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the Dog Blog

Our dogs are always in our hearts...

Our dogs are always in our hearts...

Here’s how to celebrate Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

With a majority of people in the United States having pets, chances are that you or someone you know has had to say goodbye to a beloved animal at some point. Our pets are family members we live with day in and day out.  

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day is August 28, 2016. Created last year by Deborah Barnes, this is a special day set aside to remember beloved pets that have passed away. Barnes is an award-winning blogger, author and CEO of ZZP Publishing, LLC. She created Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day in honor of her cat, Mr. Jazz, who she lost on August 28, 2013.

Saying goodbye can be incredibly difficult. It was undoubtedly why the “Rainbow Bridge” poem was penned. While we don’t know the author, any of us who has ever loved a dog or other pet knows what that author was experiencing when pen was put to paper to write this, the original version of “Rainbow Bridge:”

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 and 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 miss someone very special to them; one 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. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away 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 the Rainbow Bridge together…

Coping with the loss of a family pet.

If you’ve recently lost a beloved pet, know that you are not alone in your grief. Losing a pet is a significant trauma for most people. Realize that it’s okay to grieve; it’s a perfectly normal reaction. Hiding your pain or ignoring it will make it harder for you to deal with your grief properly. Here are a few tips for coping with your loss:

  1. Don’t feel bad about grieving. Instead, you might want to reach out to support groups online or to friends or relatives who have been through the loss of a pet. But by all means, give yourself permission to grieve.
  2. Take care of yourself. Make sure you don’t allow grief to make you neglect your physical and emotional wellbeing. Get plenty of sleep and exercise and be sure to eat properly.
  3. Create a memorial for your pet. Some people lay their pets to rest in special pet cemeteries where they can visit the grave regularly. Others plant trees, make scrapbooks, keep journals and find other ways to commemorate their pets’ lives.
  4. Surviving pets also experience loss, so be sure to give them love and attention during this time. Keep up with your regular routine and don’t neglect their exercise or playtime.
  5. Give yourself time. It may be difficult to contemplate, but the time may come when you want to get another pet. That time varies greatly from person to person; it may be a week, or it may be a year or longer.  When you’re ready, another dog will surely appreciate the wonderful life you can share with him—and you will appreciate the love he gives back to you. 

Celebrate the Pets You Love. 

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day can be a time to stop and fondly remember those pets who have touched your life.  It is also a good day to build memories together with the pets who are currently in your life that you can cherish for a lifetime. Schedule in some extra playtime with your best friend. Take a longer walk than usual. Snap some special photos of you and your dog together. You may even want to start a diary about your journey together! Whatever you do, relish the time you have together!

Share your photos with us on social media with the hashtag: #biljacremembers.

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If you have never heard about the Rainbow Bridge, please feel free comment.

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