Showing posts with label rainbow bridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rainbow bridge. Show all posts

Jun 5, 2015

When Your Dog Visits You in Your Dreams

Last night my dog Buddy came to me in a dream the way sometimes dearly departed souls visit you when you least expect it and the experience is so visceral, so deep that it both hurts and heals.

I was in the country with a friend checking out a farm for sale. I exited one of the many tattered barns and as I came around the bend Buddy was just standing there.  He appeared as a hologram floating in the mist, in the fog.

It had been 7 years since we last were together. I thought of him every day and while most of the thoughts were happy and provided me with wonderful memories of our life together; there were always those waves that washed over me at night - a tide burying me somewhere in the sand.

But now he stood in front of me and the hologram transitioned into all of Buddy and his beauty - just the way I remembered him -- healthy, handsome and goofy of course.

Buddy was quite a character. He was my birthday present when I turned 30 ( a Flat Coat Retriever we adopted from a shelter) and shortly thereafter I received a diagnosis that rocked my world. I was sick for years and Buddy was right there with me all the way.

He didn't care that I lost all sorts of weight, suffered from terrible migraines that left me half blind and bedridden. He didn't care that my hair was falling out or I was depressed and barely able to find the energy to go for a walk.

He stuck by me and as I grew better he joined me and his dad on camping trips and hiking all sorts of trails on the Eastern coast. We brought him everywhere with us so he had a solid understanding of people and how they interact and the ways of the world. But like most dogs he had his wild and uninhibited side. He chased a family of skunks into their den and well let's just say they all partook in his communal shower. He got us kicked out of a campground because he decided it would be a good idea to visit each and every site/trailer to say hello and see if the hosts might offer him a hot dog or even better a steak. He ran onto a lake that was thinly covered in ice, fell through and started swimming away from the shore (I snaked out on the ice and rescued him but we both came close to dying). 

He opened a knife drawer, took out all the knives - somehow did not cut himself and then he ate an entire Challah (bread), knocked wine on the floor to wash it all down (hiccups included). The one time we left him at daycare with no choice - he  managed to jump a 6 foot wall and ran all the way home (20 minutes away crossing major intersections). He ate everything and anything - there were socks and underwear coming out of him like a washer/dryer. He farted so bad you had to clear the room and not come back for 30 minutes (and he smiled with pride each time).

But mostly he was a wonderful, warm companion and my son.

One night at the age of 13, in the middle of the night after a great day of swimming in the lake and running in the woods - he collapsed from a massive stroke - no warning, no chance to say a real goodbye (whatever that is ) and he was gone. I remember not wanting to leave him and that given he had not deteriorated from Cancer or some other disease, his beautiful face, glistening coat - were still in tact. The light had left his eyes but his soul had departed to a far better place.

I went through the same process as everyone - wondering if he knew how much I loved him and wishing I had said thank you more - thank you for enriching my life the way only a dog can.

In the dream - he came to me and we hugged - I held him as close as I could never wanting to let go but he was being summoned and I could hear the calls like a whisper in the wind.

He told me he was in a safe and happy place with other dogs. They all watched out for one another and they played and shared their peanut butter/cheese/cookie Kongs.

He told me he loved me and missed me as much as I did him and that although it was rare for him to be able to penetrate the wall between our world and his beautiful place of peace; he was able to do so for fractions of a second from time to time.

Then he walked away and vanished into the white, into the blue, into a place I have never been.

Maybe forever but I hope not because forever is far too long.

Dogs are a gift. They are only with us for a short time but in that period they teach us what it really means to love and to be in the moment. They make us better people.

Bless you Buddy.

And to my readers everywhere - Bless the precious souls you have lost. I hope they visit you in your dreams if even for a second.

May 16, 2015


I know you love me more than you love yourself.

I know that you think of me all day when you are at work and I am at home thinking about you.

I know you would skip a weeknight out because I have been alone all day and weeknights are for me and you.

I know that if I wait on the floor beneath your chair that sooner or later you will drop some food and I will grab it and gobble it down before you can take it away from me.

I know all of your pain and have counted all of your teardrops and I don't like anyone who has hurt you or anyone who may hurt you.

I know you made sacrifices when you rescued me and that you gave me a second chance.

I know that when you came to the shelter I noticed you right away and I wanted you to take me home.

I know that when you saw me in the shelter, you thought I was cute and you heard my story and you felt badly and as much as you wanted to save me you were concerned as to whether you would be the right parent/home for me but you decided to throw caution to the wind and take me with you instead of leaving me behind.

I know that I will be forever grateful for that and your most loyal, loving friend for as long as I live.

