Please check back often as I fill these pages with inspirational thoughts, quotes and poems, and I hope something you read here will touch you as so often words can...



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In addition to the wonderful thoughts and poems presented here, you'll find links to these special writings below.
(When you click on the underlined titles, use your browser's "back" button to return to this page, and be sure to bookmark this page as one of your "favorites")

 
Barbara Davis, who lost her beloved cat Taz to kidney disease in May 2005, sent this lovely Letter of Thanks
See an especially beautiful rendition of the much-loved story: The Rainbow Bridge
When she was 11 years old, Katy Riley wrote this poem about her faithful companion: A Poem for Max
Sue Culberson describes her last day with her beloved Rottweiler in A Perfect Day
Kelly Ryan shares this touching tribute to her cherished German Shepherd dog, Gunner
Dorothyann McKeon writes about her loss in Broken Links
In tribute to service dogs and their partners, and shortly before she was matched with her own beloved service dog, Kathy McKeon wrote All I Need  
You Are My Heart is Tressa Huntsman's tribute to her  beloved Enchante
Eva Vichules wrote this in celebration of the bond she shares with her beloved Darwin, An Extraordinary Dog
This touching and beautiful piece was written by composer Martin Scot Kosins, author of Maya's First Rose: Diary of a Very Special Love. It appears in the book Angel Pawprints : Reflections On Loving and Losing a Canine Companion, 
and is reprinted here with his permission.
The Fourth Day
In this piece from his astonishing memoir, My Cat Saved My Life, author and composer Phillip Schreibman addresses the question of whether animals have souls. Where Do We Go from Here?
From her warm and wonderful book  The Daisy Sutra, author Helen Weaver offers this "string of pearls" which came to her as a gift from her beloved dog Daisy. The Daisy Sutra
From her heartwarming and thought-provoking book, Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond, author Rita Reynolds offers her gentle suggestions for helping an animal friend to die with peace and dignity.  
Euthanasia: The Merciful Release
After Grandy suffers a major loss, she cooks up her own unique batch of "tear soup". Richly illustrated in full color, this marvelous book gives both adults and children a thorough understanding of grief, along with a glimpse into Grandy's life
as she blends various ingredients into her own mourning process. Tear Soup Home Page
Read the inspirational piece, If A Dog Were Your Teacher

As a guest on The Johnny Carson Show, beloved movie star Jimmy Stewart tearfully recited this heartfelt poem, which he wrote in memory of his beloved dog, Beau.  Watch and listen here: You Tube - Jimmy Stewart - Johnny Carson; read the words to the poem here: Beau.

See The Journey,  by Crystal Ward Kent:

When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey -- a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.  Read on . . .

The animals are more ancient than us.
They were here for millennia before humans surfaced on the earth.
Animals are our ancient brothers and sisters.
They enjoy a seamless presence –
a lyrical unity with the earth.
Animals live outside in the wind,
in the waters, in the mountains, and in the clay.
The knowing of the earth is in them.
The Zen-like silence and thereness of the landscape
is mirrored in the silence and solitude of animals.
Animals know nothing of Freud, Jesus, Buddha,
Wall Street, the Pentagon, or the Vatican.
They live outside the politics of human intention.
Somehow they already inhabit the eternal.

-- John O'Donohue, in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

-- Anatole France

Animals serve as conduits for people
to fulfill their primal need for connection to nature.
The animals in a home may be a person’s only
and deepest source of unconditional love.
Millions of people need this kind of love –
love without judgment, artifice, or stinginess –
in a universe of emotional and spiritual isolation.
Animals bridge the gap between our hearts and minds.
As became apparent after Hurricane Katrina and other disasters,
many people will die rather than lose a relationship
for which there is no human substitute.

– Allen & Linda Anderson, in
Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster

www.angelanimals.net
angelanimals@angelanimals.net

The Golden Harp

I saw the angels all around her, gold and the purest white they were clothed
working so patiently, so quietly, ever so mindful, ever so content
knitting and weaving and spinning in precision and orderliness
the finest of materials, their purpose leaving no doubt
each with their own purpose, each knowing the others
combing each strand, like mothers, like children
the masterpiece of each taking form and purpose
interconnecting they enveloped each individual string
a shape began forming, a harp of gold they had sown
magnificent in design, breathtaking in beauty
so detailed, so purposeful, so simple, so divine
and without hesitation at the end of their art
they all came together with one final cord
and most brilliant of gold, so soft and divine
they pierced the cord to her little heart
no pain, but relief, no tears, but delight
no chains but freedom, she set off her flight
the strings are the cords tied to her little heart
now so fervently attached to God’s work of art
without hesitation the angels pulled back
and pulling the harp strings, at once they let go
gold dust in its wake, no need anymore
as our little girl was now gold with God

Copyright © 2008 by Nick Fyffe, for his beloved Darby
osubucks12@aol.com

Used with permission of the author

My Best Friend

I had a baby Beagle Dog, a dog I loved so well
She soon became my best companion as anyone could tell
Her name was Princess Maggie, she knew it from the start
To me she was my everything, she lived within my heart
She always stayed beside me, all day and through the night
I knew how much she loved me it was a beautiful sight
Maggie was the smartest dog of all the dogs I had
But one day she became real sick, it made me very sad
So I rushed her to the vet to see what they could do
But they told me she was failing, her life on earth was through
From puppy to old lady,  I tried to save her life
For I knew if when I lost her my life would be real strife
But my Maggie left me lonely and one day she just died
It broke my heart to lose her and I just sat down and cried
But I feel she looks down on me from the heavens far above
And I know someday I'll join her she will never lose my love
So thank you God for  giving her all the time we had together
Memories come, and Memories go, but hers will last forever.

 -- Copyright © 2007 by Frank Sause,
frank.sause4050@gmail.com
Used with permission of the author

Where he is really buried,
and where he is,
and where he always will be,
is in my heart.

~ Cleveland Amory, in The Best Cat Ever

I Remember

I stood by your bed last night. I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying. You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast. I watched you pour the tea.
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels ~ I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today. You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you. I smiled and said "It's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled. I think you knew ~
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over ~ I smile and watch you yawning,
and say "Good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out ~ then come home to be with me.

-- Author unknown
Submitted by Teres, stardustnites1@yahoo.com

 

Somewhere Out There

Somewhere out there, 
beneath the pale moonlight,
someone's thinking of me, 
and loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there, 
someone's saying a prayer
that we'll find one another
in that big somewhere out there.
And even though I know 
how very far apart we are,
it helps to think we might be wishing 
on the same bright star.
And when the night wind starts to sing 
a lonesome lullaby,
it helps to think we're sleeping 
underneath the same big sky.
Somewhere out there, 
if love can see us through,
then we'll be together
somewhere out there,
out where dreams come true.

— James Horner / Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil, ©1987 MCA Publishing (ASCAP)

Heaven goes by favor.
If it went by merit,
you would stay out
and your dog would go in.

