“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.” (Author unknown)

Before leaving for Florida a few weeks ago, I had to make a decision that all pet lovers dread:  I would be with my beautiful cat, Bonnie, as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  

Bonnie was 19—would have been 20 in April—and had been a wonderful pet, along with her brother, Clyde, who crossed the Bridge in 2016.  He had intimidated her:  He loved nothing better than to eat her food, chase her around the house, from the kitchen to the den to the bedroom, up on the bed, back down and into the kitchen—the hissing and yowling was as loud and noisy as an MMA bout!  As quickly as the “chase” began, it ended with both kitties curled up side by side to take a nap.

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After Clyde passed, I was asked by a friend if Bonnie missed Clyde.  

“Ha!  You’re kidding!  She missed him, actually going from room to room, for all of two days!   Now that he is gone, she has blossomed and has now charted her course to being top cat.”

During these last few years, Bonnie became very close to me.  She’d lay down at my feet as I read a book; she’d follow me into the kitchen looking for a treat, and her favorite resting place was under my desk as I worked on my column and other stuff.  

Not too long ago, I noticed subtle changes in my kitty:  she was slowing down, having difficulty getting up and laying down, not eating with her usual gusto, sometimes not hearing me call her, and other physical problems.  I sadly knew a decision had to be made:  ease her suffering and let her go across the Bridge peacefully.

I definitely know that pets have their own angels here on Earth.  My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Steve Immerblum and his dedicated and compassionate staff at Goldens Bridge Veterinary Care Center.  Their tender and caring attention to Bonnie and me during and after her crossing Rainbow Bridge was the ultimate in loving care.  Tears and hugs as I held my precious pet for the last time helped ease my aching heart.

I don’t know if there is a pet heaven; however, it is kind of comforting to believe that when our time comes to leave this Earth “we look once more into the trusting eyes of our pet, so long gone from our life but never absent from our hearts, and then we cross Rainbow Bridge together.”