Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2020 – Purr Prints of the Heart Blog Hop

Joy. By definition, it’s the emotion of happiness we experience, caused by something exceptionally wonderful or pleasurable to us. Losing a beloved pet is not joyous. The pain associated with the loss and the grief to follow can range from anger to denial, to depression, to a deep, overwhelming feeling of despair and sadness. Time may soften the pain, but it truly never leaves the heart. Despite that, there is joy. It’s just a matter of perspective and how you find it, and with today being Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, that’s what I’ll be focusing on.

I’ve lost many pets over the years – cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, hamsters, frogs, and more – and each loss was unique to the relationship I shared with the pet. Some losses, while never easy, I could understand. A senior pet who had passed on after a long and happy life like my precious cat, Kit, at the age of 15. Or a pet who had an illness in which the quality of life was greatly compromised, like my beloved Golden Retriever Bailey who I had to let go, debilitated by cancer.

Kit back in my college days helping me write a term paper. Anyone else remember when having a word processor was an amazing bit of technology?

Bailey was a true retriever and always had a ball or toy in her mouth!

But some losses were unexpected and brutally tragic, making the grief nearly unbearable, as the opportunity to say goodbye was taken from me, like my beautiful tortie, Harley who I had to make the split-second decision to let go after complications from a seizure. Those losses are nearly impossible to comprehend and reconcile, making emotional healing a great burden to the heart and soul. But now, as time has gone by, especially in this crazy, stressful world of ours, I want to remember the joy. I’m ready to remember the joy because regardless of the circumstances, the happy times and the happy memories of the pet are always in your heart if you’re willing to look past the loss and back to those wonderful moments that gave you a reason to smile or laugh, or that that brightened your day.

It’s not something everyone can do. I couldn’t always do it. Grief walks its own path and we have to do what feels right for us at the moment we’re living in. Maybe you don’t have the mental fortitude to find the joy today and that’s okay. For me, I’m finally ready to embrace the happiness of all my losses. The joy of shared companionship. Of the non-judgemental love and loyalty.

Harley was a Rubenesque cat and always loved to show off her fluffy and ample belly!

The happiness felt from a long day at work and coming home to a wagging tail, or barks, or meows of greeting, “Yay! My human is home!” Snuggling on the couch with a cat on my lap, for endless hours, even when I desperately need a bathroom break, because the shared moment was so special. Or enjoying an evening walk with my dog, finding pleasure in watching his excitement in spotting a squirrel in someone’s yard, or a stick on the street to pick up and proudly carry in his mouth the rest of the walk.

Bandit celebrating one of his many birthdays! He was always such a good sport with us putting hats on him for our pleasure!

As a German Shepperd, Bo was the ultimate protector of his humans, but he also had time for silliness, too!

Those are memories of so many of my pets that are now living in my heart. Those endless memories of joyful moments, none of them truly spectacular, but just the simple joys one experiences from the human-animal bond and those are the pictures I’m sharing today. Pictures of my sweet babies that cause me to smile, remembering the silliness of the moment.

Friday could have napped anywhere, but tucked on a too-small chair atop a baseball mitt was his preference.

Shami enjoying a peek-a-boo moment from the laundry hamper!

In the years to come, there will be more pictures to share. I’m not looking forward to it. I wish time could stand still because when we have to say goodbye, the moment is crushing, causing one to wonder why you would allow yourself a pet if the pain of saying goodbye is part of the package because it is part of the package. Our pets share but a brief moment of time with us in the scheme of life, but it is worth the pain. The happiness and joy far outweigh the pain and that’s why we open our hearts and homes to a pet time and time again.

My founding Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day in 2015 came from that pain as a way to find the love, beauty, and dignity in saying goodbye to Jazz, my Ragdoll cat I had to make the difficult decision to let go of on August 28, 2013. I shared the journey of his life and death and my relationship with him in the book I wrote, Purr Prints of – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond, with the day created in his honor as a way for others across the world to share memories of their own pets they had loved and lost.

Jazz mimicking the plush leopard he’s sleeping on!

