Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2017

The 145 are the December 31, 2017 Pups of the Week

I sat on a wooden bench outside the small church that stands in a green valley under the shadow of Rainbow Bridge.  I had asked for the bell to be rung 145 times.  I looked at my friends, some playing in the river, others running on the green grass and further up, in the hills, more played in the snow.  The bell chimed for the 145th time.  That one was for Hattie.  The 144 before that were for each friend that has crossed the Bridge since I began writing about them in 2009.   I thought of the parents who had lost the 145, some of them have lost one pup, others have lost three, and there were those who lost two, sometimes within a few days of one another. When the clanging concluded I was left with one emotion:  Hope. I have experienced the pain each parent felt as their dog passed over the Bridge.  It is a shattering hurt.  I didn’t think any human could persevere through it.  They had the same doubts.  But they kept moving forward, proving that they are stronger than hell,

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Seeking Help For Those Left Behind

It will be 2018 in a few days.  The last time I welcomed the new year in mortal form was 2013.  I remember it well.  Pocket and I were snuggled in bed with my parents.   There was a big countdown, a ball dropped, best wishes for the coming days were expressed, and Daddy wondered what the New Year would bring.  He doesn’t ask that anymore.  The answer will present itself, with little either of my parents can do to prevent it. I began writing about pups who went to Rainbow Bridge in 2009.  Back then I was like a journalist writing about a war I had never experienced.  I thought when I arrived at the Bridge I would understand.  But I have been in the battle for four and a half years, and while I have seen the war, I still don’t comprehend it. Why is a dog’s lifespan so much less than humans?  Why would a benevolent creator make the perfect match between dogs and humans then make dogs lives a seventh as long as humans causing pain, pain, and more pain?   It is nothing less than a f

River Song and Pocket Host a Wild Life Christmas Party

On Christmas morning when we went outside to do our business there were two dozen turkeys parading across the backyard.  The only sound Pocket and I made was one of disgust.  Just like turkeys.  They had appeared early. Please indulge me while I backtrack.  The past four Christmas seasons our parents have left us alone on the 23rd, 24th and 25th.  Please don’t judge them unkindly.  That is our job. Pocket and I had been planning Christmas for two weeks.  It began with making peace with the turkeys.  Then we conspired with the squirrels and birds.  The plan was set.  One hour after our parents left the first annual River Song and Pocket wild animal Christmas party would begin. Parents are always distracted on Christmas.  They leave the house with packages, boxes, and bags.  They leave with casseroles, bottles, and desserts.  They are in a hurry, and their hands are full.  It was easy for me to slip a paw in the jam to keep them from turning the deadbolt.  Once they departed, I u

Wordless Wednesday

Beat This Caption

The latest in all natural flea and tick prevention.

Monday Question

What was your favorite Christmas gift? Pocket:. Our friend Leo sent us a log stuffie with little stuffie squirrels poking out of it. The log and squirrels are grand fun to play with a

Hattie Mae is our December 24th 2017 Pup of the Week

A week ago I recounted the story of Hattie Mae’s Christmas hat.  Little did I realize how soon the legend herself would be joining me in the immortal world.     I seldom know, as I make my journey to the stairs rising from Rainbow Bridge, who will appear before me, but when Hattie arrived I had an inkling, because the ground beneath me shook, an unimaginable wail rose from the mortal side, and the plains became rivers as clouds of human tears opened and pummeled the terrain.  A dog of huge importance had to be passing over Rainbow Bridge and there is no dog more important that Hattie Mae.     Hattie Mae reached the top of the stairs wearing a red hat with a white brim and a brilliant red velvet dress with a black belt and trim.  While hundreds of dogs ran down the hill to greet her she scanned the Bridge as if she was looking at a suite deciding if it was up to her standards.  She sighed and softly nodded her head.  “This will do,” she said. I knew my first duty was to thank

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Foley Takes the 2017 Bridge Angels to Deliver Gifts of the Shleter Dogs

Alright, 2017 Angels, it is time for our most trusted duty, we have to help Santa deliver gifts to all the shelter dogs.  It is going to be a long night with a lot of stops so no shenanigans.  Sydney, you come up here with Santa and me.  You are in charge of the GPS.  Don’t drool on the screen.  We got terribly lost during a similar incident last year. Barney the cat I want you up here with us too.  Cats are more organized than dogs and less likely to run off if they see a random squirrel.  You are in charge of distribution.   Okay, everyone holds on, we are taking off.  Now we are airborne.  Everyone make sure they hold on tight and follow Dancer, Prancer, Donna and...Pintus.  Darnit Pintus you are not a reindeer.  Well, it’s too late now.  And you are flying better than Blitzen who might be a bit blitzed. Noel is going to be our liaison to the shelter dogs when we land.  He never had a true home of his own, so he has shelter experience and will help us when we approach the do

