A common belief amongst pet lovers is that their beloved pets which have gone on before them will be waiting at a place called RAINBOW BRIDGE. A comfort at the time of a pet's death...

RAINBOW BRIDGE?

I shut my eyes, recalling my menagerie --

Will they be waiting for ME at RAINBOW BRIDGE?

My eyes glaze over. I am translated to a future time. I'm in a valley filled with flowers and shrubs. The dew, like little dancing fairies, glistens on the leaves. Into my mind flash the lines of a poem:"Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge."  I am enveloped in a rainbow, standing on a bridge. I gasp.

Overhead is a multitude of birds: crows, jays, starlings, sparrows, robins, oriels, canaries, humming birds. Birds I have fed and attended over the years? I look below, into the tinkling water .... Goldfish? They look familiar. Could they be the ones I used to care for?  Then I hear barking, mewing, braying, bleating, cooing, crowing. Behold a troop is hurrying across the bridge. Pets from my past? To greet me?

Skipper puts his gigantic paws on my shoulders and licks my face. Oh what a good dog was Skip, a shepherd, in the true sense of the word: faithful, intelligent, loving, and protective of all his domain. I recall his untimely death when a heartless driver intentionally swerved to hit him. The memories of the all-night vigil I spent with him, weeping, praying, holding him, wishing him to live, but waiting for his inevitable death, bring tears streaming down my face. I return Skip's kiss. He removes his paws from my shoulder and steps aside, making way for …

I am swept off my feet as numerous dogs and cats swarm around me, barking, purring, licking the tears from my face. I blink my eyes. Ah yes, I recognize them: Scruffy, Beaver, Rocky – and a dozen more. I call each by name as they clamber around me, recalling that period of my life that they were a part of. Each seems to have a smile for me … I feel a soft touch on my leg. I look down. My blind cat, Baby? But now she can see me. I pick her up and cuddle her. She had meant so much to me, and oh how I missed her. And here she is to greet me!

The sound of clitter-clatter of feet startle me. I turn my head. I can't believe it! A goat on RAINBOW BRIDGE! "Maggie?" She kicks her feet in the air. But she hadn't come alone. I turn, feeling a woolly head nuzzle my hand. "George!" -- my pet lamb who had met an untimely death. This was too much! Then, coming from all directions, rabbits - too numerous to name, but remembered just the same, swarm around my feet. And a furry nuzzling at my ankles attracts my attention. I reach down, feeling my chinchilla --"Happy"! ...Then the familiar "cock-a-doodle-do", "cut-cut-kadakit" of the dozens of bantam chickens I had given Biblical names to. All pets from my past.

I hear a fluttering over head: Chip, our pigeon, accompanied by a few budgies and a cockatiel land on my shoulder … Glorying in their attention, I glance to my left. Slithering up the side of the bridge is a salamander. Rescued from certain death, Sammy lived a life of ease in an aquarium for several years. I touched his cold, smooth back. He grinned.

Something furry crawling around my feet makes me look down. Guinea pigs? So many of them: such fun it was, creating an outdoor, protected, home for these little creatures. And they're here too? The tears begin again.

I hear a rustling in the bush in the valley below the bridge. Looking up at me with doleful eyes are a couple of deer. Oh yes, I remember! The deer that came into our yard each morning, nibbling at the hay we had left out for them …They seem to smile at me … I sigh …

I begin to stir, to come out of my trance. But wait! There's something wrong. What about my present pets? My loyal dogs and loving cats? Where are they? I open my mouth to call out their names, but I have no voice.

A sharp bark! I sit up. A pile of cats fall off my chest. Corky and Peppy are licking my tears. I smile. My arms reach out to pet each one. They haven't abandoned me! I'm not on RAINBOWBRIDGE. I am at home.

I begin to laugh, a funny thought striking me:
"Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge where all our pets will meet us, to escort us o'er the ridge.”
What a troop there'll be to greet ME, one day on RAINBOW BRIDGE ... If there IS some place called RAINBOW BRIDGE.

Helen Dowd

Ed's Note: If you want to know more about the Rainbow Bridge story - written by William N Britton, click on this link:  

A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras

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