Over the Rainbow..

What a rollercoaster this last month has been. From being completely devastated one day, to feeling very proud the next, to then being of course just exhausted. It is baffling to me how your emotions can take over your entire well-being but in the end, we are still here and working hard to live life to the best.

Last month we lost our youngest lab, River. We got him from an amazing breeder when he was just 8 weeks old and surprised the girls with him so he has always been our “kid”. He was a blessing and like any other animal, filled a place in our home and our hearts that will never be replaced. He was not quite 3 years old (1/21 would have been his birthday), and unfortunately the way he passed was devastating and extremely traumatic for so many of us. Justin and I’s hearts truly have been shattered at the realization of not having our little guy next to us any longer, but we have leaned on one another like never before. Both girls miss him so much and luckily, they have done a bit better than we expected.

Almost everything reminds us of him but going to the cabin has been very difficult and not only for us, but Bailey as well. Bailey is our 4 year-old lab and from the same breeder so they were half siblings (same mom, different dad). Nonetheless, they had a connection the day we brought him home to her and they were inseparable (they always had to be touching or right next to one another). The pain of watching her not have her best friend has been absolutely terrible but we ended up doing something big.

Bailey’s depression was getting pretty worrisome and we were not going to let anything happen to her, so naturally we needed to figure out a way for each one of us to start healing. We found a 10-week old lab online who was the last in the litter and the breeders were planning on keeping him, but couldn’t give him the attention he would have needed. We felt it was right and there was something very special about him so, we drove to Eastern WA and bought a puppy. His name is Easton, named after the city that the cabin is in. He makes sense to us and I am not going to lie, probably has one of the cutest faces we have ever seen. We truly feel like he was meant for us.

The trauma of losing a pet is like no other. They say that animals do not choose us, we choose them. We decide to pour our hearts into reciprocating the unconditional love they give us in order to make sure they are happy. It is an incredible experience to have a pet who adores you as much as River adored us and even though he may not be here physically, we know his soul is constantly with our family. I’m a strong believer in him showing signs and he has done a pretty great job in showing us multiple rainbows and even playing the song “over the rainbow” on Alexa randomly. Below is a rainbow that appeared outside of Justin’s shop on the day of his passing and since then, it has happened again but there was a double rainbow. It’s pretty amazing and I refuse to not believe it’s him letting us know he’s okay.

Sometimes when things happen that are so traumatic, it leads into a repercussion of reminding you to look at tomorrow as if it’s not promised. His passing was that reminder, so a couple of weeks ago we made the decision to make The Impact Project an official nonprofit 501c3. This is a big deal for our family and future, so we are looking forward to taking community opportunities to a whole new level in Auburn.

Life is short and we are grateful for the time we spent as a family with River. We are always going to keep him close to us and my hope is that he is now crossed over the rainbow bridge, feeling healthy again, and playing ball with all of the other pets who have left paw prints in our hearts. I do wish he would have been able to chase the ball with his new little brother since I know those three pups would’ve been a fantastic match <3.

-Kelly

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