-- Mark Twain

I rescued a human today.

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels.
I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

 I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

 As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.
I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today.
Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

 As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past.
I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

 She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.
I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.
Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.
A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

 Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.
I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.

 So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors.
So many more to be saved.
At least I could save one.

 I rescued a human today.

-- Anonymous

People are having profound spiritual experiences with animals.
They are learning about God's ways by observing the animals
who bless their lives and share their homes.
The Divine is working through animals as vehicles
to bring more love, wisdom, courage, and comfort into the world.
Animals are good for human health -- physically, mentally, and emotionally . . .
animals are also good for our spiritual health.

-- Allen and Linda Anderson, in
God's Messengers: What Animals Teach Us about the Divine
www.angelanimals.net
angelanimals@angelanimals.net

The Vision

 I saw a ship with beautiful sails on a foggy
winter’s morn; it seemed so peaceful
as it passed by no sound came from it at all.
I stood and watched the beauty as it passed me by the shore, and when I
looked around to see
who was on it;
there it was no more. I stood and wondered
why this vision had come my way, and then God reminded me we must all pass
away some day.
And even though the beauty goes from our sight 
the image remains in our hearts and
it remains so bright.
So take some comfort just now and know that for sure, your  pets are safe with God in
His land forever more.

 -- © 2005 by Julie Schofield
maltesecavalier2@yahoo.com.au
Used with permission of the author

There is a land of the living
and a land of the dead
and the bridge is love ~
the only survival, the only meaning.

-- Thornton Wilder

Touch of A Friend

 An angel was sent down from heaven one day
to visit a child who had nothing to say.
Now this young boy was poor, great wealth he did lack,
but he has always been happy in spite of the fact.
Until one day it happened: his best friend went away,
and it left him heartbroken, with nothing to say.

 So the task of the angel was a great one indeed:
to give hope to a heart that was so much in need.
And though great power and wealth
were at the angel's command,
he sent a lost puppy
and the healing began.

 The boy cheered the puppy as he chased down a stick
and he started to giggle as his face he would lick.
They ran and they jumped and they played for so long
that before they both knew it the whole day was gone.
Then without any warning the boy whose heart broke
found a reason for saying these words that he spoke:

 "I love you, little puppy, I hope you will stay!
We will always be friends and together we'll play."
So the little puppy stayed and was never alone
for that which was lost had now found a new home.
And the boy was now happy - though he still remained poor
for he had a new friend, someone to care for.

 You see riches and power are fine things indeed,
but for a broken heart that is not what you need.
The angel was wise, for he knew in the end
how to mend a broken heart
with the touch of a friend.

-- Copyright © 2001 by Tom Krause
www.coachkrause.com
Used with permission of the author

 

Somewhere ~ somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some Paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.

-- Stanley Harrison

A Place in Heaven

Is there a place in Heaven
Where dog companions go
Before I'd want to go there
I'd really need to know

A being pure of spirit
And a being without sin
Is surely one that should be there
But does God let him in?

The theologians argue
A soul is what they lack
But one who's always there for you
Should be given something back

I could not face eternity
Without paws and tails
And if that's what religion thinks
Then that is where it fails

I hope God doesn't let me down
I'm sure He knows their worth
For we who have been loved by them
Have Heaven here on Earth!

-- Janis Diebert
laJoie Magazine, Summer 2004
lajoieco1@aol.com

There are two means of refuge
from the miseries of life:
music and cats.

-- Albert Schweitzer

We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our own
live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan.

-- Irving Townsend, in The Once Again Prince

When your day seems out of balance
and so many things go wrong,
when people fight around you
and the day drags on so long,
when parents act like children,
in-laws make you think "Divorce,"
go out in your pasture;
wrap your arms around your horse.
His gentle breath enfolds you
and he watches with those eyes.
He may not have a PhD,
but he is oh, so wise!
His head rests on your shoulder.
You embrace him oh, so tight.
He puts your world in balance,
and makes it seem all right.
Your tears will soon stop flowing.
The tension is now eased.
The garbage has been lifted,
and you're quiet and at peace.
So when you need the balance
from circumstances in your day,
the best therapy that you can seek
is out there eating hay!

-- Mary Ann Miller

Why remember?
Because remembering honors.
Remembering heals.
Remembering forgives.
Remembering creates appreciation and gratitude –
two of the most wondrous salves for your sorrows.
People sometimes think that they will feel better by denying their grief
and refusing to remember what has caused it.
In some cases and at certain times, that may be true.
As your life continues to demand that you support yourself,
care for others, and be out and about in the world,
you may need to place your memories on hold.
But grief is like a bill collector:
You can delay facing it, but if you do so for too long,
it will come to meet you at your front door.
Grief will have its day, whether you consciously allow it to or not.
So it is in your best interest to heal the wounds of grief with remembrance.
Refusing to remember can cause bitterness, pain, and anger to appear to fade away.
But buried grief lies in wait and pounces unexpectedly.
Buried grief casts an invisible veil of sadness over every future relationship.
It whispers that to love means to suffer.
It convinces you that life offers nothing but despair.
The dammed-up river of unresolved grief
makes it easier for each subsequent loss
to burst through your defenses.
With organic grieving, you will not bury your grief.
Instead, you will allow the rhythms of your emotions to ebb and flow naturally.
By giving yourself the gift of remembering your animal companion,
grief will seep back into and enrich the soil of your life
instead of creating poisonous wells of unresolved sadness inside you.

-- Allen and Linda Anderson,
Finding Comfort after the Loss of Your Animal Friend, in

Rainbows And Bridges: An Animal Companion Memorial Kit
www.angelanimals.net
angelanimals@angelanimals.net

Not only is there always another good animal
in need of a good home,
but we must remember to be thankful
for the time and love our animals give us
while they are here.
Take time to enjoy them and learn from them.
As painful as it is to lose them,
they teach us to love unselfishly,
they teach us to live each day to the fullest,
they teach us to grow old gracefully,
and they teach us to die with dignity.
We do them disrespect
to focus only on the sorrow of their death
when they have given us so much joy through their life.
If we wish to honor them,
take what they have given us,
all that love,
and give it back to another animal
in need of help.

-- Kent C. Greenough

The wind of heaven
is that which blows
between a horse's ears.

-- Arabian Proverb

Since ancient times, horses have kissed Mother Earth with their hooves.
At the same time, our heads thrust forward as we listen to the whispers of Sister Wind.
Being at peace with the wind and in harmony with the earth
connects horses with Nature’s secret healing energies.
Creation and destruction are the two faces of healing.
Horses know this to be true.
We watch as Mother Earth grows new life and embraces the dead in her arms.
We stand silently as Sister Wind blows away sadness
and takes whatever has become precious.
Horses carry wisdom about healing in their hearts.
We give it to any humans who have the humility to hear us.
And we ask for very little in return.

