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 Tributes & Poems-- comfort for the loss of your pet 
The Rainbow Bridge 
Having been circulated and attributed sufficiently widely around the world, the original authorship of the poem is now uncertain. The website suggests that there are three known contenders at present:
  • Paul C. Dahm: Last known to live in Lincoln City, OR. Dahm is a grief counselor. He is said to have written the poem in 1981, copyrighted it in 1994, and published it a book titled "The Rainbow Bridge" in 1998.
  • William N. Britton: Mr. Britton's book, Legend of Rainbow Bridge, copyright and published in 1994 , has lovely illustrations by Ron Dawson. Mr. Britton and his late wife were co-founders of Companion Golden Retriever Rescue in West Jordan, Utah.
  • Dr. Wallace Sife: Also a professional grief counselor, Dr. Sife heads theAssociation for Pet Loss and Bereavement, and his version of the poem, titled, "All Pets Go to Heaven," appears on that organization's site. Dr.Fife's poem also is featured in his book, The Loss of a Pet.

However, according to Wikipedia, American author Paul Koudounaris, a member of The Order of the Good Death published an article in February, 2023, in which he detangled the history of the poem and provided proof, including the original handwritten manuscript of the text, which make it clear that the author is Edna Clyne-Rekhy, who wrote it as a teenager in Scotland in 1959 to mourn the death of her dog Major. 

There are many variations of this poem, which is sure to bring a tear to the eye of anyone who has lost a beloved pet. Three are shown below.

The Rainbow Bridge The Legend of Rainbow Bridge The New Rainbow Bridge
The Spirit of a German Shepherd Dog 

I was standing on a hillside, in a field of blowing wheat
And the spirit of a German Shepherd Dog was lying at my feet.
He looked at me with kind dark eyes, ancient wisdom shining through
And in the essence of his being his love shone clear and true.
His mind did lock upon my heart as I stood there on that day
And he told me of this story about a place so far away.
His tale did put my heart at ease, my fears did fade away
About what lay ahead of me on another distant day
"I live among God's creatures now in the heavens of your mind
So do not grieve for me, my friend for I am with my kind.
My collar is a rainbow's hue, my leash a shooting star.
My boundaries are the Milky Way where I sparkle from afar.
There are no pens or kennels here, and I am not confined
But free to roam God's heavens among my Shepherd kind.
I nap the day on a snowy cloud, gentle breezes rocking me
And dream the dreams of Earthlings and how it used to be.
The trees are full of liver treats and tennis balls abound
And Milkbones line the walkways just waiting to be found.
There even is a ring set up - the grass all lush and green
And everyone who gaits around becomes the Best of Breed.
For we're all winners in this place, we have no faults, you see
And God passes out those ribbons to each one, even me.
I drink from waters laced with gold my world a beauty to behold
And wise old dogs do form my pride to amble at my very side.
At night I sleep in an angel's arms, her wings protecting me
And moonbeams dance about us as stardust falls on thee.
So when your life on earth is spent, and you stand at Heaven's gate
Have no fear of loneliness for here, you know I wait".

-author unknown to me-

A Living Love 

If you ever love a dog, there are three days in your life you will always remember....

The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter--simple because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room--and when you feel it brush against you for the first time--it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep when you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet--and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness.

And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives. And on this day--if your friend and God have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own--on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you--you will feel as lone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you. But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul--a bit smaller in size than your own--seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg--very, very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lay--you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely to be painful, and leave an ache in your heart--As time passes the ache will come and go as if it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when--along with the memory of your pet--and piercing through the heaviness in your heart--there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love--like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow--and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a Love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our Beloved Pets--it is a Love we will always possess.

By Martin Scot Kosins
The Loan 

I will lend you for a while, a German Shepherd pup, God said,
For you to love him while he lives, and mourn him when he's dead. 

Maybe for twelve or fourteen years, or maybe two or three,
But will you, 'till I call him back, take care of him for me.

He'll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief,
You'll always have his memories as solace for your grief. 

I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return
But there are lessons taught below I want this pup to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
And from the folk that crowd's life's land, well I have chosen you. 

Now will you give him all your love, Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take my Shepherd back again.

I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord Thy Will be Done",
For all the joys this pup will bring, the risk of grief we'll run. 

We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may
And for the happiness we've known forever grateful stay.

But should you call him back, much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand. 

If, by our love, we've managed, your wishes to achieve,
In memory of him we loved, to help us while we grieve,


When our faithful friend departs this world of strife,
We'll have yet another German Shepherd and love him all his life.

-Author unknown to me-
Farewell Master 
"Farewell master, yet not Farewell.
Where I go, you to, shall dwell.
I am gone, before your face,
A moments time, a little space.
When you come where I have stepped;
you will wonder why you wept." 
by Edwin Arnold
I'm Here 

I stood by your bed last night,
I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying,
You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly
As you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you,
I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here".

