I got a message that a new dog had arrived at the Bridge. As I walked to Hobo’s Landing where the dog waited to be sworn in, I noticed that no other dogs, not even a litter mate was there to greet him. Did this dog have no one to mourn him?
Then I saw the newest angel.
You would think, after being at the Bridge for almost six years, that I would have seen everything. But the sight of a robotic dog patiently waiting for me to usher him into the Rainbow Bridge community was something new.
I retreated and immediately called a meeting of the Rainbow Bridge High Counsel. The four members, Easy the Weimaraner, Tommy Tunes, Odie, and Paco, guided me when I made the most difficult decisions. Whether we should allow the robot dog into our community was one of the hardest I had faced.
I immediately told the council my predicament. Easy ran out of our meeting place. I didn't know if he was investigating or if he was overcome by the need to Zoom.
Within two minutes Easy was back, panting heavily. He took several long drinks of water from the communal dish. He then sat back down at the table. “I licked his nose,” he said "he tasted like metal. I sniffed his butt. It smelled Like metal. I think the dog’s metal.”
“What is this metal?” Paco asked. “is this dog is going to interfere in our affairs? Or is it like crazy? Is he going to keep us awake howling at the moon?’
I explained to Paco that it was made from elements and ran by computer.
“Elephants?” Paco asked confused. I must get a translator.
Tommy stood up. ‘I have run a background check on him. He's from Japan. He lived with an elderly couple. They always had dogs, but they moved into a community where dogs weren’t allowed. So they purchased this robotic dog, named it Jackie and loved it like it was real.”
“Makes me wonder if we are all going to be replaced by robots,” I said.
“Robots will never replace us,” Odie exclaimed. “We are too beloved.”
“Tell that to the horses,” Easy said.
Several moments of uncomfortable silence passed between us. Finally, Odie broke it.
“What is a dog. Or any pet for that matter. Is it the eyes the nose or the mouth? Is it the fur or the nails. Or is it the love? It's like The Velveteen Rabbit without the horribly painful ending.
“It seems to me that if someone loved Jackie, then they would want to spend eternity with him. If we don't allow him here, then we are no better than the souls who tried to keep dogs out and lead to the Great Fido uprising of 1025.”
We took a vote and agreed to let Jackie join the angel dogs.
We went back to the landing where Jackie waited. He asked if there was a problem. I told him it was just a paperwork issue. Then I swore him in.
A minute later a happy pack of little dogs joined us jumping on Jackie and nipping at him. I surmised it was the dogs that had once belonged to his parents. They were thrilled to play with their brother.
Odie and I watched them frolicking. “It makes me wonder if he is real,” Odie asked
“There is an old saying,” I told him. “Angels who live in glass clouds don't throw stones.”