A sold-out BlogPaws Conference at Tysons Corner, VA, this weekend is swarming with bloggers, pet experts, representatives from pet companies, pet rescues, and a number of dogs, cats, a few ferrets, some guinea pigs and even some little chicks.
Here Paws for Reflection shares a few photos from Thursday’s festivities.
What’s your favorite photo? What do you think about bringing all kinds of animals to a conference about blogging? It’s really kind of fun to see all the kitties, pooches and others all decked out. Makes it a bit fun. Share your experiences with BlogPaws or other conferences. Or just share your thoughts about these photos.
Today is Mother’s Day, and we’d be remiss if we did not honor all the kitty moms around the world, whether they be human or feline.
If it wasn’t for the love and support of these moms, us kittens wouldn’t even have a life at all. While the felines are responsible for the early weeks of care, the humans that open up their homes to cats of all ages, should be recognized. Many do much more than just opening up their homes to the cats. They adopt them as members of their family. And they become moms to their special feline family.
All kitties around the world, and our pet friends, give our pet moms, A Very Special Thanks and an AWESOME Mother’s Day. Thanks Moms….
Lenny is happy to have a special mom. He’s been sharing quarters with Paws’ mom for almost a whole year. Mummy helps Friends of Feral Felines who trap/spay & neuter/return feral cats. My parents were ferals, and I was born in a brush pile set to be burned. I was rescued at one-week-old, and I was bottle fed until Mummy could adopt me. I have a great life. I just love to chase my tail in the middle of Mummy’s bed in the middle of the night. Thanks to Mummy, I have a great life. Happy Mom’s Day….you deserve it.
Little Yellow was thrown out in a barn before he came to live with Paws’ mom. He’s had a great home and lots of love for over five years. Mom almost lost the little boy when he decided to chew on an Easter Lilly. That rush to the animal hospital proved just how special Mummy really is. Do I look familiar? You guessed it. I’m in Paws’ heading. I’m a very special silver coon, and I’m really lucky to have a Mummy that would do anything for me.
How could a cat as handsome as Linus end up at the Animal Shelter. Well, he did, and thanks to Paws’ mom, he’s been spoiled with tons of love and special treats. His special place is sharing Mom’s lap with Little Yellow when she’s having her morning coffee. Mom rescued me and my brother Tubby. Unfortunately Tubby succumbed a few years ago to FIP. Tubby was very lucky that Mom took such great care of him and made sure his last days were comfortable and filled with lots of love.
Now I’m a gorgeous girl, and I know it, But how could I have ended up at an Animal Shelter. Paws’ mom adopted me when I was just six-months-old. Pink Collar is a bit spoiled and a tad of a madame. Mom has tailored my diet, and now I get special food so that I stop getting those urinary track infections. Did I say Mummy has spent alot of money on me. She sure has, and I’m grateful. She’s the best!!
I’m Clyde, and well I’m kind of adopted from Mummy’s mom who is now living in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. But I’m treated just as well, if not a tad better, than her own kitties. I’m getting older, and the other kitties are starting to pick on me. Mummy is making sure that I have free reign of the upstairs, and get a bit more peace and quiet. She’s really standing up for me. Could I wish for a better Mom? No way. She’s awesome.
I’m Smokey Blue, and while I’m looking forward to joining Mummy on the Rainbow Bridge someday. I’ve been gone for some time, but Mummy still thinks about me every day. I had a wonderful life with Mummy for almost 20 years. That’s a long time to spend with a special person. Mummy – I still love you.
Do you have some special stories about your feline children. My cats are definitely my family. As I lose the people that were once near and dear, I grow closer to my cats. For that reason, I share their thoughts and their thanks on Mother’s Day, because I indeed, am their Mom. Please share your stories. And as a reminder, be a responsible kitty mom, and have your cats spay/neutered. While we love the little ones, kitties can reproduce rapidly. Spay/neuter, responsible pet ownership, and proper vet care is the best thing you can do for your kitty children.
This is very comforting to many of us who have or are losing our pets to disease, old age, or accidents. We want to feel our pets are at peace, just like, we want to feel the special humans in our lives, are in a better place. And just as with humans, we hope to be with them once again in the hereafter.
