These stories are dedicated to all the wonderful people who do rescue work:
"There are those who choose to surround themselves with lives even more temporary than our own life within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan."
— Irving Townsend, in The Once Again Prince
Rescuing a dog won't change the world but it will change the world of the dog you rescue.
1.A RESCUER’S DREAM
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and grey, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.
It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often. He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again.
As he walked towards The Bridge he watched all of the animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologised, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.
With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal hurried towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting. One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.
“ You see that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur greying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across the Bridge.” The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “ So what will happen now?”
As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life. “Watch and see,” said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears.
The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together. “What happened?” “That was a rescuer.” The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes.
When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they could not place on earth, Across The Rainbow Bridge.
The Rainbow Bridge
In memory of innocent animals who’ve died at the hands of cruelty and abuse.
by Grace Saalsaa (Written for those who foster)
Melissa sat on the floor, unable to sit straight and tall like her
mother had always admonished her to do when she was a child.
Today, it would be impossible. And tomorrow... it probably wouldn't be
possible then either. Her mind was too busy thinking about
the dog that lay across her lap.
When he came to be with her, he had no name. She remembered that day
very well. The first sight of him was enough to break her heart
into little pieces.
The woman, who had taken this dog from the rough streets where he had
lived, had tried to save him because she was unable to watch
this young dog find his own food in a dumpster outside the crack house
where he lived. Nobody cared that he was gone.
His fur was very thick; so thick that she had to wiggle her fingers
down to feel his bony body. And as she pulled her fingers away
again, they were coated in old dirt. Black and white, he was supposed
to be. But on that day he was beige and dust.
He sat in the back of her car panting continuously, ears laid outward
for he had lost his courage and couldn't keep them proud and
tall. He sat motionless, waiting and limp.
But the thing that was the most disturbing was the look in his eyes.
They were quiet eyes, sunken into his head - and they watched
her. They were alive with thought. He was waiting for her to do
something "to" him.
Little did he know at the time that, instead, she would "give"
something to him. She gave him one of the little broken pieces of her
She reached out to stroke his head and he instinctively squinched his
eyes shut and dropped his head, waiting for the heavy hand.
With that little bit of movement she gave him another one of the
broken pieces of her heart.
She took him home and gave him a bath. She toweled him dry and brushed
some order back into his coat. For that, he was grateful and
even though his own heart was loaded with worms, he accepted yet
another piece of her heart, for it would help to heal his own.
"Would you like some water, big boy?" She whispered to him as she set
down a large bowl of cold well water. He drank it up happily.
He had been dehydrated for a long time and she knew it would take him
most of the week to re-hydrate.
He wanted more water - but it was gone. Ah... that's how it is, he
thought to himself. But he was grateful for what he had been able
to get. "Would you like some more?" and she gave him another bowl
along with another little piece of her heart.
"I know that you are hungry. You don't have to find your own food
anymore. Here's a big bowl of good food for you. I've added some
warm water and a little piece of my heart."
Over the four months that he stayed with her, his health improved. The
heart full of worms was replaced piece by piece with little
bits of her loving heart. And each little piece worked a very special
kind of magic.
When the warmth of love and gentle caresses are added, the little
broken pieces knit together again and heal the container it
resides in. That container becomes whole again.
She watched each little broken piece fill a gap in the gentle dog
until his quiet eyes radiated the light from the little pieces.
You see, kind words gently spoken turn the little pieces into
illumination for the spirit that resides within.
He rested beside her, happy to be with her always. Never had he known
such kindness, such gentle caresses; such love. His health had
returned, his spirit was playful as a young dog's should be and he had
learned about love.
Now his heart was full. The healing was complete. It was time to go.
There was another person who had another heart that was meant
to be shared with him.
So she sat shapeless on the floor because all the broken pieces of her
heart were with the dog. It is difficult to sit tall when
your heart is not with you. She wrapped her arms around the dog that
sat with tall, proud ears for her. Lean on me, he said.
And she gave him one last thing that would keep him strong; that would
keep the pieces of her heart together long after he had gone
on to live his new life. She gave him her tears and bound them to the
pieces with a simple statement made from the ribbons of her
"I love you, Joe."
