POEMS OF LOSS AND COMFORT


RAINBOW BRIDGE
Author Unknown

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special, someone who was 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 begins to quiver. Suddenly he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass, faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into those trusting eyes, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart. Then, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together......




IF IT SHOULD BE
Author Unknown

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle can't be won.
You will be sad; I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand,
For this day more than all the rest
Your love and friendship stands the test.
We've had so many happy years
What is to come can hold no fears.
Would you want me to suffer?
So when that time comes let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend,
But stay with me until the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you do for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.
Do not grieve. It must be you
Who must decide this thing to do.
We've been so close we two these years
Remember joy among your tears.



IMMORTALITY
by Robert Hepburn

Do not stand on 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's rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft starshine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry...
I am not there. I did not die.




SHE WAS JUST MY DOG
Author Unknown

She was my other eyes that could see above the clouds;
my other ears that heard above the winds.
She was the part of me that could reach out into the sea.

She had told me a thousand times over that I was her reason for being;
by the way she rested against my leg;
by the way she wagged her tail at my smallest smile;
by the way she showed her hurt when I left without taking her along
(I think it made her sick with worry because she was not along to care for me).

When I was wrong, she was delighted to forgive.
When I was angry, she clowned to make me smile.
When I was happy, she was joy unbounded.
When I was a fool, she ignored it.
When I succeeded, she bragged.
Without her, I am only another person.
With her, I was all powerful.

She was loyalty itself.
She had taught me the meaning of devotion.
With her, I knew a secret comfort and a private peace.
She had brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.
Her head on my knee could heal my human hurts.
Her kisses on my tears washed away my bad feelings.
Her presence by my side was protection against my fears of dark and unknown things.
She had promised to wait for me...whenever...wherever...in case I need her.

And I expect I will---as I always have... She was just my dog.





TITLE AND AUTHOR UNKNOWN

They will not go quietly,
the dogs who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.
Old habits still make us think
we hear a barking at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them...
and always will.




MAY I GO?
by Susan A. Jackson

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 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.





GOD'S GARDEN
Author Unknown

God looked around His garden
And found an empty place.
He then looked upon the earth
And saw your tired face.

He put His arm around you
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.

He knew that you were suffering.
He knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.

He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your eyelids,
And whispered, "Peace be thine."

It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn't go alone.
For part of us went with you
The day God called you Home.





ODE TO I CHING
By Anthony D'Agnese

Close your eyes now
my longtime friend
and let this
time of suffering
come to a peaceful end.
We'll walk together
soon, I'm sure,
as winter turns to spring
when snow gives way
to budding leaves
and birds begin to sing,
The gentle breeze
shall call your name
along the water's edge.
For what we shared
and what you meant
shall never be forgot.
Your friendship spans
the years behind
your memory ahead.
You'll always be
there next to me
companion and good friend.




HER JOURNEY'S JUST BEGUN
by Ellen Brenneman

Don't think of her as gone away -
her journey's just begun,
life holds so many facets -
this earth is only one.

Just think of her as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.

Think how she must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.

And think of her as living
In the hearts of those she touched
For nothing loved is ever lost -
And she was loved so much.





ST. PETER
Author Unknown

I explained it to St. Peter,
I'd rather stay here
Outside the pearly gate.
I won't be a nuisance,
I won't even bark,
I'll be very patient and wait,
I'll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I'd miss you so much, if I went in alone,
It wouldn't be heaven for me.




THE LOSS OF A HEART-DOG
Author Unknown

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 so 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 wished I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.
I want to reassure 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 now ... I smile and watch you yawning,
And say, "Goodnight, 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

Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near...

And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear

All of my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone,

I'll greet you with a smile and "Welcome Home."





SOLACE
Lisa Carmel Singer

From the Silence of your pain, I heard my name
and on the wings of light I have come
to see the sadness in your eyes
that cry without tears

Can you see me, I am here
I will always be near you,
to calm your shattered heart
and to make you smile at the memories

Do you feel me, perhaps a soft brush of fur
You ache to believe it's real
but you are afraid to hope
you brush away a strand of hair
But it was I, whispering

I am only here for a moment
The silver thread gently quivers
I will leave behind my love in a dream
When you awaken and without really knowing why

Your heart will know at last
That it is all right for now
to say goodbye.






MEMORIES
Virginia Ellis

Oh, little friend, do you recall,
When you made this house your home?
You were just a ball of fluff,
Not even halfway grown.

You stumbled when you learned to walk,
It was hard to steer four legs;
You learned to sit, and stay, and come,
And, of course, you learned to beg.

You loved those walks we used to take,
You never left my side;
And if I got my car keys out,
You were ready for a ride.

You sensed when I was happy,
Or was feeling kind of low;
You'd rub up against my knee,
You always seemed to know.

You'd fetch a ball or get a toy,
Without even being told;
But, was your face crestfallen,
If I felt the need to scold.