I know that I shed all over the place and you have to vacuum every day and wearing black is not a good idea even if you like to wear black.

I know that you like to see me first thing in the morning when you awake as much as I like to see you and I know that I wait for you to come home when you are away and it feels like a million years have passed and when you return it is quite simply the greatest thing ever.

I know that when you fill my Kong you fill it not only with cookies and cheese but with love.

I know that the day will come when we will have to part and that where I am going you cannot join me.

I know that I will watch over you and when you pass to the other side I will come and greet you if only for a moment to give you a kiss and thank you for the wonderful life you gave me and then I will return to Rainbow Bridge.

I know that one day we will find ourselves in another place and time. You will be walking along a long and winding country road amidst the fog and I will be there at the next turn and will run into your arms and you will hold me forever in a world where forever exists.

I know that I am in your heart and your soul as you are in mine and that our love began the moment you walked me out of that shelter into the fresh air and rays of the sun that I thought I may never feel again.

I know that you saved me and I know that I saved you.

And that is all I know.

Aug 15, 2014

Your Dog is Always There For You

Your dog is there for you
Not sometimes
Not maybe
Not never
But always

He waits for you
He watches you
He is your best friend

And when you are alone
Living alone
A marriage or relationship in the past
Your dog is your present
Your dog is your future

He is your Saturday night date
Your excuse that is not an excuse
For just staying home

He will watch your favorite TV show
He will listen to your ongoing commentary
He will tilt his head and do his best to understand
Whatever dribble is coming from your mouth

                                              R.I.P. Buster 

He will want to share all of the moments of his life
With all the moments of yours
And then he will want more
More than time can give
In the short life he lives

A dog is a gift
He comes and goes
He teaches you to love life
To love unconditionally
To love him
To love yourself
Even if you feel no one else does

There are no stronger feelings
Than those between a dog and his owner
You can say your children
But many will tell you
Their children grow up and move out
Their children start lives of their own

But your dog never starts a life of his own
He only lives one life and that entire life is with you

A dog won’t notice if you gain weight
Or if your hair turns grey
He won’t notice if you can’t fit into your old jeans
Or if your chin doubles

He will sense if you are sad
He will sense if you are lost
Always helping you find your way
Back to yourself

He will have you under his watch
From the moment you meet until the moment you part
Giving you the greatest, purest taste of love
A constant reminder of what we are here for

So kiss your dog
And if he is gone
Think of him
And he will know you are thinking of him
For he is all around you
Making sure you never forget
What love is

And one day
You will be side by side

And he will greet you
As if you went out for groceries
And finally came home

It will be a celebration
Of an unbreakable bond
That flows between you and him
And dances beyond the clouds
Drifts through the sky
And joins you in an everlasting waltz

Jul 15, 2013

Where do Dogs go when they Die?

I have lost 4 dogs in my lifetime. I can’t convey the pain, the loss, the feeling of hopelessness but I can tell you that through this devastation, I became a believer. Actually I became a crusader. I prayed that some kind of Dog Heaven (such as Rainbow Bridge) existed; I proclaimed it the best place on earth where the most incredible souls roamed – a place too sacred and spiritual for those of human form.


One of the things that stuck with me after my dogs were gone was who will take care of them and how will they make it to wherever they go next? After all dogs need to be cared for their entire lives, they don’t grow up and move out and start a life of their own. 

I decided to Google "Doggie Heaven" and “Rainbow Bridge” and I read all this great stuff that other believers had written. Many were keeping in touch with their dogs as if they were skyping with them from earth. They imagined their dogs in this magical, beautiful place where they are eternally young, happy and healthy. All they do is play, eat and sleep ;much like they did here on earth.

I think dogs do deserve their own heaven but at the same time I selfishly wonder whether I will ever be granted a temporary pass so I can see my boys one last time.

I can’t live on rainbows or on stars and I can’t wake up and find my departed dogs by my bedside. I can’t bring them for a run in the woods or a swim in the lake and I can’t admire them from the couch as they sleep on their backs with their legs in the air.

 All I can do is close my eyes and remember their faces and hope that never fades.

I believe in rainbows, I believe in bridges that connect us to the souls we loved in our lifetimes, I believe my dogs miss me as much as I miss them and that if I write their names in the sky, they will see and know I haven’t forgotten them.

What do you believe?

Sep 21, 2011

Dogs, Heaven & Heartache

 This is a tribute, a pool of memories and a heavy heartache.

It's the one year anniversary of the passing of both of my dogs. We never would have expected to lose them within a month of one another. For all of those who know me, my family and friends, you also know this story too well yet it is a story I relive, day in, day out and as a writer, I write about what I live.

