Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

Oh, sweet Ali. After 17 years of providing love, laughter and happiness to the Berry Family, she crossed the rainbow bridge to heaven yesterday. Having known about Ali's health, when I saw my friend last night and looked into her eyes, I knew, only as another dog lover could, that something was terribly wrong. Ali had been put to sleep peacefully and was not in any pain. The hardest part about being a pet owner, is knowing that someday you may be the one to have to decide when is the "right" time to let your pet go. And even when you want to be selfish and hang on to your loving furry friend as long as possible, your heart will tell you when your pet must be set free, as painful as it may be.

Learning about Ali took me back to the pain I felt when my family had to put our first Lhasa Apso to sleep. I was 13. Galahad had been around before I was even born. He was the first dog I had ever known. I was very close to him and after 17 years, we too, had to make that heart wrenching decision to set him free. There really are no words to express the pain you go through when losing a pet. And no other pet will ever replace the one you have lost. But, each pet will enrich our lives so much and touch us in a way like noone else can, teaching so many valuable lessons in life along the way.

One of my Facebook fans shared an article she had read from a little boys perspective on why our pets lives are cut so short. I thought it was really touching and might provide a source of comfort to anyone going through the same situation right now.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live. He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

The article continued to list some important words of advice to live more like our furry children by doing the following:

• When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before rising.
• Run, romp, and play daily.
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
• When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Be loyal.
• Never pretend to be something you’re not.
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
• Enjoy every moment of every day.

Unfortunately, I was not able to take professional pictures of Ali, and this picture below is the only photo I have of her, taken during the Summer of 2009. She loved to curl up and sleep wherever her family was nearby. Ali, we know you are at peace and are looking down on us while you are having fun playing with all the other doggies in heaven. We will meet you up there again one day. Goodbye for now, sweet girl.

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