– Allen and Linda Anderson,
in Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope

www.angelanimals.net
angelanimals@angelanimals.net

Ode to Oliver

 It’s five months now, my lovely boy
The months have been and gone.
Forever since you left my side, but oh!
How your memory lingers on

 That last day – it broke my heart
The pain so hard to bear.
But you seemed ready, all set to go
To another life – elsewhere

I must move on, my dear, dear lad
But from day to day, you’ll see.
The love we shared, the fun we had
Will be cherished forever – in me.

So thanks again, my faithful friend
I'll try not to be so sad
But treasure the walks, the games, the love
And the brilliant time we had.

-- Copyright © January 2005 by Marion Laurence
 marion.laurence1@btinternet.com

Used with permission of the author

It may be that the most profound benefit of having a pet
is that we come to understand better
the experience of death,
and, perhaps,
lose some of our fear of it in the process . . .
Death, our pets teach us, is necessary for new life to appear,
both for our pets and eventually, for us too.

-- Martin Goldstein, DVM, in
The Nature of Animal Healing

It's a heartbreaking responsibility that I have been through too many times,
but when done right, despite the pain of saying goodbye
to an amazing dog and truly a best friend,
it is tempered with the satisfaction of having shared a wonderful time together
and the knowledge that I will have seen Bismark
through the dangers  and risks of life safely
and with dignity to the other side.

-- Francis Battista, in
Best Friends Magazine

 

Grief is not just confined to losing a person through death.
Intense feelings of loss can come from the ending of a marriage by separation or divorce.
A move can produce feelings of grief.
A rape.  A job loss.  Loss of a body part or body function.
Financial loss.  Loss of dignity and respect.
Loss of a pet.
One of the most difficult counseling situations I ever had involved Jonathan
whose seeing-eye dog of ten years, Angel, died.
Angel was Jonathan's live-in partner,
his dearest family member,
his closest work associate,
his trusted servant,
his most faithful friend,
an actual extension of himself,
a literal part of his being
-- his eyes.
When Angel died,
all of that was lost.

-- Douglas C. Smith, MA, MS, MDiv

There is something about the outside of a horse
that is good for the inside of a man.

-- Winston Churchill

Remembering Our Dog, Dudley

Our sweet Dudley closed his eyes today,
As his head lay in my hand.
It hurt so to see him in such pain,
He could not even stand.
The thoughts that raced around my head
As I held him in my arms
Were of his younger playful years,
And his oh so many charms.
Years before my sons begged for a pet,
So what was this mom to do?
They would not let me dare forget
Until their wish came true.
Now anyone who knows me
Knows that it wasn't only them
Who longed to have a dog to love,
To bring such joy again.
And so on Independence Day in 1995,
Dudley and Buster brought such happiness
Into our home and to our lives . . .
How we felt doubly blessed!
Today, there was no wagging tail
With his "I love you" gaze ~
Only hearts left with much sadness
Remembering fun-filled days.
But an Angel just appeared to me
And said, "You should cry no more;
Dudley's romping with your father
And beloved pets who've gone before."
And as I left the vet today
She turned and said to me,
"What plans have you to bury your pet?
I have options you can see."
I gathered him into my arms
And took him home with me.
Though we're burying him in our backyard,
It's in my heart he'll always be.
So I like to think of Dudley
Walking 'round the clouds with ease
As my father whistles by his side,
Now both in eternal peace.

-- Copyright © 2003 by Karen Russell
karen@griefsupportservices.org
Used with permission of the author

 

. . . And when one of us is gone
And one is left to carry on
Well then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you
Of you and me against the world . . .

-- Paul Williams and Ken Ascher

She Is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and lose your mind,
be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

-- Author Unknown

There must be a heaven
for the animal friends we love.
They are not human,
yet they bring out our own humanity ~
sometimes in ways that other people cannot.
They do not worry about fame or fortune ~
instead they bring our hearts nearer to the joy of simple things.
Each day they teach us little lessons
in trust and steadfast affection.
Whatever heaven may be,
there's surely a place in it
for friends as good as these.

-- Author Unknown

Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity
a human ever has to choose a relative.

-- Mordecai Siegal

And if I go, while you're still here ~
know that I still live on
vibrating to a different measure
behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me,
so you must have faith.
I wait the time when we can soar together again,
both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to the fullest.
And when you need me,
just whisper my name in your heart,
~ I will be there.

-- Pauline Hitchcock

A dog can express more with his tail in minutes
than a human can express with his tongue in hours.

-- Author Unknown
 


Come Dream with Me

Come dream with me for a while as you linger
In the sweet reverie of memories of you and me
The days so swiftly passing and time that stops for no one

Come dream with me of youthful follies
Running, jumping, chasing, climbing, a constant whirlwind of motion
Smiles of exasperation lost in love

Come dream with me all curled up on the couch
My head resting next to yours, the rumbling purr changing to whispers of breathing
As sleep overcomes us lying there

Come dream with me of landing on all fours right on your resting form
Forget the reading ~ I have arrived, wet kisses nose to nose
Much more important than any book

Come dream with me of the times when no one else seems to understand
A torment of tears and I appear to stay beside you, your grateful hand caressing me
I dare not move until calm is restored

Come dream with me of talks at mealtime
Your dinner always looks better, a loud "Meow!" signals you to share with me
If cat food is so good, why don’t you eat it, too?

Come dream with me as I knead with my paws
To get a comfortable place next to the one I love best  ~ of course I should have the preferred space
Am I not the most important one around here?

Come dream with me in your sorrow
The years though passing quickly do not diminish who we are, you and me
I remain always in that special chamber of your heart

Come dream with me so I can let you know
I love you so and nothing can change that bond ~ it is there for time and eternity
In the quiet of the night you will still feel my presence

Come dream with me forever in a place
Where tears and pain have no welcome, where joyful and glorious adventures await us
Sweet reverie surrounding as we dream together
 

In tribute to Mercedes, Stinky and Simon –
three extraordinary cats who blessed me
with their antics, their uniqueness and their love

-- Copyright © 2003 by Lucy Linder
catsdogs4me@yahoo.com
Used with permission of the author
 

I believe that the loss of a beloved companion animal
is like no other loss
because our relationships with animals are like no other.
Our culture tells us that an animal companion is an engaging toy,
and that our grief over its death is alarming and ill-paced.
And our culture is just flat wrong.
As a survivor of advanced cancer myself,
I believe that the love and comfort of animals
in great measure graced me with recovery.
This being the case,
I would not be one to take kindly
to any cultural diminishment of our relationship with 'the other.'
Bluntly put, 'Them's fightin' words' in my world.
Animals are more to us than we know.
Their partnership with us is a holy one
that endures across a lifetime
and possibly beyond.

-- Susan Chernak McElroy, in
 Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty J. Carmack

If you can go through life without experiencing pain,
you probably haven't been born yet.

