Every time they think they’ve discovered everything there is to find on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, our dogs Jimmy and Joey come across something new. While helping a new arrival get settled, Jimmy and Joey, both ambassadors for the Rainbow Bridge Newcomers Club, learn that the Rainbow Bridge provides whatever a new pet wants or needs. Ask — or just think about it — and, poof! it appears! They learn, too, how every day can be a best-ever day. What an amazing place!
Dear Stephanie & Todd,
Joey and I just got home from the nightly story time ’round the fire hydrant, where dogs gather to chew on after-dinner sticks and listen as everyone tells the story of the greatest day of their lives: Forever Home Day. No matter how many times we hear the tales, they never get old. But tonight’s story time took an unexpected turn, as two dogs decided to tell us about other best-ever days.
Otis, a tan-and-white Jack Russell/Bichon mix, started things off. We see him around a lot. He lives with his pal Lucy and likes to hang out at Jump!, the trampoline park where he can bounce around and grab treats dangling from ropes overhead. The little dude has a lot of energy. He had told us some stuff about his life on the other side of the bridge before. He was rescued by a nice man named Chad Tucker and for a long time it was just the two of them. Then Chad Tucker met a nice woman named Meredith and it was the three of them, which was great because that meant even more snuggles and pets. Otis learned how love can grow exponentially when his family expanded again. He quickly claimed his sister Carson Parry as his new best friend and was getting to know new sister Pearl Monroe when it became time for him to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
“My last weekend with my family was the best,” he said. “We took a drive into the country, I even got to sit in Chad’s lap, which he never let me do. We took a nap under a big tree and I played in a sprinkler with Carson Parry. Then she gave me a ride in her toy car. You know how I love to ride!” (When Otis isn’t at the trampoline park, we often see him zipping through the neighborhood in a LegLyft, wind blowing through his ears and a big smile on his muzzle.)
“The next day,” he continued, “we took another drive, this time to the mountains, to picnic and play in a creek. I ate ice cream and everyone petted and kissed me. It was the most perfect day, but no matter what we did, it would have been perfect, just being with my family.”
The chewy sticks must have splintered, fragments of wood hitting all us dogs in the face at the same time because our eyes filled with water as Otis finished his story. Everyone was quiet for a few minutes, gnawing away, remembering good times with our own families.
Next up was Zeus, or Zeusy, as he told us to call him. Actually, he said his best friends and family call him Grandpa Zeusy, but on this side of the Rainbow Bridge he looks like a young pup.
Zeusy is a relatively new arrival and we had a great time getting him settled into his house with his best pals, Kona and Kekoa, who had filled his bedroom with surprises. Zeusy is a fashionable gentleman, so Kona and Kekoa had prepared quite the wardrobe for him: his dresser is filled with bandanas in every color and pattern; dozens of natty collars hang in his closet. Zeusy’s pals also had blown up and framed a family photo taken just before he crossed the bridge. There he is, lying on a blanket in the grass, a big smile on his face, a sporty plaid tie around his neck. He’s surrounded by his mom Sylvia Mayon, dad Andrew Mayon and human brother Ethan. The photo hangs above Zeusy’s bed, where he sees it every night before he goes to sleep. (Otis has a similar family photo above his bed.)
After showing Zeusy his house, Joey and I offered to give him a tour of the neighborhood, like we usually do. “Do you have a spa?” Zeusy asked us, as we trotted down the sidewalk. For the first time as an ambassador for the Rainbow Bridge Newcomers Club, I was stumped by a question. I’d never seen a doggy spa here and don’t remember reading about it in our handbook.
Zeusy continued: “I looooove a good bath! I got one just before I arrived here. Couldn’t you tell?” Of course, we could. Zeusy looked great, sunlight bouncing off his fluffy tan coat. He looked like a fuzzy bear. He went on, “A good bath is the best! The warm water, the soapy scritches and scratches, shaking all the droplets off. There’s nothing better than getting pampered, putting on a fresh bandana and heading out for fun.”
