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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Healing the Loss of a Pet

By: Nancy Freier

Last December I did the hardest thing I ever had to do - say goodbye to my kitty, Rhett Butler, aka "Big Baby B" after nearly 16 years of sweet love and companionship. I looked in my book to read what the angels had to say about grief, Heaven Help Me, and agreed they are right... Pets really do open our hearts to love! "B," as I fondly called him, was ill and I had to have the vet put him to sleep. If you have ever faced this heart-wrenching moment, you well know it is not an easy thing to do! As the veterinarian explained what B's chances for survival were, it was clearly the only humane decision I could make. How could I be sure I had made the right decision? I was in agony on top of my grief.

It was a busy waiting room and Jim and I felt rushed in saying our goodbyes. At one point the vet's assistant came and took B away. Oh, the sting! I basically freaked out knowing I would never see him again. I wasn't finished! How could I be finished? Didn't they understand the sting of death? Oh, how would I live after this? A river of tears flowed all the way home. My baby was gone. I prayed and asked my angels to arrange a visit from B whenever the time was right. Funny how we always want to know that our deceased loved ones are okay!

We went for a walk to work off the restless anxiety that follows the death of a loved one. Suddenly, a little bird flew from a tree and into a plate glass window to his death. Wow, life is short! What could be the meaning of this, anyway? We walked home and opened my book to the chapter on grief and looked up the following question... What happens to our pets and other animals when they die?

This is what my angel Sreper said. "Animals, particularly your beloved pets, have the purpose of opening human hearts to love. It is much easier for humans to love an animal than another person for the simple reason that animals live in total unconditional love. They do not judge. They are made of pure love and can only emanate that which they are."

To heal my grief, the angels said to become completely quiet and ask in prayer to be connected with my beloved kitty. "Know that your pets are with you now as they were before," I read. "They have been great teachers for you, just look at how open your heart is to love! This love can be extended to others - thanks to your friends in the animal kingdom. Keep your heart open, for your pets shall live there still. Be happy for them in their new freedom. Celebrate their life instead of their passing. That is their wish for you."

A day or so later I discovered a website for grieving pet owners and read a short story I had never seen before called "The Rainbow Bridge" (see below). A copy of The Rainbow Bridge was also enclosed in a condolence card sent from the vet who put my kitty to sleep.

Then relief came in a dream about three weeks later. In the dream I was visiting B in a park in my childhood hometown where he was waiting for me... a place called Rainbow Park! It was a miracle! It was all I needed to know in my heart of hearts that the place refered to as The Rainbow Bridge was real!

The Rainbow Bridge (Author unknown)

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills, and valleys - with lush green grass. When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food, water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who were sick or maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.

There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special friends who loved them on Earth. Each day they run and play until that day comes when one of them suddenly stops playing and looks up. Their nose twitches! And this one suddenly runs from the group.

YOU have been seen, and when you and your Special Friend meet, you take him/her in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your sweet, dear pet.

Then, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never to be separated again.

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