Even Evangelist Billy Graham has gone on record as stating he sees no reason why we can’t expect to be re-united with our special pets when we pass on to heaven. Many religions believe in some sort of here-after life. And Paws believes there’s no reason we can’t expect to connect in the after world with our soul-pets as well as those special people in our lives.
Paws mom had never heard of the Rainbow Bridge until she took her second kitty, Smokey Blue, to be euthanized. She was so thin – only three pounds. Her thyroid and kidneys were in poor shape. She was almost 18, and had been in her life since she was six-months-old. When she went to sleep, she just looked at her mom with loving eyes, saying thank you.
A few days later, the vets office sent a sympathy card with the Rainbow Bridge.
We wondered where did it all come from and what does it mean?
In her search Paws found it’s a rainbow that’s been turned to stone. The work is believed to have written sometime between 1980 and 1992, but who wrote it is not known. The theme of the poem is a mythological place where a pet goes upon death, eventually to be reunited with its owner.
When a pet dies, it goes to the meadow, having been restored to perfect health and free of any injuries. The pet runs and plays all day with the others. There is fresh food and water, and the sun is always shining. While the pet is at peace and happy, they miss their owner who had to be left behind on Earth.
When their owner dies, they come across the Rainbow Bridge. At that moment their pet stops what they are doing, sniffs at the air, and looks into the distance where they see their owner. They run as fast as they can until they are in their owner’s arms, licking their face in joy while their owner looks into the eyes of their pet who was absent on Earth, but never absent in their heart. Then side by side, they cross the Rainbow Bridge together into Heaven, never again to be separated.
More research shows the website About.com suggesting three potential authors:
• Paul C. Dahm, a grief counselor in Oregon, said to have written the poem in 1981 and published it in a 1998 book of the same name.
• William N. Britton, author of Legend of Rainbow Bridge , 1984. His website Legend of the Rainbow Bridge (http://www.legendofrainbowbridge.com/) states, “This heartwarming and comforting story is a must for anyone who has ever loved an animal. This little book, sweet, and inspirational, is filled with hope, comfort, beauty and possibility for all who have experienced the loss of a devoted and faithful companion. Animals create bonds in our hearts that can never be broken. The Rainbow Bridge, based on a Shaman’s stories of Native American legend shared personally with Mr. Britton, brings renewed hope and comfort to our hearts, knowing that one day we will all be united at Rainbow Bridge. His website continues stating, “Britton knows all about the therapeutic effect pets can have on a person. He is the cofounder of Companion Golden Retriever Rescue in West Jordan, Utah, an organization that has rescued over 5,000 Golden Retrievers since its creation in 1988. Mr. Britton continues his work with animals — training service dogs and assisting in rescues. He has authored numerous stories about animals.”
• And Dr. Wallace Sife, head of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, whose poem All Pets Go to Heaven appears on the association’s website as well as in his book The Loss of a Pet.
About.com says the concept of this paradise where pets wait for their humans to join them goes back much further, appearing in “Beautiful Joe”, a sequel to Margaret Marshall Saunders’ book, “Beautiful Joe’s Paradise. About.com states, “In this green land, the animals do not simply await their owners, but also help each other learn and grow and recover from mistreatment they may have endured in life. But the animals come to this land, and continue to true heaven, not by a bridge but by balloon.”
The newsgroup rec.pets.dogs, posted about Rainbow Bridge on the internet on Jan. 7, 1993, quoting the poem from a 1992 (or earlier) issue of “Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League Newsletter”, quoting it from the Akita Rescue Society of America. Other posts from 1993 suggest it was already well established and being circulated on the Internet at that time, enough for the quotation of even a single line to be expected to be recognized by other newsgroup readers.
The inspiration for the poem is believed to have come from an ancient 13th Century Norse legend where Bifrost, a rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (the world) and Asgard, the realm of the gods, where worthy Norse warriors crossed to Valhalla.
Other interesting facts about the Rainbow Bridge, while not pet related are as follows:
- In addition to the pet heaven, the Rainbow Bridge is the world’s largest known natural bridge. The span has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time–from the neighboring American Indian tribes who consider Rainbow Bridge sacred, to the 300,000 people from around the world who visit it each year.