“Er, I don’t think we have a spa,” I said. “You know most dogs don’t like baths. Here, we just take a swim in the lake and come out clean.” He looked disappointed, but then we turned a corner and right there, where I had never seen it ever before, was Fur Fluffers, a fancy salon packed with dogs relaxing in sudsy tubs. Joey and I looked at each other, confused.
“Oh, yay!” Zeusy said. “I’ll make an appointment for next week!” And right next door was The Dapper Dog. Again, I’d never seen it before, but there it was, a store filled with fancy coats, collars and bandanas for the well-dressed gentledog. It must have been where Kona and Kekoa shopped for Zeusy’s wardrobe. This side of the Rainbow Bridge is full of surprises, giving us everything we could ever want.
Anyway, we hadn’t seen Zeusy since the day we’d given him the tour so it was fun to run into him at story time. When it was his turn around the fire hydrant, he said, “My Forever Home Day was the best day ever but the day before I arrived here was the best day ever, too. Can a dog have two best-ever days?” he asked. “Oh, sure,” we told him. “Every day here is a best day!”
Apparently, Zeusy, in addition to being a handsome guy and snappy dresser, also is quite social. So, on his last day, he made the rounds to visit his many friends. It was quite the tour. He went to All Pets Considered (his favorite pet store), Almost Home Boarding & Grooming (one of his homes away from home), Dog Days Greensboro (another one of his homes away from home) and Dirty Dogs Self Service Dog Wash & Grooming (his favorite spa).
“It was so exciting, I got a little sleepy and had to go home and take a nap in the middle of it all,” Zeusy said. We nodded in understanding: Any best-ever day is going to include a nap. “It’s also the day we took that family photo that now hangs above my doggy bed,” he said.
Kona and Kekoa woofed. “We’ve got another surprise for you, Zeusy. You know that TV in our living room? It has channels that tune to all those places. You can watch what’s happening with all your friends on the other side of the bridge anytime you want!”
Zeusy’s tail whipped back and forth. “And,” Kona and Kekoa barked in unison, “you can watch everything happening back at home, too!” “Mom Sylvia, dad Andrew and my brother Ethan?” he asked. “Yes! Yes!” Kona and Kekoa said. “My dog siblings Makena and Wrigley?” he asked. “Yes! Yes!” they said.
Zeusy’s eyes got wet again. “This is the most magical place,” he said, as Kona walked over to lick his face, just like his pal Wrigley did every night for years.
Looking around the circle, we could see tears in all the dogs’ eyes. We really need to replace those splintering chewy sticks!
Tail wags and doggy kisses!
Zeusy’s human mom, Sylvia Mayon, founded Break The Chain Kennel Kru, a great organization that works with underserved neighborhoods in Guilford County, North Carolina, to assist families with chained dogs so they may comply with local anti-tethering ordinances. The group provides families with no-cost, chain-link kennels, allowing them to unchain their pet in a safe, secure enclosure. Break The Chain Kennel Kru also educates and provides resources to families to help them properly care for their pets, and works with a local veterinarian to offer medical care for dogs in the program that need it the most. In the most critical cases, Break the Chain also assists families themselves.
* Donations to the group can be made via http://www.btckennelkru.org/how-to-donate.
* To learn more about sponsoring a kennel, visit http://www.btckennelkru.org/sponsor-a-kennel.
You wouldn’t know it to look at her because she’s such a delicate beauty, but Freddie, our semi-retired chief canine officer and our very best girl, is one tough dog. She’s spent years vanquishing all manner of rodents who dared enter our yard, and has dealt valiantly with more than her fair share of insect stings. Recently she survived a run-in with a snake. It had us worried, but Freddie took it in stride. We’ll let her tell you all about it. (In a postscript at the end, you’ll find tips for dealing with stings and bites if your pets have their own encounters with menacing insects and reptiles.)
