Farewell, My Little Friend
 
Farewell, My Little Friend
Written By Mark Elfstrand, Cultural Affairs Writer   |   05.27.23
Reading Time: 3 minutes

March 22nd was a very difficult day for me. It has taken some time for me to even be able to write meaningfully about the “event” of that day. We bade a not-so-fond-farewell to our treasured rat terrier, Pepito. My buddy. My blessed companion. He needed to go. His last days were very difficult. He died in my arms. And I wept.

One of the lesser known songs from years past in Christian radio is titled, “Goldie’s Last Day.” It’s from a 1993 album by the same title from a group called PFR (Pray for Rain.) Here’s the first verse:

Puppy love, puppy love
Yes, she gave all she had
Not like a brother or sister
More like a Mom or a Dad
We never asked her, never gave her a choice
We just barked out commands
Sit, Stay, Don’t beg
Stop licking my hands
Those days are gone now
I wish Goldie could come out and play
Goldie’s last day, Goldie’s last day

Anyone who has lost a beloved pet knows the pain that death brings. And we try to cope in many different ways. One of the more misguided of our efforts is to claim our pet has “crossed over ‘the Rainbow Bridge’.”

It’s suggested that the pet Rainbow Bridge idea may be connected to the Bifröst bridge of Norse Mythology. There, the idea is presented that a rainbow bridge reaches between Midgard (Earth) and Asgard, the realm of the gods.

Then there’s a book called Beautiful Joe’s Paradise by Margaret Marshall Saunders. In this work, we find pets awaiting their owners in a grassland. In this “divine” location, they offer help so others can heal from cruelty endured during their earthly lives. No mention is made of a “Rainbow Bridge,” however.

Instead, the idea apparently derived from a poem by Paul C. Dahm. This man was a grief counselor in Oregon. The Rainbow Bridge poem was originally composed in prose style. Here’s a sampling:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

To use another animal reference, “Hogwash!” The Rainbow Bridge is a nice sentiment perhaps. But written only to comfort humans of their loss. There’s no sniffing in the meadows of the afterlife for animals. Because they have no afterlife.

Think about it. If the Rainbow Bridge existed, do we really want to see alligators, coyotes, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) crossing over? I doubt even cats would participate in the crossing. Way too independent!

Now there may well be a complete set of animals in the new creation. (Avoid the dinosaurs, please.) What makes mankind unique from all other creatures put on earth by God is that we are made in His Image. Homo sapiens are the only known species in creation who can respond to God by learning to love Him “with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” (Mark 12:30-31, NLT)

There is simply no biblical support for the idea that animals have souls that move into eternity. I wish they did. (Well, maybe not one of the dogs I had.) I thought my little Pepito was one of the sweetest dogs to ever walk the planet. I am grateful for the blessing he was in my life and how much joy he brought to our family. Parting was so much more than sweet sorrow.

People also often say that humans become angels when we die. No we don’t. Jesus answered the Sadducees on a marriage question by telling them in heaven we will be “like angels,” not that we become angels. They’re a different breed in God’s creation.

Related to that, in the passing of a loved one you might hear, “God must have needed another angel.” Not true. God has all the angels He needs.

Friend, do not fret over the eternity of saved souls. God’s future Kingdom will be so grand and glorious you will bask in the Light of His very Presence. Let that assurance be your comfort in all loss. And be thankful for the animal friends God blessed you with. Farewell, my little Pepito.


Mark Elfstrand, Cultural Affairs Writer
Mark Elfstrand is a Christian husband, father and grandfather. A 40-year radio veteran, Mark has been a drive time air personality in Sacramento, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Chicago, including WMBI and WYLL. He has also served in various ministry leadership positions. His current endeavors can be found at elfstrandgroup.com....
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