Pocket Gives Thanks to Her Online Friends and Offers Advice to Humans

Christmas comes at the end of the year so we can celebrate having survived the past 51 weeks.  The human world seems to grow meaner every day.  Peace, love, understanding, acceptance, and patience are all in short supply.  Humans used to wonder if they would make it to the end of the year.  Now they pray they see the end of the week. I am so happy I was born a dog.  I don’t think I would want to be a human.  I prefer to be the one who has their poop picked up than the one who does the picking. Humans are getting further stressed out by the day.  They no longer surf the Internet, they combat it, sidestepping verbal landmines, desperately trying to decipher what is real and what is fake only to discover one person’s real is another person’s fake.  We dogs are not concerned about real or fake.  Whether the antler is organic or made in a factory, we are just happy to shut up and chew. I have found a home on dog sites:  The Tanner Brigade, Facebook Groups, and Blogville are peaceful

Wordless Wednesday

Beat Ths Caption

Great,  on my way to a Christmas party and I get pulled over for speeding on the couch

Monday Question

What are your family Christmas plans? My parents go to her family's Christmas party on the 23rd, to her son for Christmas Eve lunch on the 24th.  After that they are home with us to wait for Santa.  Then they go to their daughter's for Christmas dinner.  It is a lot of time away from us but if it makes them happy then we are good with it.

MacDougal is our December 17, 2017 Pup of the Week

Two more of my friends,  Rani-Go and Bailey, arrived at Rainbow Bridge this week.  It filled me with fury.  I was determined to fly up the mountain to confront the Big Guy.  Why is there such despair just before Christmas?  How much pain can humans endure?  I wanted the Big Guy to answer the questions he has thus far avoided. I was preparing to fly up the mountain when I heard the church bell calling me to the top of the stairs.  I shook my head and wondered which friend’s family had been devastated.  I heard little paws bouncing up the steps.  I looked up at the sun, and when I glanced back, I dropped to my knees, grabbed my friend of close to ten years by the waist, and sobbed. MacDougal, after 16 years of mortal life, many illnesses and close calls, had finally run out of heartbeats. MacDougal and I have been friends for ten years.  Right now his Christmas card is hanging on the cabinet over my mom’s  dishwasher.  He is smiling; his eyes are filled with joy, looking like he

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: The True Story of the Hattie Mae Chrisrmas Tree Hat

I popped into my good friend Hattie Mae’s dreams this week.  I wanted to give her my fondest Christmas wishes.  Hattie was one the most famous dog models in the world.  But she has retired from public life and now lives on her fabulous Virginia estate where she is waited on by her many minions. During her prime, which spanned more than a decade, the masses anxiously awaited to see what creation Hattie had designed and modeled.  One fashion post from Hattie would send the entire dog community abuzz.  We simply had to have what she wore.   Until the Christmas Hat. Hattie debuted the look one December afternoon.  She paraded it in front of us and waited for the usual praise.  There was stunned silence.  Brody broke the tension by blurting “Hattie Mae you look ridiculous.”  The diva had never heard a word of criticism in her life.  Humiliated she ran off the runway. Josie told Brody that he should not have been so blunt.  “You’re laughing too!” Brody said.  Josie put a paw to her

A Snowstorm Makes River Reflect on Poop Neutrality

I didn’t sleep well Friday night.  There was something in the air, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  I was awake before the alarm went off.  When Daddy took me outside, I realized the foul, officious malignancy that had upset my normal sleep pattern.  It was snow. I spent my first year in Florida surrounded by too many dogs and too few humans.  I have it so much better now.  There are two humans to every sibling.  There is always an open lap.  I get lots of individual attention.  My life could not be better.  Then someone made it snow. I want nothing to do with it.  Most of the time I find humans pooping and peeing inside a refillable water dish reprehensible.  And they call us animals.  But when there is snow on the ground I wish to join them in this most malicious act.  Move your feet human, for, while I may not be able to lift my privates over the rim I can certainly evacuate next to the porcelain throne. “Bad girl,” they say when I do the same act they complete severa

Wordless Wednesday

Beat This Caption

Where the hell are my freaking pretzels?

Monday Question

Do you exchange Christmas cards with your dog friends and how many more cards do you get if you do? Pocket:  We do.  This year we sent out close to 70 cards to eight different counties.  If it wasn't for dog friends my parents would send out a dozen cards.