-- Neil Simon, in The Play Goes On

As I lie in the state between
Sleep and consciousness,
I feel the nudge of your head,
More insistent the second time,
Until my hand rises and you gently glide under.
Your whiskers tickle my wrist,
My hand enjoys the cool silkiness of your fur,
As you saunter past
To settle against the curve of my legs,
Then ever so quietly, methodically, you begin to purr.
"Sweet dreams," I breathe . . .
To the keeper of my peace and contentment
As we both . . . finally,
Drift off to sleep.

-- Mary Maude Daniels

If we go to heaven,
so do they . . .
because if dogs are not there,
it is not heaven.

-- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, in
The Soul of Your Pet: Evidence for the Survival of Animals After Death

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds,
my other ears that hear above the winds.
He is the part of me that can reach out to sea.
He has told me a thousand times over
that I am his reason for being --
by the way he rests against my leg;
by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile;
by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him --
I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.
When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.
When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, he ignores it.
When I succeed, he brags.
Without him, I am only another man.
With him, I am all-powerful.
He is loyalty itself.
He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace.
He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.
His head on my knee can heal human hurts.
His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things.
He has promised to wait for me--whenever, wherever--in case I need him.

And I expect I will, as I always have.
He's just my dog.

-- Gene Hill

If having a soul
means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude,
then animals are better off
than a lot of humans.

-- James Herriot

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell.
He painted a sign advertising the pups
and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard.
As he was driving the last nail into the post,
he felt a tug on his overalls.
He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."
"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck,
"these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."
The boy dropped his head for a moment.
Then reaching deep into his pocket,
he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
"I've got thirty-nine cents.  Is that enough to take a look?"
"Sure," said the farmer.
And with that he let out a whistle. 
"Here, Dolly!" he called.
Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly,
followed by four little balls of fur.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence.
His eyes danced with delight.
As the dogs made their way to the fence,
the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller.
Down the ramp it slid.
Then in a somewhat awkward manner
the little pup began hobbling toward the others,
doing its best to catch up.
"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt.
The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said,
"Son, you don't want that puppy.
He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence,
reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg
attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer he said,
"You see, sir, I don't run too well myself,
and he will need someone who understands."

-- Author unknown

Dogs in Our Lives

We aren't house-proud. If we were,
we wouldn't abide the scratches on the door-frame,
the holes in the screen,
the darkened shine of worn spots on the chair.
We would wince at the mottled carpet
and fret at the hair clinging to our clothes.
We don't.
If anything, we lovers of dogs are a tolerant lot,
finding greater value in the unabashed affection of our friend
than immaculate sofas.  Shoes can be replaced,
but heroic retrievers are timeless.
Without dogs, our homes are cold receptacles for things.
Dogs make a fire warmer with their curled presence.
They wake us, greet us, protect us,
and ultimately carve a place in our hearts and in our history.
On reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts
defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

-- Paul Fersen

At the Grave of a Fine Cat

May your whiskers be ruffled by only pleasant breezes,
May your bowls be filled with tuna and sweet cream,
May your dreams be blessed with legions of mice,
And most of all,
May you forever purr in peace.
Amen.

-- Barbara Younger

In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance,
everyone should have a dog that will worship him
and a cat that will ignore him.

-- Dereke Bruce

A Dog's Plea

Treat me kindly, my beloved friend,
for no heart in all the world
is more grateful for kindness
than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick,
for though I should lick your hand between blows,
your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me
the things you would have me learn.
Speak to me often,
for your voice is the world's sweetest music,
as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail
when the sound of your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet,
for I am a domesticated animal,
no longer accustomed to bitter elements.
I ask no greater glory than the privilege
of sitting beneath your feet beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water
for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food that I may stay well,
to romp and play and do your bidding,
to walk by your side
and stand ready, willing and able
to protect you with my life
should your life be in danger.
And my friend, when I am very old,
and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight,
do not make heroic efforts to keep me going.
I'm not having any fun.
Please see that my trusting life is taken gently.
I shall leave this earth knowing
with the last breath I draw
that my fate was always safest
in your hands.

Beth Norman Harris

Buddy

I know my heart will suffer, for you will not be here
but I know the days and nights we spent together
will always be so near and dear

I know you will always be with me in memory, my friend
and I will hold onto that, so tight and never to forget
and never will I ever let those thoughts ever end

I told you I would never leave you
and in your own way, you said the same
but the time has come for us to say goodbye

I will love you always and tears will be shed
although my heart will wither with pain
the memory, your unconditional love and loyalty,
will always be the same

For you were my best friend
a special friend I will see once again
I will always cherish and honor you
and never forget your name

The fun we had together
will never be too far from thought

For you and I will always be together ~

always ~

Rest in peace, Budman ~

In loving memory,
MY BEST FRIEND
BUDDY
"Poopie, BUDMAN"
August 1989 - March 2003

--
Copyright © 2003 by Michael Richard
Zip27@aol.com
Used with permission of the author

My Dog is Love

Dedicated to my service dog Kujjo
who died on June 3, 2002

God is love
Love is God
To show His love
He sent us Dogs
For here we all are
In search of true love
To find who we are
And learn unconditional love
My dog is love
Love is my dog
For he always loves
As he is from God
For God loves us all
And to help us learn love
He sent us His angels
Dogs, with unconditional love

-- Copyright © 2002 by Armand Emery Brun
trueredwingsfan@msn.com
Used with permission of the author

Tribute To Dakota

I remember bringing you home.
You were so small and cuddly
with your tiny paws and soft fur.
You bounced around the room
with your eyes flashing and ears flopping.
Once in a while you'd let out a little yelp
just to let me know this was your territory.
Making a mess of the house
and chewing on everything in sight
became a passion
and when I scolded you,
you just put your head down
and looked up at me with those innocent eyes
as if to say," I'm Sorry,
but I'll do it again as soon as you're not looking."
As you got older,
you protected me by looking out the window 
and barking at everyone who walked by.
When I had a tough day at work,
you would be waiting for me
with your tail wagging just to say,
"Welcome home!  I missed you!"
You never had a bad day
and I could always count on you
to be there for me.
When I sat down to watch T.V. or read the paper,
you would hop on my lap looking for attention.
You never asked for anything more
than to have me pat your head
so you could go to sleep with your head over my leg.
As you got older,
you moved around more slowly.
Then one day,
old age finally took its toll,
and you couldn't stand on those wobbly legs anymore.
I knelt down and patted you lying there,
trying to make you young again.
You just looked up at me
as if to say you were old and tired
and that after all of these years of not asking for anything,
you had to ask me to do one last favor.
With tears in my eyes,
I drove you one last time to the vet.
One last time you were lying next to me.
For some strange reason
you were able to stand up in the animal hospital.
Perhaps it was your sense of pride.
As the vet led you away,
you stopped for an instant, turned your head
and looked at me as if to say, 
" Thank you for taking care of me."
And I thought, " No . . .  Thank you for taking care of me."