I don’t want to alarm you, but the creatures are after me! I have a long and ugly history with the yellow-and-black buzzers and just a few weeks ago, I got bit by one of those cold, slithering sticks.
My troubles with the buzzers come down to this: They are always telling me to keep my nose out of their business. How can I? I’m a terrier! My nose leads me to the most interesting places — chipmunk burrows, mole holes and, proving the buzzers right, sometimes a nest of ground hornets or a pretty flower already occupied by a bee. But I can’t not follow my nose! They are asking the impossible.
The first time I was stung by a buzzer, I was at Horizons Park for my daily walk with Todd (the best person ever) and my dog brother Joey. We were having a great day, walking and sniffing and then walking and sniffing some more. Well, Joey and I were walking and sniffing. Todd was mostly walking and telling us what good dogs we were. Todd and I have a lot in common but I’ll never understand how he can walk through a park and never once get down on the ground for a good inhale. He misses so much.
I was sniffing an interesting spot of raccoon urine when I felt a sharp sting, like when they give you a shot at the vet. I finished evaluating the pee spot and left my own contribution, ready to walk on. Suddenly, I was sleepier than I’d ever been. I had to take a nap right then and there.
When I woke up, Todd was carrying me up the hill, while Joey ran around and barked. Before Joey crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he and I would usually coordinate our naps, and he didn’t understand why I’d decided to take one during our walk — pretty much the most exciting part of our day. “Whatcha doin’, Freddie? Whatcha doin’?” he asked me. While Joey went on and on, Todd examined me, saying “You’ll be OK, Freddie. You’re a good girl. You’ll be OK.” It was very reassuring.
After an emergency pitstop at the vet and another sharp sting of some kind which was a medicine called Benadryl, the vet declared me A-OK! The medicine made me sleepy all over again, but that was just fine because Joey and I were ready for our after-walk, after-car-ride nap anyway.
I’d like to tell you I was never stung again and that the buzzers learned not to mess with Freddie Belcher. But, friends, they still mess with Freddie Belcher. They are sneaky little buggers. They catch me off guard, and every time the sting hurts just as much as the first time. However, Todd now carries Benadryl with him at all times and gives it to me as soon as he realizes one of the buzzers has gotten me. Isn’t he the best? So kind and well-prepared!
You know me, I’m always up for a new experience, but a few weeks ago I had one that wasn’t much fun at all.
Todd and I were out for our walk and it was going great. Todd’s slowing down a little as he ages (not that he’s old!), so I’ve adjusted my pace and we’ve added rest to our workout regimen. Instead of my old walk-sniff-walk-sniff routine, I try for more of a walk-sniff-rest-walk-sniff-looong rest-walk-sniff-rest pattern. During the rest periods, we people- and dog-watch and have good talks. Todd seems to really enjoy it.
Toward the end of the walk, while doing a bush inspection, I stepped on a cool, squishy stick —and it bit me! It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t even see it there! When we got home, I was limping. Stephanie thought that, being the senior athlete that I am, I might have tweaked a muscle in my hip, so she gave me some medicine, but then my paw started to swell. It was the weekend and I didn’t have any other symptoms, so Stephanie decided I should rest and relax, while she and Todd attended to my every need, which they pretty much do all the time anyway. I took lots of naps and enjoyed being carried outside for my potties.
On Monday, my paw was still swollen and I knew what that meant: the vet! The pad was bleeding by then, but the vet actually thought that might be a good sign the bite was draining. He gave me some antibiotics and sent me home with orders for more rest.
I’m not going to lie, friends. It took a long time to recover from that slithering stick bite. I didn’t feel well enough to go for a walk for more than a week. It might have been a record! During the recovery, though, I caught up on all my sleep and I’ve been raring to go ever since. Nothing can stop me!
Yours in dogness,
Stephanie tells me I need to put a disclaimer here, even though I don’t know what a disclaimer is. Anyway, she says I should tell you that you should always check with your vet about how to treat stings and bites. What she and Todd do for me might not be the right thing for your pet.
