No matter when dogs come into their parents’ lives, they love their human unconditionally. But, there is no closer relationship than between pups and people who grow up together. It is natural for dogs to be unaware of a life without their parents. They are dogs’ constant throughout their existence. But, when a person doesn’t know life without their little, furry friend, once their beloved does go to the Bridge, the parting is exceedingly sorrowful.
I enjoy my work as a Judge at Rainow Bridge District Four. I greet all dogs who cross over the River of Life and get assigned to my district. Many of these dogs I, or my family, have met in person or on social media, but I also meet hundreds of new dogs. One of them is a beautiful little pug who goes by the name of Otis.
All dogs have the same duty assigned to them before they are born. They must protect, enlighten, and improve the lives of the members of their families. But, Otis’ instructions came with a particular caveat. His destiny was to share his life with a darling little girl named Kylie. Young ladies can be as fragile as a porcelain doll. Keeping her safe, happy, content, and free of trouble would be daunting. Only special dogs get assigned this vital task. The angels who manage the pre-born puppies saw unique qualities in Otis and determined he would be the perfect best friend for a little girl.
Once Kylie saw Otis, she knew the cute little pug would be her best friend for life. On his part, while there were other people in the family, Otis pledged his life. From that day forward, Otis was there for his little mom. He watched her leave for her first day of school and welcomed her home after graduation. In between, Otis was her constant through every rung of the ladder; she climbed from young girl to adulthood. When Kylie triumphed, Otis was Kylie’s biggest champion, and when she failed, Otis was there to assure her that everything would be fine, because he was there, and nothing could beat them when they were together.
For 18 years, Otis never strayed far from Kylie’s side. He pledged to be with his little mom through her college years. Every soul receives a limited amount of heartbeats, so Otis had to meter each one out and not do anything too strenuous so Otis could stay with her from childhood to womanhood. Once Otis had given her every ounce of devotion to prepare her for being an adult, he departed, leaving her broken-hearted, but mature and a better person than she would have been if Otis never crossed her threshold.
While Otis was not well-known throughout social media, he had become a legend at the Bridge. We first learned of him when his siblings arrived and told the tale of the teenaged dog who would not leave his mom until he was sure she was emotionally ready. After Otis carefully and meticulously used his last heartbeat, the pug arrived at Rainbow Bridge. He not only saw the pups from his pack who preceded him, but dogs he did not know, lining the Bridge, the path to the stairs, and then up to Hobo’s Landing where I proudly awaited to swear such an accomplished dog into the Immortal World. When the pledge concluded, the howls of appreciation continued for 15 minutes. That was followed by the rain clouds filled with the tears shed for him, that poured down on us. It was the best kind of wet.
We have been working hard with Otis teaching him how to visit his mom in her dreams and the way to switch bodies with birds and butterflies, who can travel back and forth across the River to visit their parents. Kylie is in the stage of grief where you cannot stand seeing anyone else happy, something we are familiar with because all our parents have been through it. Since the pain a parent feels at a pup’s passing equals the love she had for the new angel, Kylie is going to travel a very long route to escape from the forest of grief. I am one of the few angels who can communicate between both worlds. Otis wants me to tell Kylie he is always with her: In her dreams, like a ghost, that Kylie might see out of the corner of her eye, or as a bird, butterfly, or other winged creature who seems to be looking at her converting something only she would know. Otis encourages Kylie to when she is ready, give her heart to another dog, because many in shelters need love, and she is one of the best dog moms in the world.
Today, Otis lives like a king in a palace with everyone Kylie has ever loved and has passed, which is what he deserves. Someday, far in the future, Otis will be waiting for her when she crosses the Bridge. Until then, he will always be an angel on her shoulder.