Unfortunately, it’s the nature of pet ownership to lose your best friend: while the average human will live eight decades, a dog’s lifespan is much shorter, which means that everyone who welcomes a sweet pup into their home will eventually have to face the difficult situation of losing a best friend. Sadness is expected, but you shouldn't let it consume the last moments you had together.
There's a tale about a Rainbow Bridge that tells us about a path our four-legged angels cross after their goodbye. On the other side is a lovely place where our pets go when they pass - there are meadows and hills with the nicest weather, sunshine, and lots of room to run and play. Their physical status no longer matters because when they arrive in their new home, their health is renewed and they can enjoy life in the best possible way.
The tale also says our souls can be reunited again: dogs can feel when we're nearby and start running happy and excited towards us. The answers can come from religion, spirituality, or science - at the end of the day, we don't need to see it to believe it. The story may be real, maybe we just can’t see it yet. There’s so much about life we can’t comprehend, but some say if you believe it wholeheartedly, to your very core, then you can make that belief a reality.
In the face of loss, the story fills our hearts with hope about the reunion with our beloved animals and helps us to metaphorically understand that when our pets leave this world, they never cease to be present and will remain in our hearts even if we cannot enjoy their warmth physically. However, there may be signs they're still trying to communicate with us even then. So how do you know your dog crossed the rainbow bridge? These are common signs pet owners have reported:
A little cold on a sunny day? Some people say temperature drops when they're running around. Sometimes it's their favorite spot in the house that feels warmer than usual.
The formation of the clouds can "coincidentally" look so much like a pup… They're saying hi! It's occasionally through a beautiful rainbow to soothe your heart and make you sure they're okay.
Ever woke up from an uplifting dream about your baby? It's your dog's way to say they'll always be there for you as you were for them, your bond will never be broken as long as their memory is alive.
It could be a unexpected comforting scent, flowers blossoming out of season, number formats like on a license plate, or even a pretty butterfly sitting on your writs: your pet is letting you know they still love you!
In case you're just wondering about it before the time comes, know that the most common regret of pet owners is not having a keepsake to remember their pet in their daily life. You could do this by hanging a custom portrait on their favorite spot of the house, or stamping a cute mug with their picture… Try to enjoy a few more nights worth of snuggles and let them sleep with you. Create any happy moments that you can before he's not around anymore.
Maybe even schedule a professional photo shoot with a photographer who will snap pictures of you, your family, and your four-legged buddy on a trip to the park, or an afternoon at home. Give him anything he wants, and find a way for him to enjoy it one last time. Tell him you love him and will miss him, but that you are so happy and thankful for your time together.
Everyone grieves differently; there is no right or wrong way to mourn a loss, but it’s important to recognize when you need support during your process. It may be helpful to seek support from a professional to deal with the pain and anxieties of losing your pet. He should be able to support you towards healing and walk beside you when you need someone to listen, witness, and understand.
Confronting these feelings will help you accept that your pet was precious, that his memory must be kept alive, and that you can do that in a way that is better for your well-being. Remembering your dog means your dog is still alive in your mind, which is a nice thing to think about when you’re missing your pup.
Don't forget it: our pets never really leave, they’re always there, missing us just as much as we miss them - if you have them in your heart you may be able to feel their presence. Whether on a bridge, in a meadow, or just outside some pearly gates, someday we will be reunited with our companions, and they will be there, waiting for us to finally be home.