The bond that we pets share with our parents is so strong it can be frightening because someday, much too soon, it will end. When a loved one passes over, it is much harder on the survivor. The departed are distracted by old friends and new experiences at the Bridge, but the humans are left at home, where everything reminds them of their loss.
In many ways, the departure of a beloved pet is the worse loss a person will experience because we are their constants; at home when they leave, greet them when they arrive, sit with them, and, unlike children or parents, we are always home. If a pet parent lives alone, with a single animal, the loss detonates their heart and pushes it into a black hole, and it seems impossible ever to recover it.
That is why my heart sank to my toes when I saw my friend Rascal's name on the list of dogs I needed to swear into the Bridge. I knew her mom had surrendered her heart to the beloved dog she nicknamed Rigatoni. She posted about her cute little pup almost daily, sharing their life with a grateful audience.
There is an element of Shakespearean tragedy in the relationship between dogs and humans. It is brave of them to love something they will outlive and inevitably lead to unbearable heartaches, like what Momma Lori is going through now.
The bond is felt equally as strongly by the dog, which is why Rascal, at first, refused to cross the Bridge, hoping, despite how he had pushed her body beyond its limits, to return to her mother's side. The only angel who could coax him across was Droopy, another of her mom's dogs who preceded Rascal to the Bridge.
Rascal was distracted while I swore her in. She kept looking over her shoulder for her mom. I knew her transition was going to be difficult. Rascal wanted nothing at the Bridge; She yearned to be back with her mom. Instead of a massive dinner for Rascal, who was not interested in eating, Droopy and I brought her to my chambers and presented Rascal with a seldom-used option.
We explained to Rascal how he could become a ghost and be with her until her mom passed to the Bridge, even though she couldn't see him, except if the light was right and she squinted out of the corner of her eye or heard an unexplained thump in the night. It would be a lonely existence since she would see no other angels, but all Rascal wants is to be with her mom. And all her mom wanted was her, and ther was the best we could do.
Once he gets her mom to sleep, such an allusive goal when a broken heart is involved, Rascal will search for a new dog for her mom. She knows her mom will balk at again going through the hell she is feeling now and that nothing could compete with the love Rascal's mom felt for her, but she is in the top one percent of dog moms, and somewhere a magical little dog is waiting for her to be her mom, and start the process again. Good moms do it for the dogs, who they treat like royalty, and experience the joy they bring as they try to put off the inevitable sorrow.
I can't put a positive spin on Rascal's passing, but I ask her mom to remembers he will always be there, are to listen for those unexplained sounds or times she sees Rascal when she couldn't possibly be there and know she is still with her and will be forever, so she never walks alone.