The Rainbow Bridge
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch. It wasn't long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.
He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over the Rainbow Bridge.
With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren't playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn't understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him. "You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge."
The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life. "Watch and see" said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.
"That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn't place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge."
"I think I like rescuers", said the first animal.
"So does God," said the second.
She thanked us for what we do and the visits we make and for our beautiful dogs.
I wanted to send this to you about meeting the most inspirational woman on our visit – she told us she was dying of cancer. She was so positive and so thrilled to see the dogs and thankful that God had given her time to tell her family and loved ones her goodbye’s and that she loved them. She had a 3 year old Bichon/Shih Tzu mix that reminded her of GiGi and she held and kissed the dogs. Her dog was going to stay with her daughter who had 4 children and already was very taken with her daughter and the children. So, she was relieved that her little dog would be well cared for and happy. I believe the woman’s name was Barbara and Paul & I were inspired by her positive attitude and faith. She was going home on Monday (I’m guessing to have Hospice care at home) with her daughter. She thanked us for what we do and the visits we make and for our beautiful dogs. We spent quite a while with her and had the dogs do their little dances for her – her brother was there with her. She asked us if we thought dogs went to heaven – and we both said “We would like to think they do” I also told her that my dad & mom (my dad especially) loved dogs and that I was sure both he and my mom had a whole lap full of our dogs that had gone before. She got sort of teary and said that she thought they did too.
That’s why our visits bring people into our lives that really touch us in ways you never imagine. The thing is she didn’t even look that sick – she was maybe in her 70’s – maybe not even that old.. She was in a wheel chair and mentioned that she got tired easily but really looked pretty healthy. What a lovely person – we said “God Bless you” before we left– and she said “He already has by giving me a wonderful life and your visit made it that much better”. She said “May God Bless you and all the joy you bring people and for doing what you do and your beautiful dogs”. Even though it was sad – we didn’t feel that way because she seemed so at peace with her life and her many blessings.
As long as I could remember, I’ve always had a heart for comforting those in a time of need. I’m not sure what brought me to the shelter that day, but I couldn't help but feel like I was meant to be there at that exact moment in time.
They brought her in to me. We were in a dimly lit room littered with broken dog toys. When our eyes met for the first time, there was a feeling of familiarity, though we had never seen each other before. I saw in her eyes something broken, something in need of redemption, but something also so full of hope.
I got down low next to her, and just sat in silence. I’ve never said much, and at this moment silence was all we needed.
She began leaning on me. I began leaning back on her.
The minutes turned into an hour, and before I knew it our time in the room was up.
I had been in this same room many times before with others. But nothing ever clicked. This time, however, was different.
That day, we walked out of that shelter side by side. The beginning of a beautiful friendship.
And my tail wagged all the way home.
There’s a funny thing about this story you see. When I hear my human tell it, she gets it a bit wrong. The details are all the same, but the roles are reversed. Oddly enough, my human thinks she rescued me. Little does she know, I rescued her.
In a shelter somewhere at this very moment is one of my brothers or sisters. Waiting. Not just to be rescued, but to rescue.
Let us be your hero. Let us pull you out of whatever struggle you’re going through.
Please adopt. Because it WILL save a life, and that life might just be your own.
THE DAY I RESCUED MY BEST FRIEND...
Subject: If ever you thought it is too much trouble to own, maintain and involve your pet as a therapy dog . . . . .
There is always a football game, unfinished TV movie, yard work, family picnic or some other legitimate reason to consider, "do I really feel like going to my weekly PAWS obligation today?" If we were all completely honest, we probably would admit that we ask the same question even without a legitimate reason from time to time!
And then, on those rare occasions, the reason why we do this is made apparent.
On Sunday January 11th the usual Emeritus Carrollwood crowd congregated for the much loved parade of the dogs throughout the facility. It is clear that EVERYBODY loves the dogs but still, we question . . . .
The smiles come upon everybody's faces (staff included) but still, we question . . . .
Even some of the curmudgeons smile at the dogs until they are noticed and have to wipe the grin off their faces, but still, we question . . . .
After about 30 minutes of the usual activity, a very sweet lady named Joan pointed her finger at me from across the room and signaled that I should come to her. This was unusual because although a very nice lady, she is not one of the "dog lover's" per se. Sooooooo, Casey and I meandered over toward her.
I asked her if she would like to pet Casey (couldn't offer her a doggie kiss, greyhounds don't go in for that sort of thing) and she quickly said "no". Well, I was a bit perplexed and just chatted with her awkwardly for a bit and resisted the urge to ask what in the world she wanted if not the dog, heaven knows it couldn't be that she is that interested in speaking to me LOL!
Finally she said that she thinks it is great that the dogs come every Sunday. "It means a lot to the residents" she said further. Well, this is very gratifying but not exactly a revelation. And then she said, "Do you see the lady across the room who always sits in that corner chair? She waits for the dogs there, every Sunday."
She was referring to Adlepha (sp?) who we affectionately refer to as "the dog whisperer". She indeed loves the dogs and buries her face in theirs and talks to them, all of them.
Joan went on further and said that today Adelpha, a woman who must be close to 90 and whom she has observed every Sunday for scores of Sundays, "today glowed" when she hugged the dogs. Joan is a very intelligent, conversant and cogent woman, (speaking with me while holding a half-read book in her lap). She is not medicated and has full possession of her faculties.
She was careful to make sure that I did not confuse her intended literal "glowed" with a less meaningful figurative "glowed". She said that she glowed and her face became young and beautiful. She was alert and you could very clearly see that her eyes were wide open, brilliant and bright.
Adelpha is blind.
I will leave it to you to figure out. Did the dogs have such a profound effect on Adelpha that it transformed her presence for a moment to a more youthful time or was a sense of joy at the dogs' therapy work imparted to Joan and she was experiencing a lift to her own soul? Maybe both? Does it really matter?
**This article is courtesy of Casey's Dad - Alex. They frequently visit the Brookdale facility in Tampa, FL.
**Thank you for this heartfelt and enlightening article.
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I've seen death stare me in my own eyes
The way many of you cannot know,
I've seen death take others
But still left me here below.
I've heard many screams and many cried
But death refused to hear.
And in my life I've seen faces filled with many, many tear.
After death has come and gone
the tombstone still left for many to see.
It’s no more than a symbol of a person’s memory.
I've seen my share of tombstones
But never took the time to truly read.
The meaning what's behind there for all the others to see.
Under the person’s name it read the date of birth - dash and the date the person passed.
The more I think about the tombstone the only important thing is the dash.
Yes, I see the name of the person but that I might forget
I also read the date of birth and death
But even that might not stick.
But thinking about the individual
In fact, I can’t help it but to remember the dash.
Because it represents a person’s life and that will always last.
So when you begin to charter your life
Make sure you're on a positive path.
Because people may forget your birth and death but will never forget your dash.
More Poetry from Author Unknown:
One of the residents Breezy and I visit each week (Steve) recently passed away. We had known him for almost 3 years. He loved Breezy. We both adored this dear man. I decided to attend his funeral. And I actually stood up and said a few words about our experiences together. After the ceremony, a family member of his approached me. She said that Steve had told her about Breezy many times. And at the time of his death, he had a picture of Breezy next to him, on his night table.
No one should ever underestimate the powerful connections our pets make with the folks we visit.
Neil & Breezy
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"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.
You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
Forget the bad, and focus on the good.
Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't.
Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."
Points to Ponder