Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dogs as Helpers; Animals in Heaven

On Monday, therapy dog Libby Sweetpea, Cathy, her two therapy dogs and I visited the Grand Junction Regional Center operated by Colorado's Dept. of Human Services.

We two adults and our three pets visited the 32 people receiving highly specialized care in one section at the Center. Most of the people receiving care, although non-verbal, seemed to be highly receptive to the animals, and a few petted the dogs with enthusiasm and gentleness. I was very much impressed with the excellent care provided by the direct patient providers.

Previously, I have written about Therapy Dogs International here in an earlier post and here after Libby received her official Therapy Dog certification.

While on a visit last week to St. Mary's Hospital, Libby and I visited with a woman whose dog had died several years ago.

That conversation brought up the subject of "animals in heaven."

Wanting to check out this line of thinking, here are a few sites I visited:

(photo courtesy of saintfrancisfoundation)

Do Animals Go to Heaven? and reassurances can be found here.

Both sites give assurances that life with beloved pets are valuable in many ways. This was certainly validated yesterday when I saw the positive interaction our dogs provided those with many special physical needs.

Here is a sweet poem given us upon the death of our older pet several years ago. The office staff of the veterinarian all signed the card that said:

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them; who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together......."

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