I had two dogs and they were the loves of my life. They were my children.

Buddy was 13 going on 14 yrs of age. We adopted him from a shelter when he was 4 months old. He was a Flat Coat Retriever, actually a sought after and very expensive breed. The people who gave him up were living in a small apartment, leaving him there for 10 hours each day unattended and he consistently barked and destroyed things while they were absent (big surprise).

He was a wild puppy. He barked all the time. He definitely mistaken me for a fellow canine and wanted to play with me and throw me around. He destroyed my bike helmet, speaker stands, spoon couch, coffee table, photo album (the only thing I couldn't replace - black and whites of my Grandmother and family)yet nothing belonging to my husband.

He ate a challah (cooling off in the kitchen before Shabbos. He drank wine (that my late father-in-law spilled all over the floor). He emptied the knife drawer without enduring a single cut. He use to escape from the groomer and be waiting for us outside - ditto for daycare and he thought it was really funny when we brought him to dog runs and he refused to come to us when it was time to leave. That would go on for sometimes over an hour until we were able to build a "posse" of other dog owners - whose dogs did return to them.

We brought him everywhere and on all of our vacations. We never left him in the hotel room or tent. We never placed him in a kennel and he even came to my friends wedding in Toronto (shout out to Mitch Lerner).

He ran on the beach in Maine and climbed to the Notch in Vermont. He stayed beside me in bed when I was sick and watched over me. He waited for me to return home from work every day so we could go on our walk or run. He hung out with my Dad when he was sick and watched over him.

And 6 years ago we decided to adopt another dog so Buddy could have a little brother. His name was Buster. He was a Golden Retriever/Lab Mix or you could say a "backyard dog" truly. His mother (a golden mix belonging to a friend of my husband) escaped from their backyard on the very day she was supposed to go and get fixed. She ran all the way to the house of a single ladies man - a large Golden mix in the neighbourhood and well they did the nasty. She then returned home pregnant and a few months later her family was expecting a baby of their own and caring for her 6 puppies.

We were invited to visit the litter when they were 4 weeks old. They all looked pretty much the same except for Buster who had an extra long blaze from the top of his head to his nose. I let them know that he was my choice and they asked that we return in 2 weeks (at 6 weeks of age for him should have really been 8 weeks before he left his mom but they couldn't manage any longer and we did not want to take any chances).

Buster was the most innocent, sweet, lovable dog I have ever had. He seemed to identify me as his actual mother. I guess it all started when we picked him up to take him home and he was shivering so I put him in my fleece next to my heart and zipped it up so all you could see was his heading poking out. He followed me every where and he studied my body language and facial expressions and voice tone to the point where I didn't have to move or say anything in order for him to know what I was going to do next.

He waited at the top of the stairs for me to come home at the end of the day. I loved him so much that leaving to work actually caused me to have pain in my gut because I wasn't going to be with him. When I would return home, he would jump up on me and knock me into the wall and then run away so that I could chase him. This was a daily ritual. He never grew tired of it nor did I.

He was always beside me whether I was sleeping or watching TV or reading on the couch. He had one rule - I had to scratch his belly while he layed upside down beside me and if I stopped, he lifted his head and gave me a dirty look (eyes to the side - head tilted).

He and Buddy were brothers and best friends. He followed Buddy's lead and looked to him for advice.

One night, a year ago, Buddy suffered a massive stroke. He collapsed to the floor, his head was stuck in a tilted position, his eyes were flickering and he became paralyzed. By the time we brought him to the Vet he was barely coherent and knowing there was no reversal only a worse situation to come, we let him go. It was one of the most awful experiences of my life. It happens so quickly. It's humane and it's with dignity but once you see that needle and that IV plunge itself in - your final goodbye is too quick for such a good friend and true love.

When we returned home, Buster greeted us at the truck and waited for the back door to open so that he could run circles around the garage with Buddy. We were still crying and I really couldn't explain anything to poor Buster. His brother was gone and within a few days, I found him staring out the front window, slouched on the couch, hoping that Buddy would come running up the walk.

We were in so much pain but we also recognized the incredibly charmed life that Buddy had led and all that we had learned from his friendship and dedication. So we decided to adopt another dog to serve as a new friend and brother to Buster.

Next up was Gainey - a beautiful boy - German Shepard - Husky - who knows what else? Mix - Gainey is an incredibly intelligent, calm dog who speaks often(howls) but otherwise is Mr. Cool, calm and collective. Him and Buster hit it off although Buster never quite let him all the way in I think as a sign of loyalty to Buddy.

