Two years ago, I blogged about how pets can make a difference in the lives of their humans.
We sent our little Gracie girl over the Rainbow Bridge a few days ago. I’m heartbroken but grateful for the JOY and love she shared with us. Gracie continues to bless us with her graciousness as she lives in our memories and hearts.
One of Gracie’s favorite places to run was along the shore of the ocean. I imagine her now chasing the gulls and the wind as the mesmerizing waves crash against her feet.
Run free, little girl. We’ll miss you. Thank you for touching our hearts. We’ll always love you.
<3 <3 <3
Many of us have the JOYful privilege of a pet in our home or at some point in life, cared for an animal. Dog, cat, bird, rabbit, sheep, hamster, or horse, animals have a way of being part of the family from day one.
Our two cocker spaniels, Wing Man and Gracie, rule the roost in our home. Stormy, gone now across the Rainbow Bridge, kept me accountable for many years.
When pets move in, they bring many attributes to our homes. We become vulnerable as the companionship and unconditional love grow—in us and the animal. They work their way into our hearts and stay forever. We find it easy to accept most elements of our pets, but the negative ones might be difficult to swallow at times.
I enJOY the unique personalities of my dogs when they play. I tend to stay out of their way and smile in wonderment as this part of my family play with one another for fun. You can almost see their thought process. Wing Man is verbal as he charges Gracie. His tail wags a mile-a-minute. Gracie turns her sweet head, smiles at him, and tears through the house. I believe she laughs when he pounces at her but can’t catch her. They’ll continue on this way for a few minutes before she stops her teases, lies down on her bed, and pants to catch her breath. They are full of JOY and delightful to observe.
One day when a friend came by for a visit, we sat at the kitchen table. My cat, Stormy, jumped up on the back of the lady’s chair and began to bat her hair. We lost our train of thought and laughed at the distraction.
Once in a while, dogs and cats can get the best of us. Gracie forgets to use the facilities in the yard and leaves me little puddles on the carpet every now and then. Wing Man uses the outside facilities but insists his mark belongs upon the fence posts, patio furniture, and corner of the pond.
Stormy, whom I nicknamed Itty Bitty Kitty because of her petite frame and four-pound body, used to flick litter a foot out of the cat box. She loved to annoy me when I sat at my desk busy at work. Just like a small child, she did everything in her power to get my undivided attention. She batted the desk lamp, stood on my computer (while I typed), or slept across the papers which lay on my desk.
But what JOY I experienced when Itty Bitty’s meows turned into words. Now cats don’t speak – we all know that. She meowed and meowed while she tried to get my attention. Then, as clear as a cloudless day, her meows turned into a holler which sounded like the word “Mama”. Who said animals don’t talk?
I scold my dogs as I would my children. I rant and rave and send them outside, to get them out of my hair. But a few minutes later, when I let them in the house, their tails wag with JOY as if I’m their best friend—and I am. I melt.
I often hollered at my kitty when I cleaned up her litter or when she interrupted my train of thought because she wanted my attention. She didn’t let my anger get to her. She would plop on my lap and purr and purr.
I am unable to resist these unusual creatures from God.
Each pet, throughout the years, has become a dear friend and part of the family. They accept my faults and flaws with JOY, as well as my kindness and love. When I find myself annoyed by my animals, they approach as if nothing has happened—happy to be with me as they snuggle up and put their heads on my lap.
Just like humans, pets smile, frown, and cry. They love me whether I feed them or ignore them. When I take the time to play with my animals or caress their furry coats, they help me forget my trials, tribulations, loneliness, or bad moods.
When they’re gone, we mourn and go thru grief because we loved these precious members of our family. After we mend our hearts a bit, we can continue to be JOYful as we reminisce about their quirks, cuteness, love, and everything they’ve given us. To this day, when I see a black and white cat, my heart warms with JOYous memories of Itty Bitty. I still miss her, but like my dogs, she gave me something no human has given me. She sat by my side and just existed—just for me, she lived. Wing Man and Gracie continue to give unconditional love, acceptance, and JOY.
During the process of grief for my cat, two of my daughters each shared a story with me. My youngest daughter told me her dad buried some old trout from the freezer a short distance from the waterfall and pond—near the spot where my kitty rests. She expressed, “Stormy is chasing fish by the waterfall. She’s in the perfect place.” The middle daughter told me something my granddaughter, six years old at the time, shared with her. “Grammy put a flower on top of where Stormy is planted.” Precious examples of the way our pets continue to live on within our spirits. My heart flutters with JOY.
May you be blessed as you enJOY your unique pet to the fullest, my friend. When they cross over the Rainbow Bridge, I pray you reach a point in time where you reminisce with JOY.
The Rainbow Bridge
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 Rainbow Bridge together.
(Some say the poem was inspired by Norse Mythology.)