It’s been a tough few days here at HQ, to be honest. Ted, our faithful, faulty bull terrier was put down on Wednesday morning. He had lymphoma.
Ted was rescued from Essex where he had been brutally treated. Thereafter, it was difficult to know which of his eccentric/dysfunctional traits to assign to nature and which to nurture. Always a dog of very low self-esteem, he also had the uproarious sense of humour common to bullys (other delightful traits include complete untrainability) and, while gentle as can be most of the time, he had a hilarious penchant for nipping people’s backsides. He got to know a good many undertakers and was one of the country’s leading experts on natural burial grounds (from a particular point of view).
Some years ago he went to see the team at Arka, where he met Jean Francis’s golden labrador, Poppy. The two of them chased each other round and round the office and nearly wrecked it while Jean and I collapsed in laughter.
Poppy died just a few weeks ago, so Jean and I have been exchanging condolences. We both agree that it’s much easier to be sensible when humans die.
Jean sent me the following poem. If you’re a sensible sort, you may think it thoroughly sentimental. Well, Jean and I don’t.
The Rainbow Bridge 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 vigour. 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.
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. 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.