And here’s some advice from veterinary experts that might help you if the buzzers and slithering sticks start coming after your dog or cat:
* VCA Hospitals, a veterinary network in California, explains how to tell if your pet has been stung and offers treatment tips. It also lists signs to look for that can indicate an emergency that requires a trip to the vet. https://vcahospitals.com/…/first-aid-for-insect-stings-in-d… VCA Hospitals offers similarly helpful info about spider bites. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/spider-bites
* WebMD and the ASPCA explain what to do if your pet is bitten by a snake. https://pets.webmd.com/snake-bite-safety-prevention-pet
Say hello to the Freeda. Todd’s latest portrait is a memorial to this beautiful girl. Her people tell us that she was adopted from the Catawba County Humane Society at about 9 months old, a free spirited gal that got along with everyone; dogs, cats, people. She loved car rides with fall being her favorite season. Once outside playing in the leaves, it was so hard to get her to come in the house. In the backyard, she could camouflage herself among the fallen leaves. She was dearly loved and so missed but we have it on very good authority that she’s doing well at the bridge reunited with her sister Fred once again.
Every year, volunteers with Unchain Winston get together for a party to celebrate their hard work building fences and providing proper shelter for dogs so they can play safely outside. We learned that this year, there was another big celebration happening at the same time, as the pets of UNchain Winston volunteers who’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge threw their own big shindig. Our dogs Jimmy and Joey were lucky enough to be invited and Jimmy sent us this report. Spoiler alert: They had a blast!
Dear Stephanie & Todd,
Joey and I just got home from the biggest, most fun party and we have to tell you all about it before we even think about going to sleep.
From the moment we received the invitation a couple of weeks ago, we knew it was going to be a memorable event. The invitation arrived one afternoon when Joey and I were having a nap. Joey alerted to a faint scratch at our door, bounded over to investigate and found two guinea pigs on the front porch, carrying a giant envelope. (Well, it was a regular-size envelope, but huge compared to the guinea pigs.) They waggled their heads up and down, encouraging Joey should take the envelope from their mouths, and, when he did, they introduced themselves as Hugs and Kisses. I ripped it open to find an invitation that said: “You’re invited to a party! Help us celebrate all the good work of the UNchain Winston volunteers.”
Of course, we know all about UNchain Winston from Stephanie’s work with the group, and our TV isn’t the only one around here on Sunday mornings tuned to channel 4881 to watch the lucky dogs run and romp after the volunteers fence their yards. (Read more about UNchain Winston below.) We told Hugs and Kisses they could count on us to be there!
The day before the party, Joey and I headed to the neighborhood square for a relaxing fur trim and brush out, and then splurged on festive new collars. We wanted to look good and, because we are Belcher dogs, we wanted to be right on time for the big event. So, the day of, we woofed for a LegLyft, putting Hugs and Kisses’ address into the dashboard navigation system. We rode through two neighborhoods before pulling up to an enormous house, one of the biggest we’ve seen here. It makes sense: Hugs and Kisses are tiny but they are part of the Mooerfield clan, one of the largest families of animals here. The yard was lit up with twinkly lights, and dogs and cats were streaming into the house, some arriving in LegLyfts like us; others arriving on paw.
We weren’t the only ones who’d spent a little time at the spa. Everyone looked fabulous, and quite a few dogs were sporting new outfits. We spotted Lily Jade, a beautiful white short-hair with one blue eye and one brown eye, trying to make her way into the house but being slowed by all the dogs sniffing around her. Her pal Isabelle, a sweet husky mix and quite a looker herself, kept a watchful eye.
Greeting everyone at the door was a trio of Malamutes, Ryoku, Tenchi and Okami, who welcomed everyone with a hearty woof, and a big, fluffy cat named Simon, who offered to show us around.
