My dad’s experience with the Rainbow Bridge

February 22, 2013 

When my dad, Van VanDeWalker, worked at Macon animal control he had the distressing task of euthanizing pets. But there was one time he had a glimpse of the Rainbow Bridge, the bridge pets cross to meet loved ones on the way to heaven.

Here is his story.

An elderly lady came to animal control with a request I abhor. She wanted her dog euthanized.

Normally, people are referred to veterinarians for this service. Something was different this time though. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She was clearly devastated.

Her husband recently died and this dog was the love of his life. The two were inseparable. Likewise her husband was the center of the dog’s universe. Since his daddy’s death he’d given up -- barely eating and constantly waiting for his return.

I went outside and saw the dog lying motionless in the car. A small terrier mix staring straight ahead, tail not wagging, looking completely lost. The woman and her daughter tried everything, but he wouldn’t come out of his deep depression.

I told her I would do what she asked. What follows is my experience in the euthanasia room. Was it coincidence or were we offered a glimpse of what happens afterwards? I was there and I AM a believer.

I set the dog on the table while another officer prepared two shots, one for sedation, one to end this dog’s life. Ending a life is very traumatic for the officers.

It’s not uncommon for officers to talk to the pet. We say we’re sorry. We stroke him, kiss him, and say we love him so if he had a terrible life at least he heard those words once.

But this dog just lay there resigned to his fate. Then I explained to him what would happen.

You’ll be given two shots. After the second shot you’ll see a bright light ... run to that light.

You’ll see a bridge and on the other side your daddy will be waiting for you. Cross the bridge and jump into his arms.

I don’t know why I said this. I’d never said it before.

We proceeded with the first shot to sedate him, although he was already completely calm. After a few minutes, the shot to end his life was administered.

I again told him to look for the light and the bridge. After a few seconds, this dog’s tail started to thump the table furiously! Taking his last breaths, his tail continued to wag strongly.

The hair on my neck literally stood up. I told him he’d made it. He was with his daddy again.

I gave his lifeless body back to the woman and, since I was still in shock, only told her the dog and his daddy were reunited. Still crying, she said she knew they were.

I hope my experience helps anyone who’s loved and lost a pet.

Send questions to Visit or see his Facebook page.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service