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Memorial/Tribute Thread for all of our Dogs that have passed (waiting at the Bridge)

I wanted to start a thread like this for a while, but didn’t know exactly where to do it so I believe this is as good a place as any.

I was thinking it would be nice to have a memorial/tribute thread for all of the dogs that have passed on after touching our lives in so many special ways. As near as I can tell, we have people from at least 10 different countries but I would assume the way that dogs touch the soul transcends countries, languages, and cultures.

Although I had two dogs as a boy growing up, I made the transition to a dog person over the last 15 years. Whenever I lose a dog, I go through a tremendous grieving process. There’s a poem that always gives me a lot of comfort called the Rainbow Bridge. I would bet that 99% of you know about it but for the 1% that may not, it is worth sharing…

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 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. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run 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....

Author unknown...

If it is OK with everyone, let’s use this thread to post tributes to our dogs waiting for us at the Bridge. Include a photo and a special story or memory about them, if you are comfortable sharing.

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Ginger died on Tuesday Jan. 8th 2008 aged 11 years. She was put to sleep after a tumorous growth in her jaw had started to heamorrhage and nothing could be done for her. Ginger (Caskey's Iced Ginger) was not a show dog. She was my father's Irish Setter - or rather my mother's until her death in 2005.

I'd like to share Ginger's story here.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. My parents had decided not to get another dog after their previous Irish had died 6 months ago. They thought it would make them free to travel. But after the operation my mother felt she needed a new lease to life and this hope was puppy Ginger. Ginger was a sweet, soft and adorable puppy. Nothing wild and wicked about her. She endeared herself to everyone.
Tragedy struck when she was 7 months old when she yelped with pain whilst playing with a dog. She could not put any weight on one of her back legs. The diagnosis was shattering: severe hip dysplasia, the vet could only suggest having her put to sleep. To my mother and all of us this would have meant not only loosing Ginger but also the loss of hope for my mother's recovery. Obviously Ginger was to be given a second chance. We found a vet willing and capable of operating. Ginger was the perfect patient, lying quietly playing with a ball between her front paws, finding new games to play. She recovered and lead an easy life with happy walks in the woods with my mother and excursions by train all over Switzerland. Despite being given a life expectancy of maybe 7-8 years she made it to 11. 3 years ago my mother became seriously ill again and had to spend alot of time in hospital. It was during that time that Ginger transferred her affection to my father. When my mother died 2 1/2 years ago Ginger gave him comfort and companionship during his time of grief.
Ginger's death brings this story to a close but awakens all these memories, both happy and sad. Thank you Ginger for being there.
Susan I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Yesterday, Jan. 08 was the first anniversary of the passing of my beautiful Dottie. She was just 10 years old and had a big tumor rupture in her stomach region and was in shock when I found her at lunch time. We are never ready to lose them.............Loma and Red Friends

Dec. 30, 2007 I had my Heart Dog, Walker put to sleep. American, Mexican Ch. Sunshine's New York New York was a little over 12 years old. He had been having problems like all old dogs do. Had a hard time standing, walking and was easily knocked down, and then a few months ago he became totally incontinent.
Thankfully on Oct. 31st I sold my flower shop and retired and was able to spend more time with Walker and to keep him fed, warm, and clean. Not a easy job with a 82 lb dog. But he was the love of my life and I didn't mind. But on the 30th he could no longer get up, could only raise his beautiful old head and look at me with out the light in his eyes and no spirit in the body. I knew it was the time I'd dreaded, but I did it for my Red Friend.

I've put many old dogs to sleep and a few young ones, but Walker left this world in the most peaceful way I've ever seen. He tried to kiss me on the tip of my nose like he liked to do, but just was to weak to do anything other than touch my nose with his. God I loved that dog.

Run free Old Man Walker, till we meet again on the other side.
Lorma, as you say we are never ready to loose them - they give their whole life to us and we can just share part of our road with them.
The last moments are so intense and painful to us. But still we are in the position of giving them relief from their pain - and for me this is also a way of showing our love and respect to them..
Loma,
Thanks for writing the story about Walker. My heart felt sympathies go out to you. I'm always surprised at my emotions concerning a sweet dog.
Best wishes,
Judi


Susan has already written about Ginger. Yes, she was special, as they of course all are. But losing her last week was also losing the living link to the last years with my wife, which we lived with a special purpose and intensity because even in the good times, which were many, the knowledge is already there, that nothing lasts for ever.... Ginger, despite her early misfortune and residual deformity, which no-one noticed, ran around and played happily and went (almost) everywhere with us, and even the dear friends who helped when we were away said always how easy and friendly she was. I felt last week that I had lost the friend who has given me purpose and interest , but much, much more. She was my other self; I also find that around the village and in everyday life I am now stopped by people who ask, where is the dog....children ask 'where's Ginger'; a message from Shanghai said 'There must have been a time of Bryan-without-Ginger but I can't remember it'. All this shows what they give us. We are not alone in the world, our Setters are part of us, and (assuming we don't cause trouble) bring much unsuspected happiness to many we may not even know, who are all around us.

But what now? A pause, to catch breath. Time to think. Replace the carpets, full of bloodstains from her gruesome last morning. Wash and put away the towels, mats, toys, bowls, collar and lead. Time to take 'Ginger's rug' off the end of the sofa. And then: Perhaps I'm too old to take on another 10-week old from scratch, but there might be a way of finding that companionship with a more mature setter bitch. We'll work on it, and I will enjoy in the meantime the Setters of my daughter and of all these friends. But Ginger really was special, and seemed to know.

Bryan
You know Bryan, there is at the end of your story the upplifting part of you realising that there will be another dog out there. I am not one for "rainbow-bridge" , memorialls and all that when it comes to dogs, but I have loved each one of my dogs dearly. And each time I have felt: I will never get another one like it...
And, quite true, I have not.
But every time I have ended up with dogs that were special in one way or another. In fact (although it will take time for me to admit it) a lot of them have ended up being better than the previous dog in some ways.
And I feel that is the most amazing part about owning dogs...there is (even though you dont think so at the time) always another one. One that will be deeply loved and so very special.
Ursula

Dear Urula
Yes, that was our experience, that we embarked on a road of 'discovering setters'. We also have seen our dogs grow older (though seldom growing up !) and leaving us, and we have seen little ones that didn't 'make it', and setbacks and disappointments. The next one was always another exciting, and frustrating, voyage of discovery. But the years roll on and I too now have to say that I cannot take responsibility for bringing up a new puppy. That means a step back, but the good news is that my daughter has a house full and, as we did yesterday, we often meet and go out into the woods and fields with arms full of Irish Setters. This is a picture of a young Ginger discovering one of my wife's favorite places, near the Steingletscher in the Swiss Alps.

Bryan
I'd say there are some benefits of having a daughter who has a 'house full of setters'...
whatever the mood, you make your choice: when feeling a little more sedate - Bramble will fit in nicely / when feeling young and boisterous - Glen will throw his arms round you / when feeling ready for the challenge - Erin will suit your requirements perfectly... / and when you need a grey little face to look at you adoringly - Shannon, even though her mind say 'food' it always looks like 'love' :-))

Bramble will happily go anywhere providing she gets a comfy settee and enough food!

Susan
My mother can not even tell my two setters appart...
No question of borrowing one.
Seems convinient for both Stones, younger and older!

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