The love we have with our companion pets are deep and strong; the pain you feel when those bonds are broken is real and worthy of your grief, but there are ways to comfort your heartache and celebrate the memory of your deceased pet. Rainbow Bridge Day is a beautiful day for exactly that.
What is Rainbow Bridge Day?
Rainbow Bridge Day is celebrated every August 28th to honor the death of a dog, cat or any other loved pet. The name Rainbow Bridge comes a beautiful poem that describes the bridge between heaven and earth that will connect us with our dearly missed pets. On the other side of the rainbow bridge are open meadows, lush greenery and tranquility for your beloved cat or dog. The original poem at the end of this article tells the story of what we celebrate on this day.
5 Ways to Celebrate Your Dog or Cat on Rainbow Bridge Day
1. Reminisce with those who loved your pet
Get together with friends and family that were part of the pet’s life. Share stories, pictures, and trinkets from the pet’s life. Discuss the impact the dog or cat had on everyone's life.
"When our sweet dog Brady past, we gathered all the kids together in the backyard and threw a ball back and forth. Anytime the ball game to someone, they shared one of their favorite memory of playing with Brady." Hillary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2. Dig through photos
Photos have the ability to trigger memories and allow us to return to the past. Dust off those old photo albums and rediscover some memories you might have forgotten.
3. Make a Tribute
Carry around a reminder of your beloved pet. That could be a pet cremation necklace, photo, background picture on your phone or even a tattoo; just something that reminds you of them. You can also display a photo our pet with their ashes, collar or other memorable item.
4. Share Online
Share your pet’s story with the world. Post a photo on social media, send a text to a family member, or connect with other pet owners about the joys of having a pet. Don’t be afraid to still talk about your pet after their death.
5. Create a Memory Box
Spend the day collecting important items that bring back great memories from your pet’s life and place them in a pet memory box. Some ideas for items are your pet’s collar or tags, favorite toy, or pictures. Throughout the year continue adding things that remind you of your pet. Every year or anytime you're missing your loved cat or dog, pull out the memory box and look back and remember all the great times you had.
Rainbow Bridge day isn’t a day to make you feel sad, it’s a day to commemorate a loved pet's impact on your life. As part of grieving your deceased dog or deceased cat, let yourself also celebrate them!
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 (believed to be written by Paul C. Dahm)
How to Honor a Deceased Pet: 5 Resources for Grieving Your Deceased Dog or Deceased Cat
Seven heartfelt ways to keep your pet's memory alive from AnimalHumaneSociety.org
A Bill of Rights for Grieving Animal Lovers by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT
Explaining Pet Loss to Children: Some Do's and Don'ts by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT
Honoring Your Pet’s Memory from PetFinder.com