Whether your pet is feathered, furry, scaled, or slimy and uncommon, their death is a deeply felt emotion that may linger longer than you’d expect. It’s a real pain of loss, and remembering their companionship and comfort is one way of coping and hopefully moving on from the bereavement.
This is why Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day is an important day for many pet owners who have lost a loved one, celebrated annually on August 28. In this article, find out how this nationally recognized holiday is celebrated, its significance, and float some ideas for commemorating your pet that’s passed on.
What Is the Rainbow Bridge?
The term “Rainbow Bridge” is thought to have originated from poetry. Two versions of the poem have unknown authors, but a popular rhyming version was written by Steve and Diane Bodofsky, which spoke of rejuvenation, healing, romping through the grass, and crossing over the bridge side by side. A verse in one stanza reads that you and your dear critter will “cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again”.
That’s descriptive of where your beloved friend waits on the Rainbow Bridge and where they’re longing for your companionship so you can cross over together. The poem provides an easier way of saying that your pet’s in animal heaven as a way of helping bereaved pet parents process their grief.
The History of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day
On August 28, 2013, Mr. Jazz, the beloved kitty of Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicle blog author Deborah Barnes, breathed his last.1 Consequently, Ms. Barnes detailed the Ragdoll cat’s life and times, including her struggles with letting him go in a book titled Purr Prints of the Heart—A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond.
The well-received book and the overwhelming response from similarly grieving pet parents prompted Deborah Barnes to create the Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day in Mr. Jazz’s honor.
How Is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day Celebrated?
The memory of your dog, cat, or any two, four, or non-legged companion is bound to linger for a while. Pet parents, relatives, and friends get a chance to commemorate their animal kin by sharing stories or poems along with videos and pictures of their loved pets.
While the process is profoundly personal, you can pay tribute to your pet in several ways to help you with grief management.
1. Hold a Ceremony
The Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day offers you the chance to hold a proper memorial ceremony for your departed pet. It’s a way to pause and get in touch with your emotions, which you may have not properly considered with the untimely and fast loss of your animal friend.
The ceremony doesn’t have to be elaborate; just include you and your loved ones who had a relationship with the pet. You can share stories, pictures, or other memorabilia that help you grieve together and appreciate your departed pet’s impact on your lives.
2. Sharing Your Pet’s Memories
It’s heartbreaking to talk about a pet you’ve lost as it refocuses the pain of its demise, but a channeling outlet is available thanks to Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. During this time, you can reminisce on the great times and positive memories you have of your animal friend and share them with others.
3. Creating Art as a Tribute to a Departed Pet
You can find comfort in expressing your creativity through art or other outlets that keep the memory of your departed pet alive on Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. Creating something that pays tribute to your animal friend provides a cathartic outlet for your grieving emotions while offering lasting memories of that special relationship.2
Try channeling your creative talent, whether it’s a painting, drawing, video, song, story, poem, or a write-up that features your collection of thoughts. You can use any skills you have or learn new ones in stitching, woodworking, pottery, doll making, or metalwork to describe your pet’s memory.
4. Carrying a Tribute to Mark Your Pet’s Lifetimes
While you can carry a tribute always to remember your departed pet, Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day gives new significance to your chosen memento. It could be your pet’s picture in a locket or a piece of jewelry inscribed with their name on a customized bracelet with a visual symbol of your animal friend.
As a grieving pet parent, you can choose to get a tattoo of your departed dog or cat so their memory will always be with you if that’s your style. Alternatively, you can set aside Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day to make reproductions or copies of whatever memento you have, whether a paw print or nose impression of your animal pal.
5. Adopt or Rehome Another Pet
The loss of a pet can be painful, and you may not be considering opening your heart or your home to another animal again. However, Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day will signify that your departed friend would want you to offer the same love and comfort to another.
While it may seem like you’re replacing your pet, it certainly helps you to emotionally move on from their demise by offering another friend a forever home. Given time, it’s also part of the healing process to share your life with another animal and honor your old pet’s memory.
6. Other Pet Memorial Ideas
No matter the length of your pet’s life, its impact on you and their memories after they’re dead should be immortalized. You can commemorate that special animal with other memorial ideas that ensure they’re close until when you’ll make the crossing together.
August 28 of each year is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, which is celebrated to commemorate your beloved pet that’s passed on. Keep your animal friend’s memory alive annually with a ceremony or sharing of stories, poems, videos, or pictures, and create mementos to honor the love and comfort they impacted your life with.
Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day plays a crucial part in your grieving and healing process, which makes it easier to bear your pet’s passing. It’s also a time to consider replacing their presence with another animal that needs your love and attention.
Featured Image Credit: quan_tum, Shutterstock