“Help yourself to anything you want,” Simon told us as we passed an enormous water bar, featuring waters from all the best lakes, streams and ponds around here, all available in bowls or on tap. Across from the waters was biggest spread of snacks I’ve ever seen: freshly baked biscuits laid out on trays, treats packed into balls and toys, bones piled high on butcher blocks. Joey was intrigued by a large, shallow tub that looked like a giant cat litter box but turned out to be a bed of crushed kibble dotted with cat-poop-shaped sausages. “That was the dogs’ idea,” Simon said, clearly not happy with the presentation.
Videos of UNchain Winston fence builds played on a big-screen TV in the background and music blasted onto a dance floor. We caught Blue, an adorable Cane Corso, and Jill, a sweet gray and white mix, dancing to “Everything Reminds Me of My Dog,” a catchy little tune by Jane Siberry. A sweet pair of dogs named Fred and Freeda took a spin on the floor when Dolly Parton’s “Cracker Jack” came on. Joey and I liked the deep cuts DJ Dixie was spinning and are happy to report to Todd we didn’t hear that awful “Who Let the Dogs Out?” even once during the party. In appreciation, we put a couple of bones in Dixie’s tip jar.
As Joey and I watched everyone dance, Clifford, a handsome lab, wandered over to see if we were having a fun. “Have you gotten enough to eat? To drink?” he asked. We told him we were having a blast. “Don’t forget to check out the back yard. That’s where all the games are,” he said before trotting over to a cat who seemed to have arrived at the party by herself.
Games? We had no idea there were games, too! As we headed outside, we met Tucker, a long haired black and white mix who was helping to organize all the animals into teams, while two sugar gliders, Skittles and Jinx, jumped from tree to tree, supervising the play.
Retrievers from the neighborhood were lined up at an automatic ball-throwing station. Judging by the drool crusting on the tennis balls and dripping from their mouths, they’d been at awhile, and it wasn’t long before Clifford popped by to make sure they were drinking enough water.
Joey and I signed up for “How the Cookie Crumbles,” racing Okami and Tenchi and one of the newest arrivals, Buddy to see which team could scarf biscuit crumbs off the patio the fastest. Hugs and Kisses declared it a tie, and Ryoku presented us all with blue ribbons for our collars.
Worn out and full, we settled into the grass to watch Tucker and his best pal Penny compete in tug-of-war. They were still going at it when we decided it was time for us to head home. As we were leaving, Simon told us the party was such a hit they were already planning another for next year. I don’t know how they’ll be able to top it!
We hope your UNchain Winston volunteer party was as fun as ours — and that you didn’t fill up on the litter-box sausages!
Tail wags and doggy kisses!
P.S. UNchain Winston is a great organization that does so much to improve the lives of dogs. The group’s primary goal is to build fences for dogs in and around Winston-Salem, North Carolina, so they can be safe and secure while outside. The nonprofit also builds and distributes dog houses, provides temporary dog pens, offers free and low-cost spay/neuter, and educates people about proper pet care.
* Donations to the group can be made via https://www.forsythhumane.org/donate-now Select UNchain Winston in the “This donation is for” section.
* If you’re interested in volunteering, visit http://www.forsythhumane.org/unchain-winston.
* And don’t forget to follow Unchain Winston on social media!
Thank you to everyone who shared all their wonderful rescue pets with us yesterday. A throwback photo of Freddie and Joey in their prime enjoying a long walk. We’ll be making a $50.00 donation to Unchain Winston to help build fences for dogs chained 24/7. #SAVEFURSYTH
We’re proud supporters of the #SAVEFURSYTH Forsyth County Animal Coalition, working hard for a 90% save rate in our county. Let’s see all your beautiful rescues! For every photo shared on this post by 11:59pm tonight (Feb. 12, 2019) with the #SAVEFURSYTH hashtag, we’ll donate $1.00 to Unchain Winston. We’ve been privileged to share our lives with some wonderful rescues and for those who’ve followed us for a while know that we lost Freddie’s brother dog, Joey almost 4 years ago. Love looking back at photos of them together. They were such a wonderful pair. #MissJoey