Things were getting a bit better and we were healing and then the worst possible thing happened - Buster at almost 5 years of age became very sick, very rapidly. He stopped eating but he had always been a fussy eater and not a big one at that so at first we just decided to give him some rice and other dog food to keep his interest. Nothing seemed to work and then he started to show signs of being ill that I won't get into in this post. Two weeks later he was diagnosed with Cancer. At that point he had been spending days at the Vet where they were hydrating him and treating him for nausea so they could hopefully get some food into him but nothing was working and he was dwindling away.

You know when you look back at something in time and you want to slap yourself for what you did or didn't do and you think of how trivial every day life can be in comparison to life and death situations? Well at the time Buster was spending his days at the vet (and nights at home during which my husband stayed up every two hours to flush Buster's IV - the only way we could keep him at home with us at night) I had just started a new freelance contract in communications for a hospital. I had tons of work and as a freelancer, once you get a contract, you have to milk it for all its worth because you don't know when your next one will come. I left during the day a few times to visit Buster at the vet but had I known the outcome, I would have given up that contract and spent every day all day with him.

When I did take off a few hours during the day, mostly at lunch time, it killed me seeing him all hooked up and in a cage. I kissed his head and his blaze and ran my fingers through his soft hair over his ears and I told him how much I loved him and what a good boy he was and then I returned to work.

A few days later I don't know why but I suddenly felt like I should take the afternoon off and go be with Buster. My husband had the same inclination even though we did not discuss this and were quite surprised to see one another at the vet. When we arrived, Buster was being treated for muscle spasms that had started a few hours earlier - a reaction to medication - and so they gave him relaxants and one of the technicians was holding him in her arms. When we walked into the room, he slowly made his way over to me and collapsed in my lap. I wrapped my body around him and held him as closely as I could as if to guard him and keep him safe so that the grim reaper wouldn't come and take him.

Just then our Vet came in and the results from further tests were conclusive that he had terminal Cancer that had spread to all of his organs and it was a matter of days or less. We were given the option to take him home and let him pass from starvation or to let him go right then and there at the vet with dignity and without further suffering. I couldn't believe I was saying goodbye to my other boy, my special boy at only 4 years of age. I cry as I write this and let me tell you, my husband and I were balling our eyes out in disbelief. I wished for him to have a second chance, to be spared and knowing that was impossible, I wished for my entire being to become instantly numb to cut off the pain I was feeling.

We did what was best for Buster. I placed the side of my face by his ear so he could hear me saying "I love you Buster - I wish I could save you but I can't so go be with Buddy". My husband and I reached our arms and bodies over him and kissed his face and his blaze and within seconds he was gone. He just layed there like he was asleep, his beautiful little face and his powder, blond coat and his long white eyelashes.

I wanted to go with him. It was that bad. I felt like someone had come along and stabbed me in the heart and grabbed Buster and ran away with him to a place I would never find.

We cremated Buster as we had Buddy. My two beautiful boys who were just running around wrestling and eating each other's faces a month prior - at summer's end - were suddenly taken from us at Fall's beginning.

Often, I come home and expect to find Buster waiting for me on the top of the stairs. It's the one image that sticks in my mind most - him just sitting there anticipating my entrance. Buster was the first being that I would see when I woke up each morning and the last I would see before going to bed. I miss him every day and I look at his picture by my bedside every night before I go to sleep.

Sometimes he comes to me in my dreams. Buddy is with him as well. It's always the same dream. I am walking on a country road and there is a light fog in the distance. I hear the sound of paws pounding on the pavement. I look ahead and around a bend, Buster and Buddy come running toward me and when we meet, I lean down and hold them in my arms and I kiss them and laugh and I tell them how much I've missed them and they say "Oh come on Mom - let's just go run around and have some fun - life is too short and we can't stay with you for long"

Dogs live short lives or maybe humans live lives that are too long. I don't know which is better but I do know that dogs - my dogs - are and were gifts from God. They were sent to remind me that I am able to give love without asking for anything in return and to care for someone just because I love them and that is all I want to do . 

Dogs also teach us that we can be loved wholly for who we are and not for what we look like or how much money we make or what we have of material possessions in this world. They love us for our souls and they are souls in many ways.

Losing someone you love is losing a part of yourself and a part of your life. There is nothing you can do in those final moments other than hold them and pray that they leave this world for a better place.

Other than that, all I can do is dream about a winding road in the country, covered partially in fog until I reach a bend and Buddy and Buster come running toward me just wanting a kiss and to play. So simple, so brief and so it goes on and on.

Buster - when I close my eyes I see you - you will remain in my dreams and in my soul forever.

If you've lost a dog, feel free to comment and note his/her name.

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