You found the outside world exciting,
Do you remember your first snow?
You'd not come back inside the house,
Because you loved it so.

Going to the vets for shots,
I guess was your greatest fear;
You seemed to know each scheduled date,
Though you went but once a year.

You were afraid of lightening, too,
And of booming thunderstorms;
You'd run and jump upon my bed,
Where it was safe and warm.

I never once felt lonely,
As long as you were here;
You were at my feet or on my lap,
You constantly were near.

Oh, I am going to miss you,
No question about that;
But, little one, for your pain to go,
I had to send you back.

You're going back to heaven now,
From whence long ago you came;
You'll be welcomed back by God, Himself,
Who knows your doggy-name.

I think there's Frisbees up in heaven,
And rubber, squeaky toys;
And angels who will play with you,
And little girls and boys.

But, there won't be any thunderstorms,
And no vets with shots up there;
You won't even need a leash,
You'll run freely in God's air.

And when my time on earth is done,
And at heaven's gate I'm near,
I don't want any harps or horns,
Just ... happy barks to hear.

So, see you later, little friend,
I'm glad you're now pain-free;
And I'm glad you're sitting next to Jesus,
Now ... you wait right there for me.






A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A YOUNG SCHNAUZER
Becky Hipps

This morning, I woke up and kissed my dad's head.
I peed on the carpet, then went back to bed.
"The life of a Schnauzer, oh my, this is great."
Then I thought about breakfast, "I hope it's not late."

Mom took me outside, we walked for a while.
This never fails, to make Mama smile.
I sniffed of everything, that we did pass,
I ate something weird -- it gave me bad gas.

I'm sure that God loves me, I know that it's true.
He gave me so many, great things to chew.
Rugs, plants or rocks, I really don't care,
What I truly like best, is Dad's underwear.

That obedience book, was sort of yummy,
Though it didn't sit well, on my poor Schnauzer tummy.
I threw up a bit, but that was all right,
When Mom found it later, I was well out of sight.

I made streamers of T.P., while running full speed.
Mom is pretty quick -- but I was still in the lead.
I flew under the bed, and Mom flew on past,
She stopped -- shook her head, and breathed, "You're too fast."

Mama later phoned Daddy, and said, "It was frightening!"
That afternoon, she was sure I'd pooped lightning.
She'd sat at the computer, while I chewed the cord,
She thought I was mad, but I was just bored.

When Mom had enough, couldn't take anymore,
That's when my tushy, got shoved out the door.
I love it inside, but outside is best,
I lay in the cool grass, and had a good rest.

That didn't last long, there was too much to do --
Can't quite remember where I hid Daddy's shoe.
I found an old bone, and scratched at a flea,
I watched the dumb squirrels as they jumped in a tree.

I barked at the kids, when they got off the bus.
I can't figure out, why this makes Mama fuss.
I barked at the neighbor, I barked at the wind,
I barked and I barked, till Mom yelled, "COME IN."

The sun dipped in the West -- soon Daddy would come!
I sure love my daddy; we always have fun.
I barked at my daddy, then turned on my charms,
I woo-wooed, "Hello," then jumped in his arms.

Sitting under the table -- it's sooo hard to wait.
Daddy slipped me a goodie, right off of his plate.
I raced through the house, and scattered my toys,
Ricocheted off the furniture, and made lots of noise.

Mom found her new purse -- the one I'd abused.
Daddy let loose a chuckle. Mom asked -- "Amused??"
I cowered down low -- I must be in trouble.
Dad said, "Wasn't MY boy, it must be his double!"

Mom turned off the TV, and said, "Time for bed."
Dad said, "Let's go, boy," and patted my head.
I got in my spot -- between Mom and Dad,
I thought 'bout my day, and what fun I had, had.

Mama kicked out my bone, from the covers below,
Then let loose a sigh -- a sigh deep and low.
She gave me a kiss, and snuggled me tight,
and whispered so softly, "My darling, goodnight."




I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT YOU TODAY.....
By Cindy Swan

Till I didn't feel your warm fuzzy body next to mine when I first woke up and stretched in the bed.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I went into the bathroom and you weren't there for morning pets and cuddles while I tinkled.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I got out of the shower and sat on the bed to finish drying and you weren't there with your little paws on my shoulder licking the shower water out of my ears.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I was putting on my shoes and socks, and my socks stayed on my toes, and I could actually see my shoelaces, and somehow getting dressed was not nearly so much fun.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I was making the bed, and we didn't play bury the schnauzer in the blankets, and then let you burrow your way out from under the pillows, only to do it all over again.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I went in to the kitchen to get my breakfast, and your little body was not blocking my way to the refrigerator for milk, and your sweet face was not there looking up at me demanding YOUR breakfast.... NOW Mom.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I sat down to eat my breakfast, and there was no Sweet Elsa circling the table trolling for crumbs.

Then I didn't think about you......
Till I went to feed the Bird, and the two of you didn't play your ritual game of cage tag, where he tries to grab your nose, while you try to grab his tail.

