This week I celebrated my 16th birthday. I was lucky enough to celebrate 12 birthdays with my family. I passed to Rainbow Bridge just before my 13th. Since then each party has become bigger, as more of my friends have joined me here. They have also grown sadder, for the same reason.
We do party quite hard here. We partake of every type of food and we can. We even eat cake. And we drink more than we should.
Our birthdays mark another year separated from our parents. We feel the same weight of separation our parents feel. We dance faster and play harder to push that pain of separation away just for a bit.
We even have silent fireworks, which are much preferable to the loud, annoying, frightening, fireworks that scare many of our mortal friends, causing some to flee their yards and end up in shelters until their family fetches them. With all the advances in technology, humans have discovered I am stunned that silent fireworks are not among them.
My birthday is two days after a pair of my best friends who are here with me at the Bridge: Brody, who joined me last year, and Tanner, who preceded me here by several years.
With all these birthdays our time here at the Bridge has been like college. We work during the day, and we party at night. Except we don’t have the innocence that college students have. We know how hard and cruel the world can be, the compromises our parents have to make to survive, and how the hardness and these compromises can slowly change even the kindest people for the worst.
Which is where we dogs come into the picture: I know there were many days when I, or now, River and Pocket, have been the best part of our parents’ day. We don’t have to try hard. Sometimes we don’t have to try. We are just ourselves, sitting in a chair playing with a toy, and we make our parents smile. Sure, there are times we put some effort into bringing our parents happiness, some dancing, or playing, but usually, it is just us being us that does the trick.
We live to make our parents’ hard lives better. And they make our lives better too. When you see a picture of an unrescued dog, then see a picture of them in their forever home, they look like a dog who made the long trip from depression to joy. It is a very quick trip for us.
For us dog, taking our parents from depression to joy can be a daily trip, but one that is our pleasure to take.