Pets and the Rainbow Bridge
Andrea Sobotka and her bulldog Jack
If pets are a part of your life and family, you have no doubt experienced the pain of loss when they crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Whether we lose a youngster or an old friend, it is equally heart wrenching. Unless death is the swift result of an accident, we have time to think about what is coming and how it will feel for all involved. As humans, we tend to fear death and prefer not to come face to face with it if we don’t have to. This is why some folks choose to re-home (or worse, abandon) their pet when they realize the end is near. I once saw a Facebook post by a young gal looking to give away her family’s little dog. She said the dog “has been a real great family pet but is now, well, ‘old.’”
In my practice, sometimes my job is to help clients whose fur babies are approaching the Rainbow Bridge either due to age or illness. My clients often need help knowing “when it is time” and what to do.
The first thing I recommend is to give your pet sincere permission to move on if they want to. You may not be able to hear or understand them, but they do understand what you are thinking and feeling. Pets don’t “fear” death when it is naturally imminent like we do. To them it is just part of the journey, and they instinctively even try to prepare themselves for it. Cats will often start seeking remote places to hide, while dogs may seek to be quietly closer to you.
What can hold them back from letting go is a worry that their human family doesn’t want them to go, or that they will cause their human pain. So, first and foremost, understand that your pet is not “afraid of dying” but is afraid of causing you distress. Try to accept the idea that it is a kindness to give your beloved pet permission to move on when they are ready. This may even mean helping them cross over through euthanasia.
I once had a client who readily admitted she just couldn’t let go. She understood what needed to happen, so for several weeks I simply worked to provide her elder chow dog with hospice care through energy healing and natural home care counseling. All the while, we would talk about how Sunny’s time was near and that she was ready to move on. Finally, my client agreed it was time and that she would help her cross over the Rainbow Bridge by having a veterinarian come to her home to perform euthanasia. Of course my client cried and grieved (we grieve because we love), but in the end she knew in her heart that she had done right by her fur baby.
When giving “permission,” be sure to muster up all the love, respect, dignity and grace you can so that your pet is reassured that you will be okay and that you will love them even if they are on the other side. Talk often with your critter about the fun and joy they have brought to your life and how their life has meant so much to so many. Tell them they did well.
Be there with them at the end—don’t send a friend away to die alone or with strangers if you can help it. Yes, you will hurt and feel pain, but that is a small price to pay for the joy and unconditional love they gave you their whole life.
Once your fur baby has crossed over, light a candle anytime you are thinking about them. It will be a guiding light for their soul (the energetic body) to visit you and know all is okay.
Whether you believe we will all be reunited with our beloved pets at the gates of the Rainbow Bridge one day or that the soul of your fur baby may choose to reincarnate for another chance to be by you, you need to know that once your beloved has left their earthly body and made the transition to the spirit realm, they have returned to a state of peace, ease, grace and light. They are no longer in pain, fear or encumbered by any state associated with the lower vibrations of being “on this side.” Take comfort in knowing that your love lives on and so will they live in your heart forever.
Through animal communication and a calm, gentle, healing touch, Andrea Sobotka’s work with animals provides a state of emotional, physical and spiritual wellness for pets and their people. Her practice is located in Fountain Hills and serves the surrounding area. She has dedicated this article to her bulldog Jack, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in March. For more information about Sobotka’s practice, visit SpiritAnimalWisdom.com.