-- Chuck Wells, Palmyra NY
Taken from Ann Landers' Column
Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, April 10, 1992 
Submitted by Cheryl Schreck
in honor of Dakota,
"who will always be my Bubby Boy"

Member of the Family

What would I do without you,
My precious, furry friend?
Part mischief, but all blessing,
And faithful to the end!
You look at me with eyes of love;
You never hold a grudge . . .
You think I'm far too wonderful
To criticize or judge.
It seems your greatest joy in life
Is being close to me . . .
I think God knew how comforting
Your warm, soft fur would be.
I know you think you're human,
But I'm glad it isn't true . . .
The world would be a nicer place
If folks were more like you!
A few short years are all we have;
One day we'll have to part . . .
But you, my pet, will always have
A place within my heart.

© 1993 by Hope Harrington Kolb

I'll Cross That Bridge ~ When I Come to It

Rascal came into my life soft and gentle,
so small I put him inside my coat to keep him from the cold,
until we got him home.
He was scared, a little ~
he was used to his cage and his brother by his side.
I put him in a box with a warm blanket next to the couch and pet him ~
as often as I could.
The nights he spent in the back room,
behind a barricade
to protect him and his new home.
We all know how puppies are!
He cried, this little guy, until he cried himself to sleep.
Okay, you guessed it!
After that,
I slept on the couch with my hand resting on his tiny body.
Everyone loved him right away; it was so easy to do.
He grew by leaps and bounds ~ and he would leap and bound all over.
What energy he had!  He never tired of playing.
His first ball was twice his size
but he managed to kill it and drag it all over the yard.
What a sight to see!
He must have been confused until he finished "house training."
At times, I'm sure he must have thought he might be part bird.
As soon as he even looked like he might squat ~ he was airborne.
I'd swoop him up and run to the closest door and down into the yard
where he would calmly do his "business"
and wait to get carried up the steps again.
He had a dozen or so toys, which never seemed to last very long.
Usually he chewed them until they were all gone.
But he got to be very clever ~
he somehow knew exactly which toy we asked him to get.
Even if he already had one clutched in his mouth, as he usually did,
he'd spit it out, like those old PEZ candy dispensers,
and quickly fetch your choice.
"Hey, Rascal!  Where's your monkey?"  And he'd get the monkey.
"Good boy!  Where's your hedgehog?"  Zap it goes from his mouth,
and he's off to bring you the hedgehog.
And he loved the game so.
One thing, though ~ he would rarely relinquish his toys.
Oh, he'd go and get them for you, but just try to get them from him ~
It was like trying to open the Jaws of Life with a Q-tip.
When he was ready he'd drop it at your feet so you could throw it.
He would chase whatever it was, as far as you could throw it,
Grab it and prance back with it ~ tightly locked in his teeth.
And start all over again.  Drove my husband crazy, but I understood.
It was the game, his game,
He made up the rules and everyone played by them ~ or ~ you didn't play!
He quickly became my guardian.
Not my guard dog, you understand, but my guardian.
I was as much to him as he was to me
And I never knew such peace of mind.
And oh, my, he was so happy to see me
when I came home from somewhere,
and I never knew such pure love.
He followed me everywhere, and I mean everywhere!
I gave up shutting the bathroom door,
just so he wouldn't knock it off its hinges with his snout.
When it was nap-time, he'd curl up by my feet ~ as best he could.
(By his third year he had topped 120 pounds
and was the size  of a Great Dane built like a German shepherd.)
He would then extend his great big old paw and expect me to make body contact.
This was a ritual, not to be broken or taken lightly.
You know, it may sound odd, but he tried so very hard to hold your hand.
Not to just give his paw to you but . . .
he'd literally bend as much of his paw as he could to wrap around your hand.
And nights, by my side of the bed, on his bed,
paw extended holding my hand as it dangled from the bed,
like it was the most natural thing ~
until he fell asleep.
He wasn't a good traveler ~ suffered from car sickness ~
but oh, how he loved the mountains.
He'd run and chase the ball and sometimes even give it to you to throw again.
He'd leap from the deck and down the drive and back again in a flash.
But not this time.  This time my heart skipped a beat.
The last time, he had trouble getting up and down.
And he took the steps ~ slowly.
He'd had medical problems over six of his nine, almost ten years.
Skin infections mostly, sometimes his ears.
Lumps and bumps that appeared and disappeared.
We tried to keep up with it
and for the most part ~ things were kept under control.
But this time, something wasn't "right."
Sure, he was older and having some problems with his legs now and then.
When we got him home, I'd call the vet ~ again.
I called the vet Monday morning and was able to get an appointment that night.
We sat in the waiting room and watched the other dogs and cats come and go.
Then it was our turn.
My husband and I took him into the examining room.
Our vet is excellent with him,
gets right down on the floor with him ~ that impressed me, a lot!
But he didn't impress me this time.
This time he broke my heart.
My Rascal was ill, very ill.
He had cancer.
It was aggressive and it would kill him ~ soon.
In my heart I knew, I knew when he looked at me
after he couldn't make the jump.
I cried on the way home from the mountains.
I cried on the way to the vet.
I cried harder on the ride home.
No medicine would help, not this time.
The only thing they could do was ease his pain until he was incapacitated ~
or
put him down.
How could I decide?  How could I not decide?
"Are you sure you can't make him better?" I sobbed between gasps.
This is too fast!  I wasn't ready!  I knew, but I wasn't ready, not yet!
The vet turned to me and said, "You knew when you brought him in, didn't you?"
Oh yes I did, but I wanted so much to be wrong.  This time.
"He is my best friend, my guardian, my buddy!  How can you ask me
to do this to him?"
How could I let him suffer?
The first shot slowed him down and he got a little woozy.
Rascal left my side, soft and gentle,
so large I put my coat over him to keep him from the cold,
until he got home.
He was scared, a little ~ he was used to his home and his person by his side.
I sat down on the floor with him and hugged him ~ as often as I could.
I cried then, as I am crying now, as I have cried so many times since then.
Someone sent me a card with the Rainbow Bridge poem;
it was and is the only thing that brings me any consolation.
If you have never shared a special animal's love and affection, I pity you.
It's just a dog, you say, but oh, you are so wrong.
When my time comes
and after I get to meet up
with all of my loved ones who have gone on before me
I am going to go to the Rainbow Bridge,
to the field where the dogs are running and playing
as when they were young and healthy.
And when I see the dog that stops, and turns, and begins to run towards me ~
I'll be running as fast as I can
to meet up with Rascal again
and, I'll cross that bridge,
when I come to it.