- The Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls is an international steel arch bridge across the Niagara River gorge, and is a world-famous tourist site. It connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, United States (to the east), and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (west). A design by architect Richard (Su Min) Lee was chosen (and later used again for the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, approximately 10 kilometres (6 mi) downriver). King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, during their visit to Niagara Falls as part of the 1939 royal tour of Canada, dedicated the site of the Rainbow Bridge; a monument was erected to commemorate the occasion. Construction began in May 1940. The bridge was officially opened on November 1, 1941.
Some of the quotes about the human/pet connection on Britton’s promotion of his book at http://www.likemindspress.com/rainbow.htm include:
- No heaven will not ever Heaven be. Unless my cats are there to welcome me.”
- “A pet is never truly forgotten until it is no longer remembered.” (Lacie Petitto)
It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.”
- “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”
“Heartbreak is life educating us.”
(George Bernard Shaw)
- “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ”
Graham has been quoted as saying that God has a special reason and place for each of His created beings. Animals, too, have a purpose in God’s creation. Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:26-28).
Continuing he stated, the Bible itself does not indicate that there is life after death for animals. It may be that God’s purpose for animals is fulfilled on this earth. However, if animals would make us happier in heaven, surely there will be a place for them there. Some Bible interpreters have called attention to Isaiah’s description of the peace of God’s future kingdom where he says that “the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 65:25). Heaven will lack nothing that is good and that will bring glory to God.
Whatever the origin, the Rainbow Bridge provides comfort to those that have lost their beloved pets. My neighbor, Kim, just lost her beloved Pepsi to cancer. She and the cat had such a strong bond that he would lick his hair off from separation anxiety if she was away for any length of time. Hopefully, he is now frolicking in a grassy meadow, out of pain, anxiously awaiting Kim to join him. There are many waiting for us on the Rainbow Bridge. Paws’ mom certainly hopes the four that have gone on – Victory, Smokey Blue, and Tubby – will be reunited with her and her other beloved felines on the Rainbow Bridge.
What do you think of the Rainbow Bridge? Do you have pets that are waiting for you on the Bridge? Has this legend and story helped console you with the loss of a pet? Please share your thoughts.
Rural animal shelters face their own set of unique problems. This video outlines some of those issues. It also details the incredible caring people that devote their time to making the lives of homeless pets better. There’s no doubt, there’s an explosion of cats, everywhere. If only people would just spay/neuter their cats – it would help solve so many overpopulation issues.
Here, Paws is working with some experimentation with a video I posted on Vimeo a few years ago. I did the video for a community access television station: Mt. Blue Community Access TV. It’s a tad long, but it explains the workings of a small rural shelter. Enjoy!
How do you think your area animal shelter is stacking up when it comes to animal rescue? Please share.
To anyone that has lived in Massachusetts, or New England, for that matter, the Boston Marathon is an institution. For runners, it’s something to strive for. For those of us that are a bit more sedentary, it’s something to watch, follow, and see in person, at least once in our lives.
Therefore, it should be no surprise to find that Paws’ mummy came home at midnight to tune into CNN for the latest updates, last week. For the past two nights, she has watched the unveiling of the terrorist capture as it was happening. It was almost surreal to be able to watch this in the comfort of her rural New England living room.
What would drive someone to do such a horrific thing? We’re sure the details will unfold as the investigation continues?
It may not be the worst thing we’ve heard of the last year – the massacre at Sandy Hook – with an open assault on first graders has got to be about the worst thing that I’ve heard of in my lifetime. But it’s an attack on a near and dear institution – something that is a hallmark to Boston, a city and is near and dear to Paws’ mom.
Can you imagine if media had the capabilities of today during the 1960’s when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated? Or can you imagine being part of the arrest of those that killed Martin Luther King or Robert Kennedy?
As technology evolves, so does media’s capabilities. If it were not for the internet, Paws for Reflection would not exist. There would be no blogs, nor YouTube, nor Vimeo. There would be no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedInn or Instagram. Life sure would be a lot different.
We certainly would not be able to see the city of Boston and the suburb of Watertown erupt in celebration as their citizens could rest assured the two terrorists who ruined the Boston Marathon for those that died and were injured from the blast, but also all the spectators, volunteers and runners.
