The joys of owning a dog are many and great, but biding that final farewell can be as painful as losing a loved one. Dogs are, after all, our loved ones too.
There’s an email that circulates every now and again about a boy who lost his dog and was able to make sense of that pain in a comforting way.
The boy said that people need to live a long life to learn how to love unconditionally and live to the fullest. Dogs, he said, are born knowing how to do this and because of that, they don’t need to spend as much time on Earth as people do.
I like that.
Personally, I’ve never had one of those final goodbyes. Sensi is my first dog, my only dog, my baby. He’s not much of a baby anymore — more like an old man, nowadays — and I know that one day, we’ll have to part ways. I dread it. I often catch myself looking at him and wishing he could grow old with us and be with us always.
I know we’re on borrowed time with him. And in reality, we’re all on our borrowed time when it comes to our pets. One day, we all have to say that final goodbye, give that last scratch behind the ear, the last belly rub and receive that last slobbering kiss from our furry friends.
I read a blog post yesterday that brought me to tears. The emotion that comes through in this piece of writing is just overwhelming.
I encourage everyone to give it a read, but only after you’ve moved a box of Kleenex within reach of the computer.
Because I really, really want everyone to take a moment and read how a dog captured a man’s heart, I’m including the first paragraph. It will leave you wanting more.
It is titled Dear Oscar ...
“We lost you this week, my friend. And I’ve been missing you horribly since Thursday when you died. Writing you a letter is stupid; dogs can’t read, and even if they could read I suppose you’d have to be alive to pull that off. But I deal with stuff by writing, so you get your very own letter, big boy! To Oscar with love, from the person you adopted as ‘yours.’”
Click here to continue reading Christopher Barger’s final goodbye letter to his much loved dog.
For Christopher and all those who have grieved or will grieve over the loss of a dog, here is a piece of writing I received a long time ago. I hope it provides a little comfort in this time of grief:
The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called the 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 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 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 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 ...