I am content with the thought that my Mum and Dad are together in the Garden of Forever and their loyal pets are with them too. When we lost Barney, we weren’t ready…….. a freak accident in the garden as he was playing and we were faced with the heartbreaking decision. We had to put him first, and stayed with him. I lasted 6 days before getting Maggie. She’ll be 15 in January, so five years older than Barney was when we lost him and we both know we will be devastated. I say we won’t get another dog, and maybe we won’t immediately, but my heart is too big and full of love for them, that I reckon we will. Not as a replacement as our dogs all hold a special place, but to make a new place unique to them, and us.
    They’re not just pets, they are family, and give so much for so little.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I love dogs, no matter the size or breed, and most seem to like me. I don’t mind being trashed or licked within an inch of my life because when we’re walking Maggie, I wear doggy walking clothes and expect to get wet living near the beach! Hubby says he cannot imagine me without one, and he;s probably right. Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We’ve had dogs and cats forever. I can’t imagine not having one, although I’m not sure we will get another when this one goes. It’s hard. I’m glad you got another one and that you mom is happy.

    Liked by 2 people

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