Lily is our December 10, 2017 Pup of the Week

There is never a good time to send a beloved pup to Rainbow Bridge, but December is the worst.  During the holidays we count our blessings and hold our loved ones tighter.  Losing a family member not only casts a dark shadow on the upcoming festivities but a cloud reappears each subsequent holiday season as a sad reminder. Recently we wrote the unimaginable tale of Jasper and Sophie-Rae.  Jasper’s parents knew he was ill, but they had no idea Sophie-Rae was running out of heartbeats too.  The same is true of my blogger friends Lily and Muffin who write the Doxie Life blog .  Their parents knew Muffin had congestive heart failure, but they had no signal that Lily was ill as well. Lily and Muffin’s parents were at the doctor’s waiting for Muffin to have a follow-up exam when suddenly Lily went into full respiratory distress.   She was immediately placed in an oxygen tent.  Subsequent x-rays showed that Lily had fluid around her heart and her liver was twice the normal size. An o

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Welcoming Penny, Charlotte and Noelle

When a pup comes to Rainbow Bridge, they don’t come empty-pawed.  They bring their parent’s hearts with them.  This is unfortunate because humans need their hearts.  Without them they stumble through the day, tears flowing from their eyes, they lose interest in life, barely eating and are in constant pain.  It isn’t our fault that we take their hearts.  They are just returning what they received. There are three ways for our parents to get their hearts back.  Hearts will slowly grow inside of them unaided, but it can take months or even years.  If the pup who went to the Bridge left a sibling behind, they could help with the rebuilding.  The quickest way is to get a heart transplant is a new pup. When a dog comes to the Bridge, they immediately begin looking for a new pup for their parents.  The hard part is getting mom and dad to open their lives to a new dog because they know at the end of the road their hearts will be ripped out again.  They have to be reminded that sharing you

Pocket and the Moving Christmas Tree

My house has been decorated for Christmas.  I know this is a good thing because it means that Santa Paws will soon be arriving, but I don’t like it.   When the house is being decorated no one is sitting next to me, and my parents only pay attention to me if I get underfoot. It is a positive sign that the tree is in the living room.  When we lived in the condo, the tree was always there, when Mommy’s children and grandchildren would come over to open presents, yell excitedly, and leave the house looking like a wrapping paper factory exploded. But her kids got older.  They all wanted Christmas at their house and had no interest in getting together.  The tree became a reminder.  When we first moved into our modular home, the tree was in the seldom traveled front room where it would look pretty from the street but could not be witnessed inside.  The Dickens Village was set up on the porch for the same reason.  On the outside, the house looked festive.  No one looked inside. Three y

Wordless Wednesday

Beat This Caption

I am waiting for my shirt to come out of the dryer so I can go to work

Monday Question

Do you get Christmas gifts and if you do are you given them open or do you unwrap them? Pocket:  We only get some special food from our parents.  We do have some wonderful friends who send us gifts.  if they are wrapped we just look at our parents until they unwrap them.  

Abbie is our December 3 2017 Pup of the Week

Rainbow Bridge is in a constant state of flux.  I think it reflects what is happening in the mortal world.  I know things are quite complicated and bothersome there.  Here at the Bridge life has become simpler.  I no longer have a pager to tell me when there is a new pup who needs to be sworn in as an angel, now the sharp sound of a church bell ringing summons me. I do hate the sound of that bell ringing.  It signals that hearts have been shattered and lives upturned.  It also means there is a new pup climbing the stairs, separated from everything they have loved, somewhat scared, and feeling lonely before they experience all the glory the afterlife presents. It was raining parent’s tears.   I splashed through the puddles and arrived at my designated spot just as Abbie cleared the final step of her journey and sat on the landing. I had strict instructions to read the Angel Oath and wait for the words “I do,” but, as usual, I forgot my directions and hugged the new Angel. We ha

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Saving Private Enzo with Totti, Chelsea and Queenie

I was lazing in the sun when my emergency angel beacon went off.  “Angels, oh Angels, please help me!”  I picked it up.  I could see my dear friend Enzo standing in a vast cornfield.  At first, I thought he was his usual joking self but then I realized he was terrified. “Angels,”: Enzo yelled.  “I was hunting with my parents and chased a bird into this cornfield.  I saw another bird and ran after it, and now I am hopelessly lost.  Please, angels, help me find my way back to my parents. We needed an Angel Rescue Squad.  I checked who was on call for emergencies:  Queenie, Chelsea, and Totti.  I could not assemble a better group.  I told them to assemble by the river bank.   We held one another’s paws and flew into the sun.  We emerged over the dense cornfield.  Enzo’s dad was walking around the perimeter calling his name.  His mom was standing by the truck praying for a miracle.  She did not know it, but her miracle had arrived.  Queenie, Chelsea, Totti each took a side of the

River's Trip to the Groomer

As many of you know, I am treated like family at my groomer’s.  One of my siblings lives with them as does my Baby Daddy, although our mutual attraction was squashed by a few snips of the doctor’s scissors.  Now, like many old married couples, we take a whiff and move on. Now that my breed has won Best in Show the adoration has only become greater. When our groomer, Jan, took me from my Mom, she said that she cuts lots of Griff’s hair, but I am her favorite. Who can blame her? When we entered the grooming area, I was placed on my comfy throne with many pillows piled on top of another with red velvet on the backrest.  Pocket was thrown in a cage with a rusty hinge and no blanket. First I got a bath with soap from the synactif soap collection.  Three vestal virgins gently washed me in distilled water using a brush made from fine llama hair.  Then they placed me on a red cushion and dried me by waving silk handkerchiefs.   Pocket got bathed in a rusty steel tub in filthy, c