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.
and play together,
but the day comes when one suddenly stops
and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver.
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 pet,
so long gone from your life
but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
The scene is the fields at the Rainbow Bridge. A dog appears; looking confused. A black cocker/poodle mix comes up to the dog.
Nessie: Hi! Welcome to the Rainbow Bridge! My name is Nessie. What's yours?
Dog: I don't know. Where am I?
N: You're at the Rainbow Bridge. When we leave Earth, we come here. We are young and healthy again, and we can run and play and have fun until our humans come.
D: (very scared): You mean humans are here, too?
N: (with a yip of understanding) Oh! You never had a special human who loved you, did you?
D: Human? Love?
Nessie looks around, and calls to a black Doberman running laps in the fields.
N: Tia! Do you have some time?
Tia comes running up.
T: Hi, Nessie! Who's this?
N: He's a new arrival to the Bridge. He never had a special human as we did. I thought maybe you could explain it better than I could.
T: I can try. I think you may have been like me, friend. When I was young, the human I was with hurt me and scared me. My memories are of hurting hands and loud angry voices. Fortunately, I was very lucky. I was rescued by two wonderful people. They took me into their home. For over ten years I had good food, fresh water, a comfortable place to sleep, room to run, and lots of love and attention. Eventually, though, I became old and tired. I came here, where I have more energy than I had even as a puppy. I can run for hours and hours and hours. Someday, my two special humans will come here: we will have a wonderful reunion and then we will cross that beautiful Bridge there. We will never again be separated.
D (wistfully): That sounds so nice. What will happen with me?
T: Well, you can run and play here for as long as you want. You can learn about fun and love. If you want, you can learn about special humans.
T: We dogs don't live as long as most humans on Earth. So, usually we arrive here first and have fun while we wait for our special humans. Sometimes, however, the human gets here first. They wait here for their special dogs. Those waiting often welcome a chance to pet and spend time with dogs while they are waiting. I saw one of them sitting on the other side of this field a while ago. Would you like to meet her?
D: Are you sure she won't hurt me?
T: I can guarantee it. No human who comes here would deliberately hurt a dog. I don't know where the people who do hurt and abuse dogs go, but they are never seen here. Do you want to go?
Tia, Nessie and the dog cross the field. On the edge of the field a woman is sitting and looking off in the distance. Tia calls out to the woman.
T: Hi Pat! How are you today?
Pat: Hello, Tia, I'm fine today. Hello, Nessie. It's good to see you. Who's your friend?
N: He's a new arrival to the Bridge, Pat. He doesn't have a name. Nobody cared enough to give him a name while he was on Earth. We brought him over to meet you.
P: I'm glad you brought him here. I'm glad to meet you, boy. Would you like to sit next to me?
The dog gingerly sits next to Pat. She starts petting him gently.
P: Would you like to see what I was doing? (The dog nods). I was looking at Earth, looking at my two special dogs. Can you see them down there? It's the two Shih Tzus, there with those big dogs. Their names are Sparkle and Angel. When I came here, I was so worried about them. I don't worry about them now; they are with a wonderful person who loves them. I don't worry about them now, but I do like to sit here and watch their antics. See, Angel is now looking up at us. We miss each other, but know that the day will come when their time on Earth is finished and they will come here, and we will cross the Bridge together.
D: That sounds wonderful. Do you know what will happen to me?
P: Well, first you are going to stay here, and learn about fun and love and peace. When you feel ready, you have several options. You can stay here at the Bridge, helping dogs, other dogs that were neglected or abused or tortured, helping them learn about love. Another option is that you can find a special human.
D: I can?
P: Yes. There are two types of special humans who come here that you can connect with. The first are those with incredibly large hearts. They loved dogs so much when they were on Earth, that when they get here, they rescue a few more. Then they all cross the Bridge together. The other type are those who loved dogs, but who couldn't have one when they were on Earth, for some reason. Maybe they were allergic to dogs, or maybe some humans they lived with were allergic, or for some reason there was never a right time on Earth for them to have a dog. When they get here, they can finally find the right dog for them. They spend some time here, playing with and meeting dogs, and then cross the Bridge with the ones that are right for them.
D: That sounds wonderful.
P: I'm so glad you think so. Don't worry, you can take as much time as you need here before you make a decision on when you are ready to find the right human.
Pat starts scratching behind the dog's ear. He relaxes against her.
Reprinted with the permission of the author, Laurel Kristick,
Blessed Be, Steve (lurking in the undercoat)