Oliver's family knew that he would soon be living life one day at a time. At 12 years old he was showing signs that let his family know that he would soon be ready to go. They knew it was a blessing to have had Ollie for so long, but it was still very hard to think about letting go of their beloved companion.
Ollie was a model student from the beginning. He completed puppy class, recall class and agility; he even earned his Canine Good Citizen badge. Ollie loved being with his family. He was a big teddy bear and being a "Good dog" was in his blood as Ollie's grandfather won best of show at the Westminster Dog Show in 2004. At the age of five though, Ollie came down with canine meningitis. He was sick and afterwards had trouble using his hind legs, but he went on living and loving life for 7 more years. Ollie's dad says, "He kept us together as a family. He owes us nothing; we owe him." I think this says it all.
Ollie passed away just before Christmas. His family was heartbroken, but Ollie had given them notice of his intentions ahead of time to help prepare them. The family had read the story of the Rainbow Bridge and kept it close to heart in the months that led up to Ollie's passing. (I wonder if that unknown author has any idea how many families they have helped with the passing of their beloved pets.)
We got pictures of Ollie with his family and pictures with his housemate and friend, Zeus. Then we took some pictures to help Ollie's loved ones remember that he will forever be in their hearts.
I feel privileged to have met Ollie. Between our brief time at the session and the wonderful stories told by his family, I know that he was truly the definition of an old soul.
There are several versions of The Rainbow Bridge out there, but they all convey the same message and conjure up the same emotions. Here is one in particular that I really like:
The Rainbow Bridge
inspired by a Norse legend
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.
© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.