Dog Training 101: Don’t Cross Over The Rainbow Bridge.

“When the student is ready the teacher appears.”

– Buddha.

In hindsight, there’s one thing I really should’ve taught my dogs. While “sit”, “stay” and doing your business outside are important, perhaps this one command could really save their lives:

“Don’t Cross Over the Rainbow Bridge. Never. Not ever. Got it?!!! Stay here. Good dog!”

While I know that it might be a little late to start teaching Bilbo new tricks in his old age, given his current health crisis, I’m doing some fast talking and have even resorted to flash cards.

happy rainbow

Don’t Cross Over the Rainbow Bridge.

I’m hoping it works. Bilbo is an incredibly obedient dog. Our side gate or front door have been left open in the past. However, did Bilbo take off? Escape? Surprisingly not, not even when his untrustworthy canine companion, Lady, was long gone. That’s right. He was still there with his paws out in front staying put and being a good dog.

So, Bilbo would be a prime candidate for testing this theory.

What do you think? Am I onto something here? Do you think Bilbo could resist the alluring appeal of the Rainbow Bridge? Perhaps, would you like to join me and give it a go with your dog as well? 

Humph. It was much easier to believe I was in there with a chance, when I was just mulling it over on my own. However, you did have to remind me of a few unfortunate, biological realities. That, in what seems like complete madness, dogs and humans live side-by-side and yet the hands of their clock spin round seven times faster than our own. Poignantly, I just have to look at our 11 year old daughter and our Bilbo, our 11 year old dog. While Miss is about 6 months older than Bilbo and was crawling when he arrived as a pup, she is still a child and he’s become elderly…an old man.  That contrast really puts things in perspective.

Bilbo + Amelia

Bilbo and Miss almost 11 years ago.

Moreover, there’s another spanner in the works. Despite his strong willpower, if there’s a pot of fresh mince at the end of that rainbow, Bilbo would be over that bridge in a flash. Even with his reduced appetite, he can still polish off a pack of fresh mince and he could never resist that.

“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?”

– Sir Walter Scott

So, it appears I’m back to the drawing board. Or, as it turns out, Bilbo is back to the vet tomorrow for a follow-up appointment and a scan of his spleen. AND…on the off chance he can’t pull a magic pill out of his hat, we prayed for Bilbo at Church tonight. I know there are more important matters a foot in our world at the moment, but I make no apologies for loving our Bilbo to the moon and back. He has loved us absolutely and without qualification. He has been there for us in such a ubiquitous way often sleeping in between the lines of everything that’s gone on around here in the last 11 years, yet possessing an empathy and understanding which defies logic. He’s also brought us so much joy…even if it’s just running our fingers through his coat or patting his ears while he sleeps.

“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.”

– Erica Jong

Perhaps, you would like to share some of your dog stories or introduce the special dog(s) in your life.

xx Rowena

In case you haven’t heard of the rainbow bridge, here’s the poem:

The Rainbow Bridge

“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 vigor. 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, and 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, and 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 Rainbow Bridge together….”

Author unknown…

11 thoughts on “Dog Training 101: Don’t Cross Over The Rainbow Bridge.

  1. annabellefranklinauthor

    It’s hard, isn’t it? Millie is 13 now and has heart issues, but I’m hoping she’ll resist the lure of the Bridge for some time yet – she still has a lot of living to do. I hope the same for your Bilbo. X

  2. Barbara In Caneyhead

    I have truly loved dogs, a couple of cats and a couple of horses. Sometimes they are better companions than any human: non judging, understanding, offering up comfort, coaxing a smile or a laugh, nudging you into action. Rainbow Bridge or not, I have to believe God has some plan for these creatures of His creation beyond just a grave.
    Visit me @ Life & Faith in Caneyhead. 😉

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Tom. Unfortunately, Bilbo didn’t make it. He seemed to perk up on Sunday and was quite keen to eat the raw mince, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the anaemia. He didn’t seem to suffer too much, although his breathing was very shallow and laboured. That is obviously very comforting and also that we were spared too much intervention or guilt.
    It’s been hard on the kids who don’t remember a time without him. Lady needs to have big shoulders for awhile, although I’m sure she’s missing him too. They were good mates and looked out for each other at the beach. It’s going to take a bit of time.
    Thanks so much for your concern.
    Best wishes,
    Ro

  4. Rowena Post author

    I agree with you, Barbara. That God has a plan for animals and our pets.
    Unfortunately, Bilbo passed away in the early hours on Monday morning. Seeing him reinforced the presence of a spirit in us all and that our bodies are but a vessel.
    Bilbo was a fairly reserved dog and I do wonder about where he is now and how he’s going. I miss him so much and he’s just always here. I’d appreciate your prayers.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  5. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much, Barbara. He has left an enormous hole in our household, which is starting to ease. He was such a part of us! xx Rowena

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