Tag Archives: rainbow bridge

In the End –All that is Left are Memories and Paper




It’s been a week now, and if somebody asks me about that day last week Axel went to the rainbow bridge I cry. The house has never seemed so empty, and the world outside has become quiet. Much as people still try to make me see my decision was right, I keep second-guessing what I did and descend into a pit of guilt. The thing is, even veterinarians who are trained in pet care are oftentimes just making their best guess, because our dear pets can’t talk; they just can’t tell us what’s wrong.

I’m no stranger to death. Am I confusing other past losses of life with his? Is it now somehow bound up with this grief? I think loss is loss, and when loved ones – human or animal – go we feel it acutely. I realize now how dependent I was on Axel after Angelo died, and why I am grieving so intensely. I still keep looking at his picture and find myself saying, “I’m sorry”. I keep wondering if I was 7 years-old might I be able to accept and process Axel’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

The only thing I’m grateful for is the fact my worst fears weren’t realized – I didn’t want to die before he did. It’s a small consolation now. Yesterday I finally opened a card from the Valley Veterinary Clinic. Through my tears I saw that it had been signed by the whole staff and that a donation would be made in memory of Axel to help care for animals in need. They had no idea that some nights I parked my car in their parking lot for a few moments as I knew his body was still there until Monday. Or yesterday, I stood on the edge of the road in view of Waggs’ N Whiskers on Highway 7 and watched the dogs play outside from a distance.

I’m a writer, and I need to process my grief by writing, so that’s what I am doing. But, the moral to this story is, no matter how much you love them, sometimes you have to let them go. Never let anyone suffer and live, love and do your best. The world was a better place with him but the last thing he would want for me is to be sad— and animals are as real to us as our family and friends. But there’s one huge difference–our relationship with our pets is so uncomplicated, so pure and simple – they need us -and don’t ask us to be anything other than who we are. In my world of being a whole lot different than other people, it can be a close call. But he didn’t care about that, he just knew I was brave enough to be myself. I loved him and I did my best for him, and in the end, I made his pain stop. I am really trying not to regret that, as a quiet death in loving company is the best any of us can hope for.


A Message from the Rainbow Bridge

I interviewed Pam Knowles from Waggs N Whiskers just outside of Carleton Place this week. Not only was I in tears a few times  as she spoke about pet rescue, she also donated a Gift Certificate to the Ladies Who Lunch event at the Town Hall June 6th. (A $75 gift certificate that can be used towards their services (Doggy Daycare/Boarding or the Off-Leash Dog Parks)
We spoke at length about pets and what they mean to us, and then about those who have little chance. It brought me back to a story I wrote about angels who look after our animals. Her interview will be published week, but meantime– read this amazing story about a rescued animal.

Animals are smarter than we give them credit for, and some believe that dogs are our guardian angels. There are no words that are even needed between animal lovers who have lost and then miraculously found a cherished part of their lives they thought they’d never see or have again.

Tito was a mixed breed of happiness that made his way into everyone’s heart in my building when I lived there. Some days he thought I was kind of odd, but there was no doubt about the love that he had for his owner Evan. For years Evan and Tito were inseparable until one day Tito wasn’t walking very well and you could see he was in pain. It was a sad moment in Evan’s life when he found out that Tito had bone cancer. He vowed he would do everything that was humanly possible to help his dog, and from that day on Tito was the primary focus of Evan’s life.

Tito had his ups and downs, but some how he grabbed on to life and lived it to its fullest. One day his pain seemed to lessen, and suddenly he began to walk easily, and we all thought Tito was going to make it. Of course when you have cancer most endings are not so positive, and a few months later Tito began to fail. The last thing Evan wanted was for his beloved dog to suffer and each time he thought it was the end Tito rebounded.

The rebounds came less frequently and Evan knew Tito’s days were numbered. One day he decided to have one last weekend with his dog before Tito went to the Rainbow Bridge. They shared all Tito’s favourite places and when the weekend was over Evan knew the time had come. The vet was slated to arrive that evening but Tito died naturally in Evan’s arms before the scheduled hour.

Life after the death of a pet is painful, and Evan informed everyone he was not going to get another dog for a long time. A few weeks ago on Thanksgiving Evan journeying up a mountain road to Tito’s burial place with a friend. Initially it was to pay respects to his loving dog, but also to bury his friend’s pet who had died next to Tito. Suddenly, running in the middle of the road was a 7-week-old Pitbull puppy. Immediately his friend looked at Evan and said,

“It’s Tito man, go get him!”

Was it his reincarnated pet? Truthfully, it was probably the only survivor of a dumped unwanted litter, but if you believe in magic like I do– it was Tito. Is there a “telepathic linkup” between dogs and their humans?

“If a miracle is something that happens without physical explanation and seems to defy everything we know about a particular aspect of our world, then these are miracles,” said Brad Steiger, who co-authored “Four-Legged Miracles: Heartwarming Tales of Lost Dogs’ Journeys Home,” with his wife, Sherry Hansen Steiger.

I hope that if my dog ever dies he would some how find his way home to me in some capacity. Animals love us unconditionally and they come into our lives to attempt to teach us the same. Humans, being the slow learners that we are, continue to need the lessons they teach us.

The more I see of people and their lies and self centeredness, the more I love all the animals and their selfless love for people who love and care for them. Wherever little Aubrey came from will remain a mystery, but in my eyes it will always be a message from Tito on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

― Will Rogers

Photos of Little Miss Aubrey  by Steve Yaver