Today Bailey and I took a long hike together. It was a perfect Colorado day -- sunny, big poofy white clouds in the sky, a slight chill in the air that just makes you want to be out of doors.
We were nearly derailed a couple of times. I couldn't find my watch, I left my phone behind, and the trail we'd planned on hiking was hosting a mountain bike race. All of it told me to turn around and head back to the condo. But I couldn't do that. I searched and searched and still couldn't find my watch so I gave up that particular hunt. I did drive back to get my phone, though. Heaven forbid we get lost out there without the ever-handy use of GPS. Instead of the trail we'd planned on walking, we opted for another parallel trail, a shorter one that took us off into the woods to...well, destination unknown.
We set out and made our way through the woods. Bailey splashed into every pool of water we came across, peed on all of the good rocks, and generally had a great time. Me...I was looking for the perfect spot. It was hard to know what that would be, and I just kept telling myself this place wasn't right...over there isn't quite what I wanted. I had no idea if I would ever find IT.
Eventually we hit a road. Luckily, it wasn't quite game over. I spotted another trail heading down into the trees below. We decided to give it a shot. We made it to the bottom and I just knew...this was it.
We'd crossed a bridge over some falls earlier and in front of us lay a pool of water created by them. Calm enough for Bailey to wade into, but moving enough that I didn't have to worry about her drinking the water. In the background, the sounds of the falls, loud but not too loud. It was a peaceful respite where we could rest in the shade, the mossy smell of the woods surrounding us. It was the sort of place both dogs loved. And for me, there was a nice tree stump to sit upon. It's where we would've stopped had we all been out there together. So, it's where we stopped now.
I sat there for a few minutes, not sure if I was ready to do this. Not sure what I should do. I had brought along the card the vet hospital gave to me, so I pulled that out along with a clay paw print one of the hospital staff had given me. It seemed right, so I read the words on the back of the card.
In tears, I ran my fingertips over the impression of Chloe's paw print and said one last goodbye to my baby. Then, with Bailey splashing around in the water beside me, I sprinkled some of Chloe's ashes into the water. I said goodbye, knowing there was no better place for me to do this. Now she would always be a part of the mountains she so dearly loved.
There are so many things I'm going to miss about her that I don't even know where to begin. Mostly I think I will just miss her comforting presence--her sprawled out across my bed, hogging it to the point I had to cling to the edge; her snoring that was like a little Mack truck; the BAM BAM BAM of her tail when I walked by while she was asleep on the floor; her good natured bark that boomed like the big dogs, scaring the wits out of anyone who came to our front door (when they actually saw her, it was always a laugh); her sitting under her tree in the backyard, looking out over her domain; her--in all of the best ways possible--mischievous nature. She was my little sidekick from the day I adopted her. I will miss her beyond words.
Rest in peace, sweet baby.
And because I couldn't think of my own words, this is what I read:
The Story of Rainbow Bridge
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.
All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...
Ack...more tears. Do me a favor? If you have a fur baby, give them an extra hug and kiss for me tonight. Thanks. :)
Here are some of my favorite pictures of Chloe:
You were the best dog I could've asked for. Sleep well, Chloe. Someday we'll cross that bridge together.