A touching letter by Michael Groetsch, but spoken through the eyes and heart of an aging shelter dog that he took for his last walk before being euthanized.
My Dear Friend,
I am writing to thank you for taking me for my last walk. After being surrendered by the man I most loved, I knew that it was over. He told the shelter staff that I was very old and he knew it was time. He asked that I be euthanized and laid to rest. I tried licking him, hoping that he would change his mind, but I knew that it was hopeless. As he gave the leash to the attendant and walked away, my heart was broken.
When I stood in the hallway with my leash attached to the wall clip, I felt so very alone and abandoned. As you approached, you immediately noticed that my feelings of loss had quickly turned into fear of the unknown. What next I thought? Who are these strange people I wondered? As I tucked my tail between my legs and my backside quivered, you approached with a soft voice and stroked my aging fur. You said that things would be okay. You took my leash and gently walked me outside and reassured me that I was still loved. As we strolled through the spacious grounds, I found myself still enjoying the simplistic things in life. Although my eyes had been shadowed by age, I couldn’t help but see the beauty of the star-filled sky. While my hearing had also faded, hearing you call me your sweet baby made me feel warm inside. I also heard you cry. My heart cried with you. You also showed so much patience as I sniffed everything in sight. The scent of the soft grass and the other pups that strolled before me produced images that only I could see. I was so very touched that you had shared those last moments with me. It was then that I knew it was over. It was my time to go to Rainbow Bridge. It was my time to visit all my four-legged friends that went before me.
I must say that my passing was painless. As the attendant prepared me for my journey, another shelter worker stroked my fur and spoke with soothing words of kindness. While my life began to fade away like a distant landscape beneath the first winter’s snow, I began to see a magnificent bridge in the distance straddled by what seemed to be an endless meandering stream. On both sides of the stream, open fields of blue-green grass introduced gently slopped hills kissed by a bright morning sun. Although I couldn’t immediately see what was on the other side, I ran through the field so very fast that you would have thought that I was a young pup again. And as I climbed the first set of hills, I could suddenly hear the playful barks of friends that I have so missed. When I arrived on top and looked down into a sun- kissed field below, there they were, waiting for me to run with them in the perpetual bliss of Rainbow Bridge. And I did.
Thank you and the shelter staff for making my passage into the next life such a peaceful journey.
I will always remember your kindness and will one day welcome you to Rainbow Bridge.