My husband and I have been married 41 years and from the time we were first married we always had pets – dogs, cats, fish, horses. To us, they’re one of the family. When they hurt, we hurt and vice versa, as they always seem to know when you need a lick or a paw on the leg. We know when we bring an animal into our home and become attached that in all likelihood we’ll outlive them but we don’t think about that. We enjoy watching them grow and the cute stages they go through just as we did when our children were young. To us, the time spent with them day-in and day-out is worth the trade for however long that is.
Who could not fall in love with a puppy – how they snuggle and the
smell of their puppy breath (it’s as good as the smell of a brand new car); or a kitten how they jump straight up in the air when they play or how they chase after a string. What a precious gift from God – a companion so noble, a creature so wise. They know more about us than we do and yet they don’t tell. They just stay by our side letting us learn. Animals don’t question or complain – only a little nudging if we’ve gone past their dinner time. They love you no matter what mood you’re in – whether you’re ugly or kind. They don’t judge telling you, “I wish you would stop playing your music too loud”, or “You really messed up this time” (except for in the Garfield cartoons).
All through the years, our companions and my husband and I grow old together and it comes time for them to pass on. One of our horses, Jet, whom we had for over 20 years died suddenly this past weekend. He was lying down at feed time, colic we thought. But, it turned out he rolled, not from a stomach ache, and twisted his intestines, which is deadly for a horse. The words I’m writing can’t begin to express the emotions we felt - so surreal. So much pain and yet so much love - rich and deep. It puts you in touch with a part of your being that you know has never been touched before. We had to let Jet go and it was hard to listen to our mare call out to him throughout the night listening for his call in return. Love is for real and the animals know. Before Jet, a few years had passed since I lost a pet but whenever I do it takes me deeper into the mysteries of this beautiful, most wondrous life and I’m thankful to have these guardians along the way for companionship.
If you’ve lost an animal companion, please take heart in reading this famous poem, “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 pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
From the kitchen table - Pat
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