Over the Rainbow Bridge
Naturo Sales Manager Colin shares his experience of having a four-legged friend cross over the Rainbow Bridge. Heartwarming and touching, this blog is a story that unfortunately, many of us can relate to. However, Colin reminds us to stay positive and cherish all the time we have with our dogs and cats and to relish in the special memories we make with them.
Most of us have experienced the joy and pleasure that comes with introducing our new four-legged friend to our family and their new home. We find ourselves constantly living in the ‘now’ with them through all the training, playing, and cuddles. The hours of fun soon turn into months and years with our new family member.
Then one day, whether it is unexpected, or we had time to prepare, we have to say goodbye to our companion as they take their walk across Rainbow Bridge.
Having experienced both the joy and pain of being a pet parent, I thought I would share some of my personal experiences of bringing young pups into our family and then having to say goodbye.
A Cairn Terrier, Salsa was our first pup who joined us shortly after we got married 26 years ago. Together we conquered the art of toileting, walking and having some great fun every day - although we couldn’t conquer puppy classes!
At that time we never really thought about the “what ifs” – that would be many years away.
We had many years together, but just like their pet parents, joints get stiffer and walks get slower and illness can set in. Coming back from holiday we were informed Salsa had a stroke when we were away, and whilst she was “back to herself” we had to be aware of this.
Then, some dreaded lumps appeared on her neck and back. Despite working with the Vet to ensure she wasn’t in any discomfort or pain, she had a wee turn early one morning as we slept. We contacted the Vet immediately and within minutes met him at the surgery. Life was turned upside down very quickly with a signature, injection, a lot of tears (I am not ashamed to say I am emotional). Someone had once said the last kind thing you can do for your pet is remove any suffering…
Despite knowing Salsa had been ill the shock of the speed of the goodbye that morning was unreal.
Time to tell the family and then get on with life…I know may folk think it is only a dog or cat but as pet parents we know that definitely isn’t the case – it is a family member no longer with us. We were so sad and openly demonstrated this for a long time.
That morning, as the vet prepared her for the injection, she nipped my finger with her teeth as I held her. This was the first time ever she showed aggression in her life, and it developed as a small scar – her way of making sure I couldn’t forget her; as if I would! I still am reminded of her through that little scar, many years later.
We decided to wait a while before jumping into bringing another pup into our home, and then one day, sometime later, we agreed to seek a new family member to join us.
Macy joined us as an 8-week-old pup, and like her predecessor was a Cairn Terrier. Completely new challenges came with Macy having a different manner and attitude to life. Whilst Salsa could be quiet and reserved, liking her own space, Macy was outgoing, boisterous, and liked to be part of the party. She loved going to Walkapaws, our local kennels, for day care and holiday breaks – not even looking back at you when dropped her off!
Apart from the effects of older age as she became a member of the senior dog community, Macy was in good health.
Then one evening, after we celebrated my wife’s 50th birthday, we all went to bed for the night, not knowing that our walk that evening would be our last one. Our peaceful sleep was disrupted by the sound of Macy in distress, and, whilst she was in bed a few steps away from me, by the time I got to her she was unfortunately gone.
It would appear she had had a heart attack or something similar. We contacted the Vet despite being early in morning and they informed me that whilst they could meet me there was nothing they could do.
Whilst both pups leaving us were a shock, Macy was totally unexpected and we were unprepared for this event – so many questions, why, what if, should I? Again, we ignored the “it’s just a dog” looks and comments and again we grieved sorely.
This time we didn’t wait a long time to seek a new companion – we were hurting too much. We approached a reputable breeder, met her and she chatted to us about pups and we agreed to prepare our home for another new family member.
Within 4 months of Macy saying goodbye, Lily, our Cadagio Wildone, joined us. Again a Cairn Terrier, or should I say Cairn Terrorist – her Kennel Name which was most fitting! J.
Lily has brought the personalities of the previous 2 Cairns into her little life and our lives. She has the typical Cairn independence characteristics and is full of fun and devilment at times. Other times she just wants to cuddle up and relax on your lap or in bed.
She really worries me – I am not sure if it is I am getting older but she really has a closeness to me that I cannot remember having so much with the previous two. Whilst I appreciate that that dreaded day will come when she will cross the Rainbow Bridge, I also know I must enjoy every minute I can with her today, tomorrow, and the next day!
Not just pets, but family
Our pets are not just dogs or cats, they are part of our homes, families, and lives. We enjoy their company today and will truly miss them when they are not with us any longer.
I can reassure you that the joy our dogs and cats can bring into our lives by far out ways the pain and loss experienced when we have to let go and say goodbye for the last time! Dogs are part of our lives and I believe will remain so.
I fully understand that for some folk, the prospect of reliving the pain of loss is too great to bring another pet into the home. Personally I see it as a tribute to the previous four-legged family member to want to experience pet parenting again and offer a new companion a home and family to live with.