This Rainbow Bridge place is kind of bittersweet. When I get paged for a swearing in ceremony I know I am going to be happy to see an old friend, but also sad for the family they are leaving behind.
This week, as I stood on my platform at the top of the stairs in my little black robe I looked down the Bridge and saw my wonderful friend Atlas slowly climbing the stairs, and with each step I saw him shedding the pain from the cancer that had ended his life on the Earthly realm and grow younger before my eyes. Also with each step I saw him stop and look back, towards the wooden Bridge over looking the deep, smoothly flowing blue river with the silver fish softly leaping to and fro, towards the willow tree where the squirrels and bunnies hop and climb, and up towards the endless blue sky where the eagles soar. I know he was admiring the beauty, but also thinking, as all us new members do, of the wonderful, loving family he was leaving behind.
Atlas and I arrived at the Bridge in similar circumstances. We both hid how much pain we were in from our families, we both had cancer, and we both had the number of heartbeats we were assigned run out before all the promises we had made could be kept.
Our parents did not have much warning that our songs were ending. The first sign for me was an innocent cough, the first sign for Atlas was a nosebleed. Mine led to an x-ray that showed a mass in my lungs, Atlas’ x-ray showed a mass on his pancreas. While there was no chance of an operation for me the doctors did try to remove Atlas’ spleen but when they opened him up they found that his cancer had spread to vital organs and there was nothing his family could do. A short time later I saw him on the stairs to the Bridge as his family was left behind to wonder how they could live brokenhearted.
To all dogs Atlas, along with Presley and his brother Angel Taggert, was one of the first dogs: One of the first to befriend them, one of the first to comfort them if they were sick or a loved one had passed to the Bridge, one of the first to rally others to their friends’ cause. Atlas, like I tried to, made the lives of every dog easier just by being their friend, and made their lives more enjoyable.
Atlas was also a dog that was known all over the Internet, on Doggyspace, Tanner Brigade, Facebook, and other sites, and everyone mourned his passing. I thought that, when he reached the top of the Stairs, he should be given a special award, named after a dog who was already at the Bridge and also was known throughout the Internet, so I have awarded him the Special Order of Sierra, to recognize him as a dog known throughout the world, in tribute to Sierra, another dog who was truly known across the world.
For the many loved ones of Atlas still on the Earthly realm, and his family, he wants you to know he needs no prayers, nor for anyone to feel bad for him. He wants you to concentrate on his wonderful family, who miss their special boy, and helped create an award winning dog.
So here is to you Atlas, loved on Earth forever, loved, and recognized at the Bridge forever. You are a once in a lifetime dog.