And Joe lived happily ever after.
Melissa sat on the floor, straight and tall like her mother had always
admonished her to do when she was a child. Today, it would be
possible. And tomorrow... it probably would be possible too. Because
her mind was busy thinking about this, the next dog that lay
across her lap.
Where did she get the heart to help yet another dog, you ask?
Ahhh... it came with the dog. They always bring a little bit of heart
with them. And when the rescuer breathes in that little bit of
heart, it quickly grows and fills the void left by the last dog
3.I Rescued a Human Today
Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering
apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to
help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.
As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in
the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked
today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think
poorly of them.
As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't
feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a
difference in someone's life. She got down on her knees and made
little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars
to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for
companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that
all would be well.
Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that
I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would
promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see
that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many
more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be
saved. At least I could save one.
I rescued a human today.
4. The Blessing
O God, creator & provider, you have done all things wisely.
In your goodness you have made us in your image and given us care over living things.
Reach out with your right hand & grant, O Heavenly Father, your protection & blessing to all things that have breath.
Guard them from all evil, and grant that they may be a source of joy and an expression of love for us.
Hear our humble prayer, O God for our friends the animals, your creatures.
We pray especially for all that are suffering in any way,
For the overworked and underfed, the hunted, lost or hungry, for all in captivity or ill treated and for those that are put to death.
We pray for those who deal with them,
We ask a heart of compassion, gentle hands & kindly words.
Make us all true friends to animals and worthy
Followers of our merciful Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Send your bountiful blessings upon us all.
May God who created animals of this earth as a help to us, continue to protect and sustain us with the grace his blessing brings, now and forever. Amen.
5. On Christmas Morning.
I wish, for every dog searching trashcans for breakfast, a filled bowl with
his name printed in bright letters.
For every dog who slept fitfully last night, chained in
a frozen yard, a soft, warm bed with a person snoring gently nearby.
For every shelter dog, spending Christmas morning in a soiled run, a forever
home filled with sounds and smells of family.
For every "Christmas" pup given today, a tolerant, caring owner who won't
abandon you as you grow into a real dog.
For every ailing pet, enough money for your owner to pay the bills to make
For every lost dog, a clear, safe road and well marked path to lead you
For every old and tired friend, a warm fire and soft bed to ease your aches
For every Heart Dog at the Bridge, a moment when you know that you are
remembered today, missed again and loved forever.
Ten Aspirations of a Dog
7. A Special Poem- Rescue Dog.
You took me home,
We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low,
You love me so dearly, you want me to know.
I may have lived most of my life with another,
But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.
And I promise to return all the love I can give,
To you, my dear person, as long as I live.
I may be with you for a short time, or for years,
We will share many smiles, you will shed tears.
When the time comes that God deems I must leave,
I know you will cry and your heart, it will grieve.
And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new,
My thoughts and my heart will still be with you.
And I will brag to all who will hear,
Of the person who made my last days so dear.
( with acknowledgement to:
Written by: Leslie Whalen 2/01 )
8. A Special Saying
"Please let me die as someone's pet, so I will be remembered."
9.What is a Dog” Author Unknown
A dog is….
Four furry paws,
Two bright eyes,
And a wet tongue…
A dog is….
A tail that’s always moving,
An ever curious, searching nose,
An ear cocked up for all the sounds of the world.
A dog is….
A flashing streak of fun on the run,
And a flop eared pooch snoozing on a chair…
A dog is….
One enormous appetite
That never gets quite enough,
And perfect contentment crunching on a bone
A dog is….
a dirt slinging digger
a fun loving clown,
a sad eyed bundle of sympathy…
And every dog is
Born to be
10.Good Old Dog
With your old grey face
you sure know how
to brighten up this place.
Your pace is slowing
Time is wearing thin
You won't be here for long
Old Dog I love your grin.
But before you go
There is one thing to say
Old Dog I love you
and I'll miss you for the rest of my days
and it's been an honour
to walk acoss this land
with your faithful head
right at my hand.
( Savana Frame)
Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia
Phone : 02 69227712
Email : [email protected]