Someone Lost Their Beloved Pet Today: The Rainbow Bridge

A friend of mine had a gorgeous black Lab named Bacci.  Her constant companion, her furkid, her muse.... her everything.   Bacci passed away this morning and my friend is inconsolable.  When we lose a pet it's devastating, it turns our world upside down.  It seems unfair that we will almost certainly lose our beloved pets before we ourselves leave this world.  I sent her this beautiful poem in the hope that it might give her some comfort.  The Rainbow Bridge poem appears in many places online and in print, and in several different forms.  It is thought to be inspired by a Norse legend.   I believe there is a Heaven, and I cannot imagine a heaven without pets; what kind of heaven would that be?  I hope you enjoy this beautiful poem.


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 of 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 to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when 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 the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
- Anonymous

My Favorite Foster Dog; Rudy's Story

In addition to volunteering at an animal shelter and being one half of a therapy dog team, I also foster shelter dogs in my home.  Fostering saves lives, it's that simple. There isn’t enough room or staff in crowded shelters to house and care for all the homeless pets that are brought in every day; the influx of homeless dogs and cats never ends.  There aren’t enough people to adopt them.  There isn’t enough room in shelters and rescue organizations to continually take them all in.  Foster parents can step in and take some of these dogs into their own homes to provide care and shelter.  

At this time, the Coronavirus, COVID19, is keeping many people away from animal shelters and other public places.  It's also resulted in many people working from home, and staying home in general.  That makes it the perfect time to foster a dog or cat!

A trio of adorable Chi's, hoping to find loving homes

Why Do Dogs need to be fostered ?   

🐶 A  dog may have a contagious illness like kennel cough and need to be isolated from other pets at the shelter.  Most shelters have a number of isolation kennels, but when they’re full the dog must be isolated in some other way such as placed with a rescue organization, or placed in a foster home.

🐶 Some dogs just need a bit of training to make them more appealing to a potential adopter.  They may need to learn not to jump on people, or they may never have walked on a leash and need to learn how to walk nicely with a leash with their human beside them.  Some have never been socialized at all and are fearful of people.  They just need some TLC and exposure to people to learn that they aren't so scary.

🐶 Shelter life is stressful; it’s loud, scary, and confining.   A dog may “shut down” or become what is sometimes called “kennel crazy”.  This is usually a dog that has been at the shelter for a longer period of time, continually passed over by potential adopters.  When a dog shuts down, they no longer interact well with people and sometimes won't eat.  Dogs that just can't take being in the kennel any longer may constantly bark, jump around like mad trying to get out, and may even become hostile.  Dogs like this have been in the shelter far too long and desperately need a break from shelter life!  

Could You Be A Pet Foster Parent?

🐶 Wondering whether or not you could be a foster parent to a shelter or rescue pet?  The first thing many people say is "I work so I don't think I could foster a pet".   But you don’t need to be a stay at home foster parent in order to be an effective fosterer.  Even people who work full time or are in school full time can foster.  The majority of pet owners do work outside the home, and these days so many people work from home, it makes it even easier to open their homes to a foster dog.

🐶 Even if you have children or other pets in the home you can still foster.  In fact it can be helpful to have kids and other pets in the home.  It can help with training and socialization of a foster pet. Most adopters are pleased when the foster parent can say the dog is good with kids or cats.  It makes the dog more appealing!  

🐶 If you think it will be expensive to foster a dog or cat, don't worry!  Most shelters provide the food and basic supplies you will need to care for your foster pet.  If the dog or cat is ill they’ll provide the necessary medication or Veterinarian visits as well.

Meet Rudy, One Of My First Fosters, and My First Love 

One of my first fosters was Rudy, a chestnut colored Chihuahua mix.  The shelter named him Rudy (as in Rudolph the red nosed reindeer) because he came in around Christmas time.  He had developed a terrible case of kennel cough, possibly due to a low immune system.  He was terribly thin and frail, his ribs clearly visible.  

Rudy was barely able to sleep, his non-stop coughing wracked his small body keeping him awake day and night.  The shelter didn’t have an available isolation kennel for him or a rescue organization that could take him right away.  He needed a foster home, STAT! 

Rudy napping in the sun the day I brought him home to foster.  As you can see, he was so thin his ribs were clearly visible.

I was nervous about bringing him home to foster.  I worried that my own dog, my Husky Icy, might catch his kennel cough, but I took him anyway and kept him separated from Icy the first week. 

I moved him into our quiet, comfy guest room, placing him in a spacious crate with a soft fleece blanket.  He hadn’t been eating at the shelter, probably because it hurt his throat too much to eat the dry shelter food.  As soon as I gave him soft, wet food he wolfed it right down!  He quickly began to gain weight and after about 7 days the cough subsided.  He also had fleas and some ticks, which were treated immediately.  This alleviated his constant scratching, making him less uncomfortable.  

Throughout his ordeal, although he was suffering through kennel cough and discomfort, he remained sweet and lovable.  As he recovered, his vibrant personality emerged.  He was extremely loving, playful and smart.  He got along great with Icy and the two played well together.  I fell madly in love with Rudy and we developed a strong bond. 

I sometimes sleep in a pair of big puffy socks, which I leave by the bed like slippers.  One day one of the socks disappeared.  A couple of weeks later I was gathering up Rudy's fleece blanket to wash, and stuffed deep inside the blanket was my missing sock!  Rudy must have snatched it and hid it in his bed, probably so he could have my scent close to him as he slept in his crate at night.   

My darling foster dog Rudy, during his stay with us

I’ll be honest, I kept Rudy longer than I needed to, I just couldn’t let him go!  Eventually however, I knew I had to.  Not keeping Rudy made it possible for me to continue fostering more dogs, saving more furry little lives.

Fortunately, the father of one of our wonderful Eagle Scout volunteers wanted very much to adopt him.  I couldn’t ask for a better Dad or a better family for Rudy.  I know he went to a great home with a family who loves him as much as I do. 

The day Rudy was adopted, his new Dad pulled away from the curb with Rudy standing up in the front seat, his nose pressed against the window.  He was looking back at me with those beautiful brown eyes, not understanding why he was leaving me.  I cried all the way home, all night long, and for weeks afterwards, but I knew it was the right thing to do for Rudy.   Rudy was my most special foster dog.  I will love him forever, my darling boy will always be in my heart.  Darn. Now I need a tissue, the tears are starting again. 

If you think you'd like to foster a dog, contact your local animal shelter and ask about becoming a volunteer dog or cat foster parent!

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like these too:
How you can Help Homeless Pets Over the Holidays
Could you Foster A Dog For One Day?
Could you Foster A Dog To Save His Life?

Have you ever fostered a dog or other pet?  Tell us about it in the comments.  We'd love to hear from you! 🐾