-- Copyright © 2002 by Winnie Hillock
Wmh4716@aol.com

Used with permission of the author

 

Welcome at Rainbow Bridge

On the morning of September 11, 2001, there was an unprecedented amount of activity at the Rainbow Bridge.  Decisions had to be made.  They had to be made quickly.  And, they were.
    An issue, not often addressed here, is the fact that many residents really have no loved ones for whom to wait.  Think of the pups who lived and died in hideous puppy mills.  No one on earth loved or protected them.  What about the many who spent unhappy lives tied in backyards?  And the ones who were abused — whom are they to wait for?  We don't talk about that much up here.  We share our loved ones as they arrive, and are happy to do so.  But we all know there is nothing like having your very own person who thinks you are the most special pup in the Heavens.  
    On this particular Tuesday morning a request rang out for pups not waiting for specific persons to volunteer for special assignment.  An eager, curious crowd excitedly surged forward, each pup wondering what the assignment would be.  They were told by a solemn voice that unexpectedly, all at once, over 3000 loving people had left Earth long before they were ready.  All the pups, as all pups do, felt the humans' pain deep in their own hearts.  Without hearing more, there was a clamoring among them.
    "May I have one to comfort?"
    "I'll take two — I have a big heart!"
    "I have been saving kisses forever!"
    One after another they came forward, begging for assignment.  One cozy-looking fluffy pup asked hesitantly, "Are there any children coming?  I would be very comforting for a child ‘cuz I'm soft and squishy and I always wanted to be hugged."
    A group of Dalmatians came forward asking to meet the firefighters and be their friends.
    The larger working breeds offered to greet the police officers and make them feel at home.  
    Little dogs volunteered to do what they do best: cuddle and kiss.
    Dogs who had never had a kind word or a pat on the head while they were on Earth stepped forward and said, "I will love any human who needs love."
    Then all the dogs, no matter where on Earth they originally came from, rushed to the Rainbow Bridge and stood waiting, overflowing with love to share, each tail wagging an American flag.

by Alexander Theodore

Creation

When God had made the earth and sky,
the flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals,
the fish, the birds, and bees.
And when at last He'd finished,
not one was quite the same.
He said, "I'll walk this world of mine
and give each one a name."
And so He traveled far and wide,
and everywhere He went,
a little creature followed Him
until its strength was spent.
When all were named upon the Earth
and in the sky and sea,
the little creature said, "Dear Lord,
there's no name left for me."
Kindly the Father said to him,
"I've left you to the end.
I've turned my own name back to front
and called you DOG, my friend".
           
— Author Unknown

Heartbreak is life educating us.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Grief is like the ocean;
it comes on waves ebbing and flowing.
Sometimes the water is calm,
and sometimes it is overwhelming.
All we can do is learn to swim.


-- Vicki Harrison

Gifts

They come to us, 
from shelters or friends or in any number of ways,
these beings of fur or feather or other outer shells. 
They come to us wanting only 
to be fed, sheltered, and loved.
And we take them into our homes and our hearts. 
They may have prized pedigrees, 
or they may be abandoned or abused 
and rough around the edges. 
But there is something about them, 
some sort of light in their eyes 
that tells us they are meant for us.
And a sweet dance of love 
begins with our new friends. 
We watch them delightedly discover their new home, 
laugh at the antics of kitten or puppy, 
smile as the former lost soul 
settles comfortably into our arms.
They become a beloved member of our family, 
a reminder of the uninhibited joy 
that we have often forgotten how to feel. 
The dog that excitedly runs 
to greet his human friend returning home, 
or the contented cat curled up on a lap 
remind us of how large 
unfettered love can be.
They come to teach us to remember how to love. 
They come to teach us that our hearts, 
so often battered by this world that we struggle through, 
are still open enough to feel wonder and mystery 
and a precious connection to another being.
And we love them, and care for them, 
and experience the joy 
we thought was lost from our lives.
But life is fragile. 
One day, perhaps unexpectedly, 
or perhaps after a long struggle with illness, 
our precious friends are gone.
And we mourn them deeply. 
We feel lost, and alone, 
and that the joy is once again gone from our lives. 
We feel anger, and pain, and fear.
We question Deity, and wonder why.
Life is fragile. 
Their lives are more fragile than ours. 
We cannot escape death, 
and for it to take our most precious friends, 
who ask so little, 
seems unfair and too much for us to bear.
But they leave us always with a gift. 
They leave us with that love they gave, that joy they sparked. 
Our hearts are larger for having loved them. 
We are enriched by having these special souls in our lives, 
even if it was for too brief a time.
Love never dies. 
And the love that was created 
by our special friends who came into our lives 
is a living thing, 
always a part of our being.
We may think our hearts are closing again, 
but we cannot erase the fact 
that they have been opened.
They teach us love for a reason: 
so that we will have it in our hearts always. 
Each day, each act of kindness or love, 
is a tribute to our furbabies who have moved on.
Honor your special friend with kindness and love. 
Each day, reach out to your living furbabies 
and let them know how precious they are.
Reach out to others in your life 
and let the love your friend brought you live on. 
Reach out to others in need, whether human or animal.
I can think of no better gift than the love they teach us. 
And I can think of no better way to honor their memories 
than by extending that love. 
In this way, they will truly live forever.

by Ginger-lyn Summer
20 September 2000
Reprinted with Permission of the Author

http://www.angelfire.com/folk/glsummer 

Animals, among God's most perfect creations, 
are alive and well 
on the other side, too. 
(And to be honest, if they weren't, 
I don't think I'd have the slightest interest in going there.) 
All the animals that exist on earth 
exist on the other side, 
without fear or aggression, 
and they are appropriately cherished and respected 
as the pure, innocent, guileless spirits they are . . . 
The animals on the other side 
include every pet we've had 
in this and in all our past lives, 
and they watch over us from there 
with the same pure, steadfast loyalty 
they gave during their lifetimes . . . 
When we first arrive on the other side, 
our spirit guides 
and transcended loved ones 
can hardly get to us 
through all the animals 
joyfully waiting 
to welcome us home. 

— Sylvia Browne and Lindsay Harrison, in
The Other Side and Back

Teaching a child
not to step on a caterpillar
is as valuable to the child
as it is to the caterpillar.

-- Bradley Miller

The Little Cat Angel

The ghost of a little white kitten
Crying mournfully, early and late,
Distracted St. Peter, the watchman,
As he guarded the heavenly gate.
"Say, what do you mean," said his saintship,
"Coming here and behaving like that?"
"I want to see Nellie, my missus,
Sobbed the wee little ghost of a cat.
"I know she's not happy without me,
Won't you open and let me go in?"
"Begone," gasped the horrified watchman,
"Why the very idea is a sin;
I open the gate to good angels,
Not to stray little beggars like you."
"All right," mewed the little white kitten,
"Though a cat, I'm a good angel, too."
Amazed at so bold an assertion,
But aware that he made no mistake,
In silence, St. Peter long pondered,
For his name and repute were at stake.
Then placing the cat in his bosom
With a "Whist now, and say all your prayers,"
He opened the heavenly portals
And ascended the bright golden stairs.
A little girl angel came flying,
"That's my kitty, St. Peter," she cried.
And, seeing the joy of their meeting,
Peter let the cat angel abide.
This tale is the tale of a kitten
Dwelling now with the blessed above,
It vanquished grim Death and High Heaven
For the name of the kitten was Love.