I never really considered the full ramifications of the day back then. I created it out of love, expecting nothing in return. But the day has turned into something quite significant as people open up their hearts and share memories, pictures, videos, and so much more in memory of a pet. Local news stations have picked up the event, radio stations, and many communities even hold memory vigils. All of it touches my heart and that’s what I get in return – the joy in seeing an outpouring of love, compassion, and kindness from people of every walk of life, across the world.

I say it every year, and I’ll say it again now. The day is not meant to be sad, although sadness cannot be avoided. I do my fair share of crying every year, it’s impossible not to, but the day at its root is really meant to be a celebration of the love and joy of the pet – a day for the entire world, regardless of race, religion, sex, economic status, and everything in-between to come together. One does not even have to believe in the Rainbow Bridge to participate. The day comes from the heart without any agenda or expectations from those that chose to participate other than love.

My sweet Scrubby, she was born with only one eye and the other disfigured, but she was my love and taught me to see the good in all around me.

So, stay safe, and thank you to all who participate. And remember to live in the now, too. For those times that might frustrate you – scooping the litter box endless times, cleaning up a hairball you’ve just stepped in, walking the dog even though your exhausted – one day those moments will be gone, so cherish you have them if you have pets in your life now. Be kind to yourself, and be kind to one another, because, in the end, that’s all any of us really wants, is to be loved, cared for, and respected.

R.I.P. my beautiful, precious angels. I love and miss you all so much.


Lastly, for any of you either looking for a personal way to help someone through the grieving process, or if you need help yourself with grieving, please consider reading Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond. While clinical, self-help books on grieving serve a great purpose, sometimes a true-life experience that someone can directly relate to is the best way to help a person process their feelings, so they don’t feel so alone in the complex range of emotions they are experiencing. Purr Prints is a warm, spirited, and poignant tale written in the meow voice of Mr. Jazz that has touched the hearts of those who have read it. Please visit our books page for information on how to order the book, including options for personalization for those who would like the book autographed in tribute to a lost pet.

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  1. LOULOU says:

    Harley, Bo, and so many other darlings….how lovely your life with them, and I am CERTAIN that Shami and I were cousins…we tuxies must stick together! Love from Loulou and family and congratulations on a perfect blog.

  2. Andrea says:

    Today is the first of my mom’s birthdays since she passed away last month from Covid-19. I also lost two cats this year, Two-y and Mulberry Spot. They are all very much on my mind and heart right now but so is Mewdy Blue who I’ve been missing since 2013. It never goes away. They never go away. And there are so many more. I love them all and always will.

    Thanks, Deb, for this day.

  3. Kitties Blue says:

    Such a sweet and thoughtful post. Having lost Mauricio so recently, this was a really tough day, but admittedly each day has been. He had such a huge personality that our home seems empty; though, we still have seven precious furry children. Reviewing so many photos for my post, however, did me lots of reasons to smile. Thanks for creating this day for us.

  4. meowmeowmans says:

    Such a wonderful and important post, Deb. I think of our sweet angels every single day. Lately, I’ve been really thinking a lot about our angels Graphite, Moosey and Zoe. They are always in our hearts, aren’t they? Hugs and purrs to you, dear pal.

  5. Deziz World says:

    Thanks fur sharin’ and hosting this day. Mommy was so happy to share about Lexi and remebering her amazing life. Big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

  6. Valentine says:

    My human says that the white kitty that she had before me went OTRB unexpectedly at a young age and she never knew the reason why. He was playing one day and gone to the clouds the next. She said she cried for months and months and sometimes still tears up. I bet you have felt much the same way when losing your kitties. Thanks for creating Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day as a way for humans to honor their furry companions. Hugs.

  7. Thank you for hosting a blog hop where we can show off our angels, those many of us never knew, until here in Blogville. We tend not to talk a lot about them, though they all are precious and in our hearts forever.

  8. PetCare says:

    I think it is so sad to ave to say goodbye to a beloved pet … already did that with 3 dogs and don’t want to think about the moment I’ll need to say goodbye to my 2 crazy cats that I now enjoy so much. Bless

  9. Thank you for hosting such beautiful blog hop! We loved your post and joining in ❤️

  10. […] Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day: We have a few days throughout the year dedicated to remembering the pets we’ve loved & lost. And this is one of them. Each year the day’s creator does a blog hop to share the remembrance. […]