I’ve been reading today about the rainbow bridge. The poem written a few decades ago that describes a place where our departed furry friends go to play as they wait for us to join them. I’ll admit I’m a bit perplexed by tales from those who are skeptical of the concept and do not understand why it can be a comfort for those who loose pets… for those who feel a deep sadness when a friend departs this earth. Maybe its because they have never had the same bond with an animal as they have had with a human.
Personally, I have a complete understanding…. especially today.
For the last 21 years … yes you read that right – old enough to legally drink… I have had the honor of playing Mom to a fluffy goofball named Bear.
Oh wait .. let me correct that… Murray Franklin Bear. ‘Bear’ for short. You see, Bear was our first pure breed kid that came with official papers, so we thought he needed a pretentious name.
Murray – Named after the dog in the TV show ‘Mad About You’ that kept running into walls
Frankin – For Frank Sinatra cause Bear had the most incredible blue yes
Bear – Cause I love Teddy Bears
When we started looking for a kitten, we knew we wanted a RagDoll. This breed is very unique as they are too docile to go outside and are so loving that when you pick them up they flop in your arms like a ragdoll.. thus the name. A local gal had some kittens that needed homes and I was looking for a very specific color and pattern…. in the end it really didnt matter cause when the runt of the pack bounded across the floor and right up to me, staring at me with those dazzling blue eyes and a comical, yet purposeful meow that was impossible to ignore… Right then.. I looked at my husband and we knew we had the new addition to our family.
Thats the thing… we didn’t end up having kids. Not for lack of trying, it just wasn’t in the cards for us. So our pets became our kids. While we didn’t have tiny humans in our house to raise, we have always had tiny fur-balls around to nurture, and feed, and bathe, and pay vets bills for, and medicate and get sitters for, and make us laugh, and share our lives.
We also measure time by our kids. Not in the way people do with tiny humans — diapers, to school to dating to driving to college, to weddings, etc. Ours are markers of an entire life span. Starting with bringing the little fur-baby home to making hard decisions about quality of life. About 10 years ago we lost my first cat, Samantha to a cancerous growth on her tongue. We lost my beloved sheltie Kylie (Lady Kathryn Kyleah… ya thats a story for another time) about 6 years ago to a long illness that we still arent exactly sure what it was.
And now, we lost Bear.
He saw us through the loss of his other two adopted siblings, 4 houses, 8 (or more) job changes, and a wedding. We had Bear even before my husband put a ring on my finger. Bear was a certified nut-job… running through the house, skidding across the floor and landing in the wall, thus the Murray part, and he always found the most interesting places to nap. He found it necessary to climb up my husbands pant leg when the gentle pawing at his shin resulted in no attention. And he demanded we hold him a certain way… each of us in a different position — and when he was held the right way and happy… you could hear his purrr across the room.
the Bear sleeping on his stuffed bear.
This was taken just last week before my business trip…. i had a feeling we wouldnt have him too much longer and spent lots of snuggle time with him… just in case.
So my hope is that Bear crossed that rainbow bridge and met up with Samantha who he loved to terrorize … err I mean play with…. and Kylie who was his best pal and they are together, playing in a field… waiting. Waiting for my other ragdoll Koda who was just diagnosed with small cell lymphoma and is taking chemo pills now… and eventually many many…many years and hopefully many many fur-babies from now… us. So we can be together with our family again.
And for those who dont understand the bond with animals, just watch a herd of elephants care for each other, or a momma gorilla cuddle her baby, or a momma duck as she worries if the ducklings are close enough to her and out of harms way — or me as I grieve for the deep loss of my little baby Bear, who shared 21 years with me on this earth.