I was close to you at breakfast,
I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times,
Your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today,
Your arms were getting sore,
I longed to take your parcels,
I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today,
You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you,
That I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house,
As you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you,
I smiled and said "It's me".

You looked so very tired,
And sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know,
That I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be,
so near you every day.
To say to you with certainty,
"I never went away".

You sat there very quietly,
Then smiled, I think you knew...
In the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you.

And when the day is over...
I smile and watch you yawning,
And say "Goodnight, God Bless you,
I'll see you in the morning".

And when the time is right for you
To cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you,
And we'll stand side by side.

I have so many things to show you,
There is so much for you to see,
Be patient, live your journey out...
Then come home to be with me.

-Author Unknown to Me-

God's Garden 

God looked around his garden
and found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth
and saw your tired face.

He put His arm around you
and lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.

He knew that you were suffering
He knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never get well
on the earth again.

He saw that the road was getting rough
and the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids
and whispered "Peace Be Thine."

It broke my heart to lose you
but you didn't go alone.
For part of me went with you.
The day God called you home.

-author unknown to me-

Tribute to my Best Friend 
Sunlight streams through window pane
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 hill,
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 memorials
In a blanket of my love;
And keep them for my best friend
Until we meet again.
-author unknown to me-
Kingdom In The Skies 

Light a candle and remember me,

But not with teary eyes.

Raise your head upwards,

My kingdom is in the skies.

I am the warmth that touches you

On a sunny summer day,

I am the breeze that caresses you

From near and far away.

I draw you pictures in the clouds

So that you might know

I am at peace and watching you

On earth not far below.

Please open up your heart

So another creature may see

What it is to be loved

The way you loved me.

Bring out my old ball

My dishes and favorite toy;

Don't let them go to waste

They can bring so much joy.

And if you should need to talk

All you do is close your eyes,

Raise your head upwards

I'll be listening from the skies.

By: Carol Kufner

Winwood German Shepherds

From Friend to Friend 

You're giving me a special gift,
So sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days,
Your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing
When your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts
Will only be in vain.

So looking deep into your eyes,
Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
Once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess
Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
For it's the only way.
That strength is why I've followed you,
And chose you as my friend,
And why I've loved you all these years...
My partner 'til the end.
Please, understand just what this gift
You're giving means to me,
It gives me back the strength I've lost,
And all my dignity.
You take a stand on my behalf,
For that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right,
For I believe it too.
So one last time, I breathe your scent,
And through your hand I feel,
The courage that's within you,
To now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here,
Dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog,
My pain and struggle done.
And don't despair my passing,
For I won't be far away,
Forever here, within your heart
And memory I'll stay.
I'll be there watching over you,
Your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I'll run,
...a young dog once again.


In Memory of Asta, Feb. 1997
(c) Karen Clouston

The Gift 
I'll lend you for a little while
My grandest dog he said.
For you to love while he's alive
And mourn for when he's gone.
It may be one or twenty years,
Or days or months, you see.
But, will you, till I take him back
Take care of him for me?
He'll bring charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief,
You'll have treasured memories
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But, there are lessons taught on earth
I want this dog to learn.
I've looked the wide world over
In my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes
With trust I have selected you.
Now will you give him your total love?
Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come
To take him back again?
I know you'll give him tenderness
And love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you've known
Forever grateful stay.
But should I come and call for him
Much sooner than you'd planned
You'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And someday you'll understand.
 -Author Unknown to Me-
A Parting Prayer 

Dear Lord, please open your gates
and call St. Francis
to come escort this beloved companion
across the
Rainbow Bridge.

Assign her to a place of honor,
for she has been a faithful servant
and has always done her best to please me.

Bless the hands that send her to you,
for they are doing so in love and compassion,
freeing her from pain and suffering.

Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
Help me remember the details of her life
with the love she has shown me.
And grant me the courage to honor her
by sharing those memories with others.

Let her remember me as well
and let her know that I will always love her.
And when it's my time to pass over into your paradise,
please allow her to accompany those
who will bring me home.

Thank you, Lord,
for the gift of her companionship
and for the time we've had together.

And thank you, Lord,
for granting me the strength
to give her to you now.


   - written by Kim Crenshaw, March 1998 for Brandy, beloved companion
Permission to reproduce and/or circulate this prayer is granted with the condition that the copyright and credit remains attached.
May it help others who face the decision to help their beloved pets across the Rainbow Bridge.

Brandy's webpage address is:

The Last Battle 

If it should be I grow frail and weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this -- the last battle -- can't be won.
You will be sad - I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand.
For on this day, more than the rest,

Your love must stand the test. 
You won't want me to suffer so,
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend;
Only, stay with me until the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree,
a great kindness you have done for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you,
Who must decide this thing to do; 
We've had so many happy years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

-- Author Unknown to Me --

The Animal Rescue Site

"They are your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.

You are their life, their love, their leader.

They will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of their heart.

You owe it to them to be worthy of such devotion." author unknown



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