Many of us who have lost a pet are comforted by the sentiment behind Rainbow Bridge, the peaceful place ‘this side of Heaven’ where pets wait to be reunited with their human friends. It is not known to whom this reassuring concept can first be attributed; we only know that throughout the 80s and 90s the idea of a Rainbow Bridge was widely shared across the world, bringing comfort to many experiencing the loss of a faithful companion.
Academic scholars have noted a similarity to a central feature of 13th century Norse mythology, Bilfröst; a burning rainbow bridge that spans across the void between our world (Midgard) and Asgard, the realm of the gods. It has also been pointed out that the concept of a paradise where pets wait to be reunited with their humans was first seen in published literature in 1902, in the book ‘Beautiful Joe’s Paradise’ by the American author Margaret Marshall Saunders. In her story, whilst waiting for their humans in this paradise, animals help each other and recover from any mistreatment they may have experienced on earth, before passing into Heaven in a hot air balloon.
Of course, the uncertainty over the origins of the Rainbow Bridge pales into insignificance compared with the comfort the thought of it brings. Knowing that a much-loved pet is in a better place, patiently waiting to be reunited with his or her carer, has certainly helped many friends of The Ralph Site to fill a little of the void left behind after a pet’s passing.
You might also like to know that we have collected together a selection of writings and poetry related to the loss of our dear animal friends, and this virtual booklet is available free of charge to our community members. All you have to do to receive your free copy is click on this link and enter your name and email address. We hope that the beautiful words of others who have experienced the same feelings of loss, sadness, anger and acceptance bring you some comfort, and we promise that we won’t pass your details on to anyone else.
And we leave you with a tender example of one such poem, beautifully describing the huge sense of loss that accompanies the passing of a pet, sadly the author is unknown:
Tribute to a Best Friend
Sunlight streams through the windowpane onto a spot on the floor.
Then I remember,
It’s where you used to lie, but now you are no more.
Our feet walk down a hall of carpet, and muted echoes sound.
Then I remember,
It’s where your paws would joyously abound.
A voice is heard along the road, and up beyond the hill.
Then I remember,
It can’t be yours, your golden voice is still.
But I’ll take that vacant spot of floor and empty muted hall,
And lay them with the absent voice and unused dish along the wall.
I’ll wrap these treasured memories in a blanket of my love,
And keep them for my best friend until we meet above.
Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.