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  • Writer's pictureKnollwood Hospital for Pets

Rainbow Bridge Remembrances

People sometimes think that their veterinarians don’t remember their pets who have passed. “You see so many”, they say, almost apologetically. “”We know you couldn’t possibly remember”. But oh, yes. We do.

When Knollwood Hospital for Pets went paperless some years ago, we entered each and every patient file into our data base, page by page. After two years, we were done. The paper files were no longer useful, but they held so many memories! Nurse’s handwriting and my own, recording so much about each patient. Master problem sheets, detailing each and every medical issue and how it was solved. Some ended with a final notation that we would not be seeing this pet’s smiling face, ever again.

How to dispose of things that held so many memories? Shredding was recommended, but it just didn’t seem right. I ended up taking all those files home, box by box, until I could decide what seemed most respectful. A year went by. Then two. Finally, a friend reminded me about Summer Solstice. A time for memories and a time for renewal. A time for a new Solstice head wreath, and a big bonfire in which last year’s wreaths were burned. Staying up all night long, to remember what needed to be remembered: good and bad, painful or not. A night that ended in a joyous morning celebration when the sun’s light returned..

It took several hours to carry all the boxes outside. The bonfire was beautiful. And as the abundant sparks flew to the sky, I remembered so many of your pets. Spyplane. Weiner. Goldie. Spike. Bear. Crystal. Sally. Thibideaux. Rocky. Trevor. Josie. Francine. Isabeau. Dazzler. Jack. Roo. Ahlie. Token. Gracie. Atlas. Sofia. Bob. Ricky-Rat. Katie. Jack Sparrow. Kyla. Lizzie. Cindi. Tigger. Ozzie. Emma. Spanky. Abby. Dingo. Clara Boo. Makenna. Ruger. Petunia. Buddy. Sampson. Tummy. Athena. Patches. Canuke. Jazzie. Kai.

The names went on and on and on, as did the memories. The sparks flew for many hours. Tears flowed and ebbed as I whispered a final goodbye to each of you. By sunrise, the name of every Knollwood pet whose face no longer graced the world had been recalled and spoken. And I was finally able to smile, for the joy of having known each of them.

Yes. I remember all of your dear ones.

Yes. I still do this, every year.

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