While Paws for Reflection mostly writes about cats, Paws could not turn coat and not blog about this. Paws’ kitties were watching the story unfold with their mummy, caught up in the intensity of the situation. We wonder how the pet owners, especially those with free roaming cats, and dogs dealt with the lock-down of the area. Paws’ mom was at Quincy Market the Saturday following 9-11. It was almost eerie with so few people out and about. She can only imagine what it was like on Friday….It certainly made her take pause and reflect.
Paws finds it inspiring that almost the moment the lock-down was lifted, when David Henneberry took his dog out for a walk and spotted the second fugitive, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in his boat in his backyard, leading to his arrest. Earlier Friday morning, the fugitive’s brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, had been killed during a shoot-out with police.
How do you think the pets fared during this ordeal? Do you have a pet story that you’d like to share? If so, please comment.
Is there any wonder why the Maine Coon cat is one of the most popular breeds in the United States? This kitty shows just how beautiful they are.
Have you ever had a Maine Coon? For me, my first very own feline friend was part Maine Coon, and she still has a very special place in my heart, even though she passed over the Rainbow Bridge some 15 years ago. Please share your stories about how you connected with these very special cats.
Maine’s animals need your help by opposing a proposed law, LD 1239, that could decimated Maine’s protective animal welfare laws.
Some very serious anti-animal welfare legislation being aired at a public hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, April 16) at 10 am in Room 214 of the Cross Building at the State House.
It’s important you take share this information with your Maine animal friends. According to an action alert issued by Susan Hall of Spay Maine, “Some very serious anti-animal welfare legislation has come to our attention. If passed LD 1239 will decimate Maine’s animal welfare laws. This legislation will make sweeping changes to how we allow animals to be treated in this state and will make Maine a prime location for puppy mills to set up operation.”
Hall explained that a dog breeder has submitted bill LD 1239 to Maine’s legislature. She said, “The bill is long and convoluted but if you take the time to read it, you will understand the seriousness of it and become as incensed as we are. The bill can be found via this link: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?LD=1239&snum=126
The bill repeals some sections of the current law and redefines others. In a nutshell, Hall said the bill will:
- Prevent routine inspections of breeding facilities. It would require humane agents and ACOs (animal control officers) to have probable cause for inspection and to obtain a search warrant before inspecting a breeding facility. This will cripple humane agent’s and ACO’s abilities to investigate situations based on anonymous tips, as they often do, because it is extremely difficult to obtain a search warrant based on an anonymous tip.
- Redefine the definition of “kennel” so that anyone can have an unlicensed, uninspected, “personal kennel” from which they can sell as many puppies as they wish.
- Remove the rule that requires breeders to obtain a vendor license and thus be subject to periodic inspections by humane agents and/or animal control officers (ACOs). The vendor license made it possible to find the Wilton puppy mill, from which 75 dogs were rescued.
- Allow breeders to sell as many kittens and puppies as they want to.
- Make it difficult for organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the ASPCA (American Society for Protection against Cruelty for Animals) or other national animal welfare organizations to help Maine in cases of natural disaster, large animal seizures, and other egregious situations. For example the large number of dogs rescued from the Buxton puppy mill seizure would overwhelm local resources. It would also make it difficult for these organizations to raise funds in Maine or to provide educational materials. Can you imagine what it would have been like for the animals if “outside” organizations couldn’t help after Katrina? Hall asked.
- Make it illegal for the Animal Welfare Program to raise money by selling items such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. much like Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIF&W) currently does.
Even if you cannot attend the public hearing, call, send an email or a letter to members of the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry asking them to vote against this bill. There’s still time to have your voice heard, even after the public hearing, but don’t delay. They need to hear how Maine people feel about this very devastating legislation.
Hall said you don’t have to go into any detail if you don’t want to. All you need to say is that you think this legislation would open up Maine to puppy mills and ask the legislator to vote down the entire bill. You can send an email to the clerk, email@example.com and ask her to forward your email to the whole committee.
If any of the members of this committee are your representatives, please pick up the phone and call them personally to let them know you expect them to vote against this bill, she said, pointing out, “Remember, they work for you and they do like to hear from their constituents.” The link to the list of committee members is http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/acf.htm. If you click on the name, their contact information will pop up.
What do you think about animal protective laws? Do they work? Why would a bill like this even make it out of committee to a public hearing? Please share your thoughts.