I have had a busy time swearing-in, welcoming, and helping to assimilate new angels at the Bridge the past few days. First, there was Harley Davidson, then Josie the guinea pig, and finally, Roland, a friend from my old Doggyspace, and early Tanner Brigade days.
Roland is the nephew of my great friend Tanner, who the Brigade is named for. When this kind and sweet boy crossed Rainbow Bridge, more than a decade ago, he was rewarded a huge mansion for all his good works on Earth. After living with a big family, he was lonely, so he invited Rommell, who preceded him to the Bridge to live with him. Over the years, Max, Cocoa, and Ruger, all pups who belonged to his mom, joined him, along with Roland’s sister Savannah, living at the house. It was a rocking and rolling angel home.
But, it was not a home that was looking for new members. Unfortunately, the one thing we always get here is fresh angels. With so many family members at the Bridge, the angels prayed that Roland, who was the surviving mortal dog, would be granted extra days. Sadly, that was not to be, as he passed to the Bridge at 11, young age in the times of modern medicine.
Roland had been fighting the dementors, who were determined to bring him to the Bridge for months. His parents knew he was losing the battle, and could not let him keep fighting for them, because that is what good parents do, so they told Roland he could stop the war and helped him pass to the Bridge.
I was overwhelmed by the number of dogs and cats who awaited Roland, not just from his extended family, but from the hundreds of pets he touched on social media. It was quite the reception for a dog, who, at one point in his life, no one had wanted.
Roland’s Mom first met him at a shelter. When they saw each other, it was love at first sight. Mama Ashley convinced the shelter that she would be the perfect mom for Roland, which was fortunate because Roland wasn’t going home with anyone except her.
From that day forward, through some challenging times, Roland was both her heart dog and her rock. Even during the darkest days, he was there like a best friend, knowing that his mom didn’t need to hear words of comfort, but just the heartbeat that belonged to a soul that loved her beating in time with hers.
Roland stayed right next to his mom during both good times and bad, like a ship captain’s pup, who stood by her, drenched with seawater, riding out the swells, until finally they came to the doldrums, and could rest until the waves caught up with them again.
Luckily, for Roland, and his mom, he is currently living with family members who have, over time, become adept at visiting their parents while they are dreaming. Roland is anxious to let his mom know that his spirit still exists, stronger than ever before, in a place just beyond the horizon, that can only be reached when the last journey is embarked upon.
I don’t know if the walls in Mama Ashley’s mind will come down enough for the message to get through, but if any pack can accomplish their goal, it is Tanner’s Pack.