The Greatest Gift
Karla M. Bertram, 11/23/96

I always knew this time would come,
From the very instant our eyes first met.
How I loved you then! How I love you now!
I made a promise then and I keep that promise now . . .
You will not suffer from a pain that will not heal;
You will not know the loss of a life remembered, now gone.

It is for me alone to make this decision,
The price for the bright joy and pure laughter
You brought me during the time we shared.
I am the only one who can decide when it is time.
When my hope dies, and my fears ride high,
Just when I need you most, I must let you go.

It is for you alone to tell me when you are ready.
For without your guidance, I will not know
When to lay my grief, my guilt, my anger,
My sorrow and my selfish heart aside
And give you this last gift, this greatest gift.
Your eyes will speak to mine, and I will know.

The pain of this moment is excruciating.
Tears stream down my face in a river of sorrow,
And my heart drowns in a pool of grief.
For you have spoken, and I have listened,
And unlike other decisions I have made.
This one brings no relief . . . no comfort . . . no peace.

For if there's one thing you've taught me,
If there's only one thing I've learned. . . .
Unconditional love has a condition after all,
I must be willing to let you go, when you speak to me
I must be willing to help you go, if you cannot go alone.
And I must accept my pain so you can be free of yours.

Go easily now, go quickly now,
Do not linger here, it is time for you to leave.
Go find your strength, go find your youth.
Go find the ones who've gone before you.
You are free to leave me know, free to let your spirit soar
Rest easy now, your pain will soon be gone.

I pray I will find comfort in my memories . . .
In the dark and lonely days ahead.
I cannot say I will not miss you, I cannot say I will not cry.
For only my tears can heal my broken heart.
But, I promise you this: as long as I live,
You will live, alive in my mind, forever in my heart.

So I give you this last gift, all I have left to give,
And this will be my greatest gift . . . sending you away.
It is the measure of my unconditional love . . .
For only the greatest love can say,
"Good-bye, go find the bridge, we'll meet again,
Loving you has been the greatest gift of all."


They Will Not Go Quietly
Linda Barnes

They will not go quietly
the dogs who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.
Old habits still make us think
we hear a barking at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dishused to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them...
and always will.


Rainbow Bridge
Author Unknown

"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, 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 each miss somone very special, someone who was left behind.

"They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops & looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass, faster & faster. You have been spotted, & when you & 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 those trusting eyes, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together."


The Best Place
Author Unknown

We are thinking now of a German Shepherd, whose coat was flame in the sunshine and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or unworthy thought. This shepherd is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry tree strews petals on the green lawn of her grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a dog.

Beneath such trees, such shrubs, she slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavored bone, or lifted her head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else. For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes she leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream she knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained and nothing lost -- if memory lives.

But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all. If you bury her in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, she will come to you when you call -- come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path and to your side again. And though you may call a dozen living dogs to heel, they shall not growl at her nor resent her coming, for she is yours and she belongs here. People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by her footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who have never really had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth knowing.

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of her master.


A Dog's Prayer
Beth Norman Harris

Treat me kindly my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me. Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierc wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside for I am now a domesticated animal no longer used to the bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food that I may stay well to romp and play and do your bidding, to work by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather, hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest....and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.


A Million Times!
Lynn Fowlston

A million times we've called you,
A million tears we've cried.
If love could have saved you
You never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a place
No one else will ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn't go alone.
Part of us went with you,
The day God took you home.


God's Garden

God looked around his garden
and found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth
and saw your tired face.

He put His arm around you
and lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.

He knew that you were suffering
He knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never get well
on the earth again.

He saw that the road was getting rough
and the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids
and whispered "Peace Be Thine."

It broke my heart to lose you
but you didn't go alone.
For part of me went with you.
The day God called you home.


Memories
John Galsworthy

"Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives. Yet, if they find warmth therein, who would grudge them those years that they have so guarded? Nothing else of us can they take to lie upon with outstretched paws and chin stretched to the ground; and, whatever they take, be sure they have deserved."


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