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What is the Rainbow Bridge?

When I started getting really sick my people heard a lot about this whole “Rainbow Bridge” thing. To be honest, they didn’t care much for the concept. Then, they helped me get there. And I must say, this place rocks.

jerry travels on with his toys

So what is the Rainbow Bridge? In short, it is a poem about doggy heaven.

Commercially, it is the title of many books about pet loss. In spiritual terms, it is a metaphorical place known by people whose beloved pets have died.

In reality, it is a blessing of hope for those who love their dogs enough to help them pass on when their time comes …

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 Edna Clyne-Rekhy

So, this clarifies something we hear a lot in the Tripawd discussion forums. When dogs pass on, they do not “cross” the bridge. When people lay their dogs to rest, they are helping them go “to” the bridge – where they will meet them once again someday. Glad we could straighten that out.

And for the record, the original author of The Rainbow Bridge is unknown. While it is said to have been penned by Oregon grief counselor Paul Dahm in 1981, the poem has been circulated and attributed so widely that no one knows for sure. We don’t care. Ever since my people received a copy along with my remains from the wonderful pet cemetery folks, they think it’s pretty cool and wanted to share it with everyone here.

UPDATE: 02/27/23: The author of the Rainbow Bridge has been found! Read about Edna Clyne-Rekhy in National Geographic

Read Our Review of Heartsmith Pet Memorial Lockets.

See Our Selection of Pet Urns, Charms and Memorial Photo Boxes.

pet urn charm

help grieving support for loss of loved pet

26 thoughts on “What is the Rainbow Bridge?”

  1. We lost our angel dog, Kali, and 8 year old golden retriever 4 days ago to cancer. She loved everyone and understood everything, every word, every action. She became a therapy dog with no formal training and brought smiles to faces who couldn’t smile anymore. People with Huntingtons disease, dymentia, people in comas. I am so lost without her and so are the many people that loved her at work. I have not been able to pick up her bowls, bed, toys or food. I try hard not to think of her smiling face because I am not ready to think of her as a memory yet. I took hundreds of pictures of her and they are all over the specialty care facility that I work at and in most of the residents rooms smiling along with the declining residents.

    God just took her too soon………….

  2. I lost my dog Lady to Cancer a week and a half ago. I am lost without her. Reading the Rainbow Bridge really makes me believe that we will one day be together again, otherwise why would GOD have put them here to love us, and us them.
    God bless to all who have lost their loved companion, and love to all our precious babies.

  3. I first heard of this poem almost 11 years ago when my pug Chelbeni died. I still miss her to this day. I’m grateful someosne passed this poem on to me. I have passed it on many times. That’s why I’m here, to print and pass this to someone suffering the loss their dog of 14 years.

  4. I had never heard of the “Rainbow Bridge” until I lost my little wire-haired dachshund and a neighbor saw how much I was grieving. That evening my neighbor slipped a copy of the poem through my mail slot and I appreciated it so very much, even though I wasn’t quite sure I accepted it. The point is, it is so soothing to me and to think that another person loved their dog, cat or animal so much to write that poem showed me that I was not alone in my grieving. That’s how the “Rainbow Bridge” poem has helped me in many cases.

  5. No matter how many times I read this beautiful “poem” about Rainbow Bridge, I still end up crying. It simply is so descriptive of how we all feel about our beloved pets. There is a “poem” version, too, which rhymes, however, I personally prefer the “prose” version posted here. There is a Rainbow Bridge remembrance bracelet, too, which has the colors of the rainbow on it and says, “I’ll be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge”. I got that bracelet when my dog, “Luna” had to be put to sleep after over a year of battling hemangiosarcoma and losing her right hind leg. Thanks for sharing this wonderful literary gem, Jerry! We know there are folks out there who have never read it or heard of it, so its good to put it out there for everyone to see, whether its their first time or not. You’re right, the dog doesn’t cross over the bridge, until you join him, then you cross over “together”…

    Sandra and “Angel” Luna

    • Sandra, can you tell me where to get the remembrance bracelet? I lost my Chihuahua Pebbles in May she was 18 years old. I got her when she was only 4 weeks old, It has really been hard not having her here. I too had to put her to sleep because of Kidney failure. I found Rainbow Bridge Poem one day on the internet and it has helped a lot to think that she is waiting for me. Please let me know about the bracelet.
      Thank you so much,


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