— Leontine Stanfield, in
The Best Loved Poems of the American People

Near this spot are deposited the remains
of one who possessed beauty without vanity,
strength without insolence,
courage without ferocity,
and all the virtues of man
without his vices.
This praise,
which would be unmeaning flattery
if inscribed over human ashes,
is but just a tribute
to the memory of
Boatswain,
a dog.

-- Lord Byron

. . . In one winter two disastrous events happened at the same time, each of which made an impact on my life.   First, a number of men were killed in a mining accident . . . The other tragic event was having our 15-year-old cat ‘put to sleep.’  Can you guess which of those events caused me to cry my eyes out?  You guessed it — the cat!

There is scarcely any comparison between the loss of human life and the end of a semi-crippled old cat.  But Samantha was my cat.  I loved her.  She was a permanent part of our history.  Her loss was not an academic thing.  I didn’t look at television or newspaper accounts of her death and say, “That’s too bad!” and go on to the sports page.  She was mine.  Her loss plunged me into grief . . . This was my loss and at that moment, as far as I was concerned, it was the worst thing to happen in the whole world.  I didn’t want anyone to tell me how great it was that she didn’t suffer, or how far beyond a normal life expectancy she had lived. 

I wasn’t very objective about the loss of Samantha as compared to the mining disaster, or the loss of my parents some years earlier or the starving masses in the Third World.  Grief is like that.  It isn’t helped by saying, “How childishly you are behaving over a cat!”

I have known deeper times of grief . . . I have held the hands of friends as they died, baptized stillborn infants, helped families decide when to disconnect life-support systems and worked with parents whose children were murdered.

Each of those experiences was painful.  Nevertheless, at the moment my cat died, her loss was the very worst kind of grief for me in the whole world . . .

Never apologize for grieving.  Remind yourself as often as needed that the very worst kind of loss is always yours.  Learn to acknowledge that your loss is worthy of grief . . .

 — Bob Deits, in
Life After Loss: A Practical Guide to Renewing Your Life After Experiencing Major Loss

On the Lighter Side: Where Do Pets Come From?

It is reported that the following excerpt from the Book of Genesis was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. If this is authentic, it would shed light on the question, "Where do pets come from?"

And Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me every day. Now I do not see you any more. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me."

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever, and who will be a reflection of my love for you. Thus, you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish and childish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."


And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam, and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "But Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken and I cannot think of a name for this new one."

And God said, "No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him, and loved him. And Adam was comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail. 

After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility."

And the Lord said, "No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam. And Cat would not obey Adam. And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was reminded that he was not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility.

And God was pleased. And Adam was greatly improved. And Cat did not care one way or the other. 

— Found on the Internet, as reprinted in the Spring 2000 APLB Newsletter

Stray Cat

Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
Has brought you homeless to my gate?
The gate where once another stood
To beg for shelter, warmth, and food
For from that day I ceased to be
The master of my destiny.

While he, with purr and velvet paw,
Became within my house the law.
He scratched the furniture and shed
And claimed the middle of my bed.

He ruled in arrogance and pride
And broke my heart the day he died.
So if you really think, oh Cat,
I'd willingly relive all that
Because you come forlorn and thin
Well . . . don't just stand there . . . Come on in!

-- Francis Witham

. . . We did indeed gather on that Sunday morning in August — thirty of us — and told stories that were as much about us as Gyda [the dog].  Mostly about the attachments possible between living creatures when they are patient with one another.  We buried her ashes under a rhododendron bush that’s planted in a barrel on her owners’ back porch.  I always nod in her direction when I pass by.

Gyda.  The grand old virgin aunt in the dog suit.

My seminary training didn’t cover how to perform a dog funeral.

It takes a real dog to teach that.  And when the pupil is ready, the teacher appears.

 — Robert Fulghum, in
Uh-Oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door

As we lay our hands upon you,
before your final rest,
our hearts surround to love you,
and thank you for your best.
Our home you watched and treasured,
Our lives you truly blessed.
Loosening now your burdens,
we tend your tired bones.
Let us be your pillow,
then wings to take you home.
Listen for God's calling,
sweet promises of peace.
Old friend, leap to Heaven,
suffering released!

-- Annie Dougherty

May I Go? 

May I go now?

Do you think the time is right?

May I say good-bye to pain-filled days

and endless lonely nights?

I’ve lived my life and done my best,

an example tried to be.

So can I take that step beyond

and set my spirit free?

I didn’t want to go at first,

I fought with all my might.

But something seems to draw me now

to a warm and loving light.

I want to go.

I really do.

It’s difficult to stay.

But I will try as best I can

to live just one more day,

To give you time to care for me

and share your love and fears.

I know you’re sad and so afraid,

because I see your tears.

I’ll not be far,

I promise that, and hope you’ll always know

that my spirit will be close to you,

wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.

You know I love you too.

That’s why it’s hard to say good-bye

and end this life with you.

So hold me now, just one more time

and let me hear you say,

because you care so much for me,

you’ll let me go today. 

— Susan A. Jackson

A Stumbling Block, or A Stepping Stone?

Once two travelers were going through a deep forest when night suddenly descended on them.  In a matter of minutes, the narrow, indistinct path which they had been following became invisible.   In the darkness, terror lurked everywhere. 

Then, to crown it all, a violent thunderstorm broke over the forest.  Terrifying flashes of lightning were followed by peals of thunder, which shook the ground under their feet. Torrents of rain poured down on them. The trees swayed dangerously. 

The first man looked on the storm as a calamity. Every time there was a flash of lightning he looked up at the sky and cursed God. The result was that he strayed from the path and got lost in the forest.

The second man, however, looked on the storm as a blessing in disguise.  Each flash of lightning lit up a little bit of the path ahead of him.  By keeping his head down, he succeeded in staying on the path.  And so, one step at a time, he made his way out of the forest. 

The same misfortune can prove to be a stumbling block to one person and a stepping stone to another.

  Flor McCarthy, in Windows on the Gospel

The Next Room
 
To by beloved family and friends,

death is nothing at all . . .

I have only slipped away into the next room. 

I am I, and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. 

Call me by my old familiar name,

speak to me in the easy way  which you always used to. 

Put no difference in your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes we enjoyed together. 

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect,

without  a ghost of a shadow on it. 

Life means all that it ever was. 

It is the same as ever.

there is absolutely unbroken continuity. 

Why should I be out of mind
 
because I am out of sight?
 
I am but waiting for you

for an interval,

somewhere very near,

just round the corner. 

All is well.

— Canon Henry Scott Holland

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. 

You are his life, his love, his leader. 

He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. 

You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

— Anonymous

The Animals’ Eden 

The Animals’ Eden is a huge, beautiful walled garden where all pets go until such time as their human companions can join them. (Although only pet animals go to this walled garden, there are other special places for all the other animals, and especially beautiful places for animals who have suffered while on Earth, since their souls need peace and healing before they can move on.)

