Some dogs arrive at the Bridge after a lengthy period of illness; others arrive after a short, unexpected illness. I think lengthy illnesses are better. The pups have time to comprehend their existence on the mortal side is ending. Dogs know they will cross over someday but figure if they feel fine that day will be far off. These dogs transitions from mortal to immortal are the most difficult.
My very bestie friend, Hannah Banana, had a sudden transition. She took ill, stopped eating, had trouble moving and was in terrible pain. The vets searched for an answer. They found her red blood cells had crashed to four times below the acceptable level. Her mom, Momma Kim, ended Hannah pain by making the world’s most difficult decision and sending her to Rainbow Bridge.
Hannah was confused as she crossed the Bridge. She kept looking for her mom. I ran down the steps to greet her. That is when she knew. She turned and tried to run in the other direction. But once you step on Rainbow Bridge, it becomes a circle and Hannah ended up right where she started. Leo joined me, and we softly talked to Hannah and told her that we would teach her how to go back and visit her mom.
“But visiting isn’t going to be good enough. My siblings visit. I can see them but Mommy can’t, and now she won’t be able to see me, and I was all she had.” Hannah began to blubber.
“I understand bestie,” I told her. “But your mom has more than you in her life. She has wonderful friends, both online and in person. She has lots of dogs that she sits for and need to be taken care of. She has lots of customers who rely on her. You were the center of her life, and you left a big hole in it, but your mom has lots of people who are going to see her through these dark times, and what she needs most is for you to be happy. If she knows you are happy, then she will be happy. And you can’t keep trying to get back to her. You always end up crashing into the river.”
“It’s true,” Leo said. “A couple of fools tried to fly home this week in a basket held by Eagles. Can you believe it?” I ignored Leo.
Leo, Hannah and I slowly walked up the stairs to Rainbow Bridge. “At least I am starting to feel better,” Hannah said.
We reached the top where Hannah was greeted by her siblings Savona and Izzy. They huddled together for a long time. We gave them their space. Hannah then came back and told me she was ready. I swore her in making her an official angel, then Scooby designed her wings, Ladybug gave her flying lessons, and Leo taught her how to fly into the sun to visit his mom.
But the most important thing we had to teach her was to have fun. I gathered a group of the most jubilant dogs I knew: Tommy Tunes, Otis Campbell, Benjamin, Brody and a few of their compadres. I told them they had to teach Hannah how to live joyfully. Her happiness would be the first step in healing her mom.
I gave it 48 hours. Otis knocked on my door. “Do you want to get ice cream?” he asked. Otis had been running his soda fountain since he got to the Bridge. “Do you have new flavors?” I asked. He grinned
I turned the corner to go to Otis’ shop when I saw Hannah Banana’s Ice Cream and Treat Shoppe. We entered, and Hannah was behind the counter happily making ice cream for her friends. Savona and Izzy were making chicken and apple, and duck and apple bites. Their shop was full. Hannah began filling dishes for overjoyed dogs who slurped down the cold, delicious ice creams.
Otis and I wiggled our way to the counter. Hannah told me she had some special ice cream just for me. It was made from chicken. I licked it. It was perfection.
“It looks like you have found something to make you happy,” I said.
“I sure did. I love ice cream, and I love seeing my friends enjoy my treats. This really is heaven.”
I took another bite of ice cream and saw Hannah, while digging out her treats from a bucket, pause to look over the River, towards where her mother lived, and for just a second a tear came to her eye, but she got back to work, serving her delectable ice cream for her friends
I would like to tell Hannah’s mom that she is not one hundred percent happy yet, but she is getting there, and while we know you are one percent happy now, try to concentrate on Hannah working in her shop, making other dogs happy.
Hopefully, that makes Hannah’s mom a little happier, and she can start the long road back to being a happy, content person again.