The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again. Just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pets, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
The Rainbow Bridge Rescuer
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of 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 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 of 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 of 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 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."
WELCOME AT RAINBOW BRIDGE
On the morning of September 11, 2001, there was an unprecedented amount of activity at the Rainbow Bridge. Decisions had to be made. They had to be made quickly. And, they were.
An issue, not often addressed here, is the fact that many residents really have no loved one for whom to wait. Think of the pups that lived and died in hideous puppy mills. No one on earth loved or protected them. What about the many that spent unhappy lives tied in backyards? And, the ones who were abused. Who are they to wait for?
We don't talk about that much up here. We share our loved ones as they arrive, happy to do so. But we all know there is nothing like having your very own person who thinks you are the most special pup in the Heavens.
Last Tuesday morning a request rang out for pups not waiting for specific persons to volunteer for special assignment. An eager, curious crowd surged excitedly forward, each pup wondering what the assignment would be.
They were told by a solemn voice that unexpectedly, all at once, over 4,000 loving people had left Earth long before they were ready. All the pups, as all pups do, felt the humans' pain deep in their own hearts. Without hearing more, there was a clamoring among them "May I have one to comfort?" "I'll take two, I have a big heart." "I have been saving kisses forever."
One after another they came forward begging for assignment. One cozy-looking fluffy pup hesitantly asked, "Are there any children coming? I would be very comforting for a child 'cause I'm soft and squishy and I always wanted to be hugged."
A group of Dalmatians came forward asking to meet the Firemen and be their friends. The larger working breeds offered to greet the Police Officers and make them feel at home. Little dogs volunteered to do what they do best, cuddle and kiss.
Dogs who on Earth had never had a kind word or a pat on the head, stepped forward and said, "I will love any human who needs love." Then all the dogs, wherever on Earth they originally came from, rushed to the Rainbow Bridge and stood waiting, overflowing with love to share, each tail wagging an American Flag.