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 hill for all 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 or old are restored to health and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days 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 your and your special friend finally meet, you cling to each other 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........
THE RESCUER AND THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and grey, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch. It wasn't long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often. He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness.
Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologised, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge. With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren't playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn't understand what he had just witnessed, and asked one of the animals that had been there for awhile to explain it to him.
"You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur greying and his eyes clouding.
He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one 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 gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.
"Watch, and see" said the second animal.
A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge.
They all crossed The Bridge together. "What happened?"
"That was a Rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a Rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn't place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge."
Just the other side of death's curtain are the Summerlands. All the pets who have died go through this curtain and though they can still watch us, we can't see them. Sometimes the curtain is thin in places and we catch a glimpse of our lost companion waiting on the other side. Sometimes the curtain twitches as they look through at us and we can feel them or feel a sudden draft as the curtain falls back into place.
The Summerlands exist in the long, lazy late afternoons of an eternal golden summer of remembered childhood; the time when everything seems most alive and sweetest smelling. Our animals are young again and turned to perfect health. There is always space and time to play and love, places to be with others and places to be alone together.
When our time comes, the curtain is lifted from our eyes and we can see the Summerlands ourselves. Waiting there for us are the animals and people we loved in life and we can see them clearly at last. The has come for us to move away from the curtain and renew these interrupted friendships. Sometimes we can't help but take a peek through the curtain just to see how our own loved ones are doing before they come to join us.
(Summerlands was written by Sarah Hartwell. She has released this into the public domain so that it may be freely distributed.)
THE ANIMALS' EDEN
The Animal's Eden is a huge, beautiful walled garden where all pets go until such time as their human companions can join them. Only pet animals go to this walled garden and there are other special places for all the other animals, and especially beautiful places for animals who have suffered while on Earth and whose souls need peace and healing before they can move on. The garden is full of lawns and hedges, flower borders and shrubberies, wildflower meadows and patios of red brick. All of this is surrounded by a wall, just like a Middle Ages English garden, but much, much larger. The wall is not to keep the animals in and the garden is so huge that none of them feel as though they are in any way enclosed. And in any case there is a special gate, but I will come to that later.
In the Animal's Eden all the pets that have passed over and are waiting for their special human are free to do what they want, and because it is a heavenly place, none of them want to do anything that harms their animal friends. The horses and ponies graze and gallop in the meadows. The dogs romp on the lawns and sniff in the shrubberies. The cats lounge on the patios, basking in the sunshine, or take their ease in the dappled shade of trees. Birds are no longer caged, but fly free in the trees, eating the plentiful fruit and seeds. None of them actually feel hungry, but are provided with heavenly food if they wish so that they can eat without harming the others waiting alongside them. The garden is full of every kind of animal that has ever been a pet and which has someone special it wishes to wait for.
There is a special arch in the garden wall, the sort of brick arch which might have held a wrought iron gate in earthly gardens. Sometimes one or more of the animals gets a funny feeling, a bit like butterflies in the tummy. Those animals stop their playing or basking and make their way to the arched gate. Something special is about to happen. When they reach the gate they can see that their special human is walking towards the gate. Then, because the Animals' Eden is a place for animals only, those animals can walk through the arch to join their human friend(s) and walk together in the sunshine on the next stage of their souls' journey. For although the garden is a beautiful and happy place, there is nothing more joyful than a reunion between dear friends who have been apart too long.
(The Animals Eden was written by Sarah Hartwell. She has released this into the public domain so that it may be freely distributed.)
THERE IS A NEW STAR SHINING IN THE SKY TONIGHT ...
There is an old belief that the stars shining in the night sky are the spirits of those who have died. They have shed their earthly bodies and exchanged them for bodies made of light; thousands upon thousands of our dear departed friends all promoted to glory in the night sky. There is another saying that the brightest flame burns the shortest.
My friend, you were the brightest star in my own universe. While I burn on, my flame dimmed by grief and despair at your passing, the stars are watching me. They are too far away for me to touch, just as you have gone somewhere I cannot follow until my own star-time comes. They cannot be held close for comfort, just as I can no longer hold you close, though I held you close to comfort you in your final hours. We were together for such a short time, but the stars will burn forever.
One day I will grow tired of this earthbound body, my own star-time will come and my spirit will soar into the sky to burn with all those friends who have gone before me. On the inky cloth of space we will be reunited in constellations of joy. Until then, my flame burns low and dim and cold without you. Through my tears I look upwards to see if you are watching me and what do I see?
There is a new star shining in the sky tonight.
(There Is A new Star …was written by Sarah Hartwell. She has released this into the public domain so that it may be freely distributed.)
RAINBOW BRIDGE POEM
Just this side of Heaven, before the Pearly Gates
Is a sunny meadow where your pets can rest and wait.
It's where the slanting sunshine meets the highest clouds,
A floating bridge of rainbows, so far above the ground.
This is where we wait for you, if we have gone before,
Just out of sight of mortals, just outside heaven's door;
Here we play in sunshine, frolic free from age or pain,
And anticipate the joyful time when we will meet again.
Every pet that's lived on Earth can bide his time, can wait,
For that special person to come walking to the Rainbow Gates,
And everyone who's loved a pet will find them safely here,
Frolicking on Rainbow Bridge till your own time draws near.
One day there comes a feeling, a trembling in the air,
And then we know it's time to run and come to meet you there,
Faster and faster on that day, across Rainbow Bridge we'll run,
To meet the humans we love best, come walking in the sun.
Alas my friend you cannot pass across Rainbow Bridge with me,
But when your time for glory comes, waiting for you I'll be -
Then together we will walk upon a path of glittering light,
No more to suffer, nor to part, but to live forever side by side.
Every pet that's lived on Earth can bide his time and wait
Until together with his person he goes through those Pearly Gates,
And everyone who's loved a pet, you'll find them waiting here,
Safe and sound on Rainbow Bridge till your own time draws near.