I didn't think about you today.....
Till I got home from work and there were no joyous Woo Woo Woo Woo Mommy's home barks, no lapful and face full of schnauzer tongue with a body attached.

But I didn't think about you today.....

And then, I didn't think about you.....
Till I discovered I was petting my own leg because your little chin was not in its customary place resting on my lap as I sat and watched TV, and I didn't have to disturb "her Highness's" slumber when I got up to get a drink.

Then it was time for bed, and I didn't think about you.....
Till I realized that I had not heard you bark at air molecules all day long.

And when I went to bed, there was no Elsa standing on top of me needing under the blankets, and no Elsa to curl up at my tummy and gently snore. There was no silken Elsa fur to softly pet and stroke till I went to sleep. So, I cried instead, and said.....

Tomorrow is another day, and I won't think about you.....
Today.




LIVING LOVE
by Martin Scot Kosins

If you ever love an animal, there are three days
in your life you will always remember.

The first is a day, blessed with happiness,
when you bring home your new young friend.

You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked
numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder.
Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly
looking mutt in a shelter, simply because something in its eyes reached your heart.
But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore,
and claim its special place in your hall or front room.

And when you feel it brush against you for the first time,
it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry
with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later.
It will be a day like any other.
Routine, and unexceptionable. But, for a surprising instant,
you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth.
You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy.
And you will see sleep where you once saw activity.
So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet,
and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing
fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness.

And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off,
until the third day finally arrives.

And on this day, if your friend and God have not decided for you,
then you will be faced with making a decision of your own,
on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit.
But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you,
you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night.

If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they
must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of
family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you.
But if you are true to the love of your pet you cherished through the many
joy-filled years, you may find that a soul, a bit smaller in size than your
own, seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come.
And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary
to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg, very, very lightly.

And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend
used to lay, you will remember those three significant days.
The memory will most likely be painful, and leave an ache in your heart.
As time passes the ache will come and go and it has a life of its own.
You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you.
If you reject it, it will depress you.
If you embrace it, it will deepen you.
Either way, it will still be an ache.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when along with the memory of
your pet, and piercing through the heaviness in your heart, there will come
a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as
our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost.

This realization takes the form of a Living Love,
like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted,
this Love will remain and grow, and be there for us to remember.
It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go.
And it is a gift we may keep with us for as long as we live.
It is a Love, which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to
join our Beloved Pets, it is a Love that we will always possess.



A SPECIAL PLACE
Author Unknown


You have a special place, Dear Lord
that I know you always keep.
A special place reserved for dogs,
to peacefully fall asleep.
A place with fluffy pillows,
and a yard for hiding bones.
With maybe a little babbling creek,
that rushes over stones.
With wide green fields and flowers,
for those who never knew,
of running, playing freely,
under a sky of perfect blue.
Lord, I know you keep this special place,
and so to you I pray,
for one oh so special dog,
who came to you today.
She was full of strength and love,
and so very, very wise.
The puppy look she once had,
this morning left her eyes.
She will be dearly missed, Dear Lord,
This special love of mine.
But, now she'll romp and play,
in your land that's so divine.
Speak to my baby softly, please
with a hug and a warm hello.
She's a special gift to you, dear Lord,
from me-who loved her so.




THE JOURNEY
Author Unknown

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 will also test your strength and courage. If you
allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about
yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed
forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.

Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple
pleasures --
jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and
even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears. If you
spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience
every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no
rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be
inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information.

Your pace may be slower, except when heading home to the food dish,
but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an
expert in the field. Too many times we hike on automatic
pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the
journey. We miss the details: the colorful mushrooms on the rotting
log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on
a twig.

Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop;
we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes,
look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows... that
nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of
surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing
wonders, each day an essence all its own.

Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world
around you. You will find yourself watching: summer insects
collecting on a screen; how bizarre they are; how many kinds there
are or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You
will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or
sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no
objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life's
most important details slip by.

You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends
might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle
looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying
dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time
because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle
with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross,
and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie with a cat
in hot pursuit, all in the name of love.

Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark
clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in
your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old
plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat
loves the crinkly sound. You will learn the true measure of love.
The steadfast, undying kind that says, "It doesn't matter where we
are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together."

Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul
can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.
And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes often made me
feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some
flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but
only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and
dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so
chose to love me anyway.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you
will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always
knew you to be. The one they were proud to call beloved friend.

I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all
paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the
sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you
cannot yet go down. And you will have to find the strength and love
to let them go.

A pet's time on earth is far too short, especially for those that
love them. We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during
these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their
love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is
nothing left. The cat that only yesterday was a
kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The
young pup of boundless energy now wakes up stiff and lame, the
muzzle gone to gray.

Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We
knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken. But give them
we must for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and
the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final
gift and let them run on ahead, young and whole once more. "God
speed, good friend," we say, until our journey comes full circle and
our paths cross again.


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