Pets Forever In My Heart, Though Departed
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 the Rainbow Bridge together...
(Click on any photo to enlarge, close, then go to the next.)
I regret that I have no picture of Smudge "The First," but he was a dear little kitten that wandered onto my front porch and gave me many years of love. Smudge came along in 1992 and passed away in 2001.
"A Man And His Dog"
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years, too. He then wondered where the road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed bright in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he then saw a very magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
He and the dog walked toward the gate; as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the traveler asked the man.
"Of course, sir, come right in, I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me," he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there." The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."
"How about my friend here?" The traveler gestured to the dog.
"Sure, there should be a bowl by the pump." They both went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to his dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
"This is Heaven," was the answer.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope, that's Hell."
"Why, doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?" asked the traveler.
"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."