“We’ll Be Together Again at Rainbow Bridge”
There is a poem that many of us who have lost our dear pets are only too familiar with. The author is unknown, but it’s clear that the author had a deep understanding of the feelings of grief and sadness when a pet dies.
The poem, “Rainbow Bridge” not only understands the deep feelings you had for your pet, but it helps you cope with the loss and comforts you, so you can begin the process of moving on.
On June 29, 2015, I said goodbye to Kiwi, my sweet little Yorke. She was a tiny package of 4 pounds of cuteness and sweetness. Kiwi came to me when she was already 8 years old. I was looking for a small dog for my daughter, Janelle, and my neighbor told me about a Yorke whose owners were negligent, and giving her away.
So it was, I rescued Kiwi. Her owners handed her to me, along with her cage. She was frightened, not groomed, thin, and wearing diapers. The first thing I did when they left, was removed her diapers, gave her a bath, and threw away her cage. The following week, I took her to the vet for a complete physical…and she had many more vet appointments thereafter. I believe because her medical needs were ignored for eight years, Kiwi’s health was not the best.
Aside from her bad teeth, Kiwi suffered through unexplained seizures at least twice a month, in the first 6 months I had her. I immediately fed her gluten-free homemade food and stopped all chemical flea medications. Within the next months, her seizures only occurred once every six months, and then hardly at all.
As the months passed, Kiwi was potty trained and running around with a beautiful smile, and a great appetite. She was no longer running under the bed when the doorbell rang. Her life had completely changed. She was free to run around, free to jump and sleep on the couch, free of seizures, and free to be the dog God wanted her to be.
Kiwi bonded with me, the furry girls, and my family quickly. Though she and I had our rough times with potty training and vet bills, she was a blessing in my life. Soon after Kiwi joined me and Pikachu, Coco joined us. Coco was my daughter’s new puppy. The same time I was getting Kiwi for my daughter, a friend gave her another puppy. So, Kiwi ended up “my dog”….and in about 6 months, Coco ended up with me too! And, so that’s how I ended up with three dogs, and the “Furry Sisterhood” was born — Pikachu, Kiwi, and Coco.
Kiwi was sweet and tiny, and so adorably cute. She fit in all my purses. She was truly created to be carried in a purse, and she loved every minute of it. During our daily walks, her two sisters would walk the trails at the end of their leashes, while Kiwi was chauffeured in my backpack which I carried in front of me. She had a great windshield view of the world!
Kiwi was also a fashionista, but not by choice! She put up with my sewing craziness, designing and up-cycling clothes into new creations to dress her up in. Kiwi tolerated my design antics and photo modeling sessions, remaining patient and sweet throughout. In the meantime, though Pikachu and Coco cooperated with me, they would give me “the look”. Through it all, I got my way…and they got treats!
Pikachu passed away just last year, and I’m still recovering from losing her. Losing Kiwi this year from cancer so soon after losing Pikachu, was a significant and traumatic loss for me. It feels like it all happened so fast and came from left field. By the time the cancer showed up on the outside, the damage was already too late on the inside. All the while, I held Kiwi close, until we had to say goodbye.
The level of grief of losing two dogs less than one year apart, brings an intense feeling of grief. There is a profound sense of guilt when you care for a pet through a protracted illness, like cancer. You grow to even love them more, so the choice of prolonging the life of your beloved pet, leaves you feeling a profound sense of guilt. Kiwi and Pikachu are together at Rainbow Bridge now.
I’m past the denial, anger, guilt, and depression now with losing Pikachu. I’ve accepted losing her and my grief comes in waves now. On the other hand, it’s altogether different with Kiwi. I’m past the denial, anger, and guilt, but the depression is still coming in waves. It’s much too soon. She came to me when she was 8 years old, and I only had her four short years, but I’m happy that I was able to give her the love, care, and home she deserved.
I expected the waves to gradually become less intense as time continued on after losing Pikachu, but after less than a year, my losing Kiwi sparked memories that triggered a strong sense of grief again. I know I can’t hurry the end of my grieving. It will unfold naturally in time. It helps that I can celebrate her life in this post. Writing about her is the beginning of my resolution.
I’ve been blessed by friends and family who understand and appreciate the companionship and love that a pet blesses us with. But, there are some who assume that pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as losing a friend, or family member; that it’s inappropriate to feel so much grief for an animal. I can only reply with, grief is personal and every person handles it in their own way. Sorrow and grief are normal responses to death, whether it’s for a human or a pet. Grief is grief, whether it’s for a beloved pet or a family member. Only time will heal the grief and help cope with the pain.
Remembering the fun and love I shared with Kiwi, with her sisters, Pikachu and Coco, will help me to eventually move on. It’s just Coco and me now. I’m not the only one surviving Kiwi’s leaving us. Coco too is experiencing a loss, not only because she misses both Pikachu and Kiwi, but she may also be distressed by my sorrow. So for her, I do try to maintain our normal routine, so she too can move on. Having Dottie (my sister’s dog) around every now and then, to care for while she is away, really helps Coco go through her loss. It’s important for her to have companionship and be with other furry friends during this time. It’s important for both of us to spend time with friends and family and…not to be alone.
Kiwi brought so much love, hugs, licks, tail wagging, snuggling, and protective barking for the short time she was with me. I don’t know if there is a Heaven for dogs, or if there really is a Rainbow Bridge, but I do believe that every animal is God’s gift to us. I believe that all the unconditional love and wonderful things they do for us without asking for anything in return, are all reflections of God’s teachings.
Kiwi was God’s gift to me, and she gifted me with all of God’s Glory. I thank God for the time she was with me, and the opportunity He gave me to know such love and happiness, even for a short time. I pray and continue to believe there is a Rainbow Bridge, and one day I will cross that bridge and meet up with all my beautiful pets, Brandy, Princess, Pikachu, and Kiwi.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. -Author Unknown-
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 pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….