My Hope for a Rainbow Bridge


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.


Beci Mahnken is Chief Magic Maker at MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel. With more than 23 years in the travel biz, she is a frequent guest on many travel and Disney community podcasts including WDW Radio, and partners with other great travel creators like, and She was recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as the Super A-List Agent for Disney travel and serves on their Earmarked Advisory Board. Beci has long worked with the Disney fan community to help support fan efforts and create high-profile events and has a passion for supporting deserving charities with a special emphasis on animal welfare efforts. She has a love for exploring history, ocean cruising, and river cruising and served on advisory boards for the prestigious GTM event and TravelAge West Magazine. Beci's dedicated to her craft of sharing the magic of travel with anyone who will listen.

Discussion11 Comments

  1. Terri Daugherty

    Aww Beci, your words are so sweet and clearly heartfelt. This brought tears to my eyes thinking about your loss and being reminded of my beautiful Blossom, a golden retriever mix. I agree that all of us who have loved an animal counts on that rainbow bridge being there when we cross over ourselves! I’ll be thinking of you as you grieve the loss of Bear.

    • beci

      Thanks for your kind words Terri. It was tough to write… but I knew id have support from great friends!

  2. Dear Beci,

    I am so sorry your Bear has crossed; my heart aches so for you. Like yours, our furbabies are family – when one leaves us, the heartbreak is very real. Such a wonderful tribute to Bear…and knowing he is reunited with Samantha, and Kylie. Thank you for sharing his story with us. My love and hugs.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. Bear had such a wonderful life with you as a parent! I live in dread of this day myself. My husband and I were also unable to have children so our dog, Thor is our fur baby. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • beci

      Thats hard too — you know when you bring them into your lives, a day will come when you will feel like this. But the joy they bring makes it to worth it.

  4. You know how much we understand exactly what you are going through now. And we know Bear has joined Smokey, KD, Emmy and Zeus who are all waiting for the rest of us to join them. Bear was your child and one of our few grandchildren. We will miss him too but have 21 years of fond memories to remind us of how special he was. Thank you for writing such a special memoir and sharing it with the rest of us.

  5. Beci so beautifully said So sorry for your loss. Embrace the memories of those 21 years.
    We have been grappling with the knowledge that we will soon have to say goodbye to our rescue Truman . Trying to decide if it is time yet or can we hold onto him a little bit longer . Thank goodness for the hope of the rainbow bridge and our getting to cuddle with our babies once again.

  6. This is belated (I just found your blog thanks to the Kahlua and Cream pic!!), but big time hugs from Mo and me!! You are so right about them picking us – Mo was NOT on my list when I went to the ASPCA almost 5 years ago after losing my beloved Benjamin Coffin the Bird “Benny” quaker parrot – but he picked me, and it’s been an awesome ride!

    Enjoy your vacation!!

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