My wife and I rescued Lance, a border collie that had lived in no-mans-land for a decade and Buddy, a four-month-old poodle/beagle that was about to be taken to the local shelter. Both are physically gone but never, never forgotten. I hope this essay helps to ease some of the pain you may be feeling from losing your canine best friend(s).
The Rainbow Bridge
For a moment, everything went dark. Then, Buddy opened his eyes and was immediately dazzled by incredibly bright light. Coming from a short distance away, he heard barking. Buddy sprang to his feet and ran in the direction of the canine crooning. In a matter of seconds, he reached one end of a huge bridge that was surrounded by the largest rainbow he’d ever seen. There was a black and white border collie waiting to greet him and escort him into the world that began at the other end of the bridge. This was Buddy’s new home. His final home.
“Hi, Buddy! I’m Lance.”
“So, you’re Lance. Mom and dad used to talk about you a lot. Boy, did you make an impression on them!”
“I hope they said good things about me.”
“Oh, they did. They said you were a handful, but they’d do it all over again if they had to.”
“That’s great to hear. What a relief! The way I grew up I was never sure if anybody really cared about me. I mean Anna was nice to me, but she’d always come and then go. As for the Schmidts…Grr! Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot. Up here, there’s never any need to growl.”
“What does everybody do around here? Down on earth, I spent the whole day getting spoiled by mom and dad. “
“They spoiled me too, or at least as much as I’d let them. I just could never quite get my act together to fully enjoy the good life. You were lucky.”
“I realized that after I heard mom and dad talking about how you lived before, they got you. Wow, you went through a lot!”
“Well, it finally did get better, but it took some doing. You know, I wonder what dad was thinking about when he walked me and then stuck me back on that darn run again. I mean, I broke loose and showed up at his place not once, but twice and he still didn’t get it! I’d say he was a little thick between the ears, but then again, he’s only a human, not a border collie.”
“Believe me, he regrets not helping you sooner.”
“Well, that was then, and this is now. I’ve been waiting for you because the word was out that you’d be “coming home” any day now. It’s a pretty good set up. They’ve got the largest field you’ve ever seen and there is a river, a pond and even a gentle stream for the less adventurous dogs. Whenever you’ get thirsty running around a fresh bowl of water magically appears right in front of you. Nobody gets sick here either. “
“So, Lance, how long have you been here?”
“I’m not sure exactly. Anyway, time is unimportant here. All I know is that I got treatment before they let me go across the bridge. You know, since I was a problem dog, they had to make some adjustments to my thinking. No medication and no operation were needed. It’s like everything else around here—a miracle. I had to come here to finally find peace of mind.”
“It seems like a nice place, but I miss mom and dad, especially mom.”
“Buddy, on the other side of the bridge you’ll see lots of doggy parents. The same thing that happened to you and me and all the other dogs here, happened to them and they came here to reunite with their pets. This time it’s forever. Only the good dog owners, of course. I’ll never have to fear the Schmidts again—not ever!”
“But when are mommy and daddy going to get here?”
“You and I will have to wait for a while. They still have work to do down on earth. You know, like find another dog in need like you and I were. Enough of this small talk. What do you want to do—take a walk, go swimming, meet and greet all your furever friends forever…and I do mean forever! I guarantee you no one here will ever leave you or turn against you. That’s an unwritten but hard and fast rule.
“Well Lance, I’d like to go for a walk, but you know I wasn’t allowed to for my last six months down there because of my heart condition.”
“Let me ask you this—are you feeling any pain?”
” Come to think of it, no.”
“See? Buddy, I’m telling you it’s a whole different ballgame up here.”
“So, what’s next?”
“Let’s cross the bridge and I’ll introduce you to some of my pals. Of course, we’re all pals around here. C’mon. Last one into Rainbow Land is a doggy’s uncle.”
Lance took off at full speed with Buddy doing his best to keep up.
Walter Stoffel is a substance abuse counselor and GED teacher in correctional facilities. When not behind bars, he likes to read, travel, work out and watch bad movies. Major accomplishment : He entered a 26.2-mile marathon following hip replacement surgery and finished—dead last. The author currently lives with his wife Clara, their dog Buddy (another rescue), and cat Winky (yet another rescue).