The garden is full of lawns and hedges, flower borders and shrubs, wildflower meadows and red brick patios. All of this is surrounded by a beautiful decorative wall, just like an English garden from the Middle Ages, but much, much larger—  so large that none of the animals feel as though they are in any way enclosed.

All the pets who have passed into the Animals’ Eden and are waiting for their special humans are free to do whatever they want, and because it is a heavenly place, none of them wants to do anything that would harm 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 the great oak trees. Birds are no longer caged, but fly free in the trees, eating the plentiful fruits and berries. None of them actually feel hungry, but are provided with heavenly food if they wish, so long as they can eat without harming the others waiting alongside them. The garden has every kind of animal who has ever been a pet and who has someone special to wait for.

There is a beautiful arch is the garden wall, the sort of brick arch that 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 archway. They sense that something special is about to happen.

When they reach the gate they can see that their special human is walking toward the archway. Then, because the Animals’ Eden is a place for animals only, those animals can pass through the arch to join their human friends, 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.

— Anonymous

A Kitty’s Thanks

 I know you’re feeling sad,

but there’s no need to be —

even if I can’t be there, purring

and rubbing around your feet.

I’ve still got a windowsill,

and warm places in the sun.

Though no one really owns a cat,

for me, you were the one.

I know my time had come

and know that you did, too.

Please don’t think you did me wrong.

You did what you had to do.

You may be feeling guilty

that my life is at its end,

but please don’t feel that way.

Through memories, you’ll always be my friend.

— Author Unknown

An Old Man and His Dog 

An old man and his dog were walking down a dirt road with fences on both sides.  They came to a gate in the fence and looked in.  It was nice, with grassy, woodsy areas — just what a hunting dog and man would like — but it had a big sign saying No Trespassing, so they walked on.

They came to a beautiful gate with a person in white robes standing there. 

“Welcome to Heaven,” the robed man said.  The old man was happy and started in with his dog following him.

The gatekeeper stopped him. 

“Dogs aren’t allowed.  I’m sorry, but he can’t come with  you.”

“What kind of Heaven won’t allow dogs?” the old man said.  “If he can’t come in, then I will stay out here with him.  He’s been my faithful companion all his life.  I can’t desert him now.”

“Suit yourself,” the gatekeeper said.  “But I have to warn you, the Devil’s on this road and he’ll try to sweet talk you into his area.  He’ll promise you anything, but the dog can’t go there either.  If you won’t leave the dog, you’ll spend Eternity on this road.”

So the old man and his dog went on.  They came to a rundown fence with a gap in it — no gate, just a hole.  Another old man was inside. 

“Excuse me, sir.  My dog and I are getting mighty tired.  Mind if we come in and sit in the shade for a while?”

“Come on in,” the man said.  “There’s some cold water under that tree over there.  Make yourselves comfortable.”

“You’re sure my dog can come in?  The man down the road said dogs weren’t allowed anywhere.”

“Would you come in if you had to leave the dog?”

“No, sir.  That’s why I didn’t go to Heaven.  He said the dog couldn’t come in.  We’ll be spending Eternity on this road, and a glass of cold water and some shade would be mighty fine right about now.  But I won’t come in if my buddy here can’t come too, and that’s final.”

The man smiled a big smile and said, “Welcome to Heaven.”

“You mean this is Heaven?  Dogs are allowed?  How come that fellow down the road said they weren’t?” 

"That was the Devil, and he gets all the people who are willing to give up a lifelong companion for a comfortable place to stay.  They soon find out their mistake, but then it’s too late.  The dogs come here, the fickle people stay there.  God wouldn’t allow dogs to be banned from Heaven.  After all, He created them to be man’s companions in life.  Why would He separate them in death?”

—Found on the Internet by Carroll Brown;  Reprinted in APLB Newsletter, Spring 1999

I’m Free 

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.

I’m following the path God laid for me.

I took His hand when I heard Him call.

I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,

To laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way.

I found that place at close of day.

If my parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,

If able, these things I too will miss.

Please don't be burdened with times of sorrow.

I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life’s been full; I savored much:

Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief.

Don’t consume yourself with undue grief.

Lift up your heart and share with me.

God wanted me now; He set me free.

Copyright © 1998 - 2005 by Julia Napier
julia@napierpresentations.com

All rights reserved
Used with permission of the author

 

Just A Dog  

A faithful dog will play with you,

laugh with you or cry,

S/he’ll gladly starve to stay with you,

and never reason why,

And when you’re feeling out of sorts,

s/he seems to understand,

S/he looks at you with shining eyes,

and tries to lick your hand,

That blind, implicit faith in you

is matched by such great love — 

The kind of love we all should have

for our Master up above.

When all is said and done,

it’s not so very odd

For when you spell “dog” backwards,

You have the name of God.

— Author Unknown

Let Me Go 

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little —  but not too long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me — but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take

And each must go alone.

It’s all a part of the Master plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we know

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me — but let me go.

Author Unknown

Rainbow Bridge 

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the rainbow bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the rainbow bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals 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. They frolic and romp all day with one another.

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 run and play together, until the day comes when one of them suddenly stops playing and looks off into the distance. The nose twitches. The ears are up. The bright eyes are intent. The eager body quivers. Suddenly this one runs from the group, faster and faster, leaping and flying over the tall green grass.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace, clinging together in joyous reunion. Happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your cherished pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

And with your pet beside you once again, you cross the rainbow bridge together.

-- Author unknown. Source: Abigail Van Buren,  Arizona Republic,  February 20, 1994

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there.  I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there. I do not die.

— Mary Frye

Click here to see this poem in flash animation.

If . . . 

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can get going without pep pills,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining

and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day

and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones

are too busy to give you any time,

If you can overlook it

when those who love you take it out on you

when something goes wrong through no fault of yours,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentments,

If you can ignore a friend’s limited education 

and never correct him,

If you can resist treating a rich friend

better than a poor friend,

If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

If you can say honestly

that deep in your heart you have no prejudice

against creed, color, religion or politics,

Then, my friend,

you are almost as good

as your Dog.

— Author Unknown 

. . . His dog up and died, up and died. 
After twenty years, he still grieves.

Mr. Bojangles by Jerry Jeff Walker ©1968 Cotillion Music, Inc. & Daniel Music, Inc.

Where to Bury a Dog 

There are various places in which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a Setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought.

This Setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry tree strews petals on the green lawn of his grave.

Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorful bone, or lifted his head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death.

Yet it is a small matter. For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams as actual as in life, eyes kindling, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where the dog sleeps. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked, and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost — if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog.

If you will bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call — come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel, they shall not growl at him nor resent his coming, for he belongs there. People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper, who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of his master. 

— From a Portland Oregonian editorial by Den Iiur Lampanon, in response to a subscriber’s Letter to the Editor asking, “Where shall I bury my dog?”

The real value of ease cannot be appreciated

without having tasted bitterness,

nor of good without having seen evil,

nor even of life itself

without having passed through death.

— Sadhu Sundar Singh

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