Rainbow Bridge - The Rest Of The Story

An earlier post was about the story, or legend, of the Rainbow Bridge.  This is the rest of the story.  To say it deeply touched me would be an understatement.  The truth is I got a little teary eyed.

Kirby and I share our home with two rescued cats who are very much loved.   Chelsea, a gray tabby, is now over ten years old and very independent.  Kaitlyn, a multi-colored tabby, is roughly three years old and rather spoiled.  When some friends found her on Christmas Day she was skin and bones, her whiskers were melted, and she had a large open wound on her side.  I nursed her back to health with every intention of finding her a new home which turned out to be my home!

Hearing and reading about so many dogs in danger of being euthanized while waiting in a shelter for someone to adopt them, Kirby and I started fostering one dog at a time.  First was Miss Cordelia, a pitt mix, then Mia Bella, a shepard/lab.  I know where Cordelia is but I still say a prayer every day that Bella is safe and loved.  Our next dog will be staying with us beginning the first week of February.  I’ve heard it’s another girl.

It also seems I’m always hearing about some poor dog who has been neglected or abused through no fault of their own.  Or a dog surrendered to a shelter by the family who suddenly stopped loving a loyal, forgiving companion.   My heart breaks then fills with such anger at the inhumanity of it all.

For those thinking they can’t afford their dog anymore, there are places to find the help you need.  No, I’m not walking in your shoes but, honestly, Kirbs and I would live in my car before I dumped him somewhere.  He gives me so much I don’t believe I could bear wondering if he were suffering somewhere from abuse, all alone, hungry, and filled with fear.

So for all the sweet animals in this world who never find, or lose, their forever family...
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All the recent arrivals were confused and concerned. They had no idea what to think for they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had spent some time waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was happening and began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge to watch. They knew this was something special.
It wasn't too long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung heavy and low with tail dragging along the ground. The other animals on the pathway...the ones who had been at Rainbow Bridge for a while...knew the story of this sad creature immediately. They had seen it happen far too many times.
Although it was obvious the animal's heart was leaden and he was totally overcome with emotional pain and hurt, there was no sign of injury or any illness. Unlike the pets waiting at the Bridge, this dog had not been restored to his prime. He was full of neither health nor vigor. He approached slowly and painfully, watching all the pets who were by now watching him. He knew he was out of place here. This was no resting place for him. He felt  instinctively that the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But alas, as he came closer to the Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who spoke softly to the old dog and apologized sorrowfully, telling him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their special people could pass over the Rainbow Bridge. And he had no special beloved people...not here at the Bridge nor on Earth below.
With no place else to turn, the poor elderly dog looked toward the fields before the Bridge. There, in a separate area nearby, he spotted a group of other sad-eyed animals like himself...elderly and infirm. Unlike the pets waiting for their special people, these animals weren't playing, but simply lying on the green grass, forlornly and miserably staring out at the pathway leading to the Bridge. The recent arrival knew he had no choice but to join them. And so, he took his place among them, just watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at the Bridge, who was waiting for his special people, could not understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the pets who had been there for some time to explain it to him. "That poor dog was a rescue, sent to the pound when his owner grew tired of him. The way you see him now, with graying fur and sad, cloudy eyes, was exactly the way he was when he was put into the kennels. He never, ever made it out and passed on only with the love and comfort that the kennel workers could give him as he left his miserable and unloved existence on Earth for good. Because he had no family or special person to give his love, he has nobody to escort him across the Bridge."
The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the all-invasive gloom lifted. Coming toward the Bridge could be seen a single figure...a person who, on Earth, had seemed quite ordinary...a person who, just like the elderly dog, had just left Earth forever. This figure turned toward a group of the sad animals and extended outstretched palms. The sweetest sounds they had ever heard echoed gently above them and all were bathed in a pure and golden light. Instantly, each was young and healthy again, just as they had been in the prime of life.
From within the gathering of pets waiting for their special people, a group of animals emerged and moved toward the pathway. As they came close to the passing figure, each bowed low and received a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. Their eyes grew even brighter as the figure softly murmured each name. Then, the newly-restored pets fell into line behind the figure and quietly followed this person to the Bridge, where they all crossed together.
The recent arrival who had been watching, was amazed. "What happened?" "That was a rescuer," came the answer. "That person spent a lifetime trying to help pets of all kinds. The ones you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of such unselfish work. They will cross when their families arrive. Those you saw restored were ones who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are permitted to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor pets they couldn't place on Earth across the Rainbow Bridge. You see, all animals are special to them...just as they are special to all animals."
"I think I like rescuers," said the recent arrival. "So does God," was the reply.
 --Author Unknown
There are some, like me, who open their homes to a few.  Then there are those who help many animals day after day.  May God richly bless the rescuers who work diligently in their selfless efforts to save a life.  May God bless those who treat animals with love and affection, but most of all, with the respect they so richly deserve.