River, nicknamed Ari by Mama, was a member of the family; she lived in the house, slept in our bedroom, and went outing with us. She had a voracious appetite; every 10:00 PM when I took midnight snacks, she was there, with pleading eyes begging to share. Sometimes I'd feel guilty because at times I would just drop the scrap of food on the floor, which is undignified and not the way to feed your baby or a member of the family; instead hold it out close to her so she could pick up the food with her mouth. Years later when she was put on a diet, I had to hide from her while I ate.|
For 6 years she battled a heart condition due to heartworm. Finally, on March 21, 2017 she suffered a fatal stroke, and after 3 hours of holding her in my arms while she gasped for breath, the Angels of Rainbow Bridge came for River.
River is gone, but she's not forgotten.
How River came to us
In the backyard we saw a playpen with one puppy running around. When we approached and my wife leaned on the playpen, River immediately came running, put his front paws up on the playpen, stood up, and started licking Mama's fingers, the sad eyes wide and bright with excitement! Immediately our disappointment at not having the opportunity to choose disappeared! At that moment, we understood---River belonged to us.
Our previous dog, Sappy, died on May 5, 2005; River's birth is May 5, 2005--5/5/05, the Triple 5! Sappy's departure for Rainbow Bridge was River's entry into this world.
River's achievements in the ring:
May 21, 2006: Best in Hound Group (means all the Hound Group including Beagles, Bassets, Dachshunds, etc.); the Group winners then compete for the Best in Show;
After Jan 2010, River needed only 1 point to become a Philippine Champion (a national title). Unfortunately, she became pregnant and could not participate in subsequent dog shows to earn her remaining point. Two years later, River was diagnosed with heartworm and we did not let her compete anymore to avoid stress.
After her short career in the show ring, River stayed at home and we were just too happy to just play and cuddle her.
River had a short stint in Agility competition. From Dec 2005 -- Feb 2006 she trained in Agility. In Aug of 2006 she competed in her first Agility contest. River failed. Part of Agility competition is avoiding distraction in order to focus on the hurdles. Thus, contest directors deliberately scatter food scraps in the field to test the dogs. Beagles are known for their sniffing ability (probably the best sniffing breed). When River went to the field, she sniffed all the food scraps around, and instead of doing the hurdles in the contest, she roamed the field in search of all the food scraps thrown around! I had to throw in the white towel, enter the ring, and rein in River who by now was munching some of the barbecues and McDonald hotdogs thrown around! It was a futile competition, but I hugged River in affection---she had just lived up to the Beagle reputation!
River went outing with her family. She had a crate that just fit perfectly at the back of the car, and her original blue leash and a water bowl. She'd go with us to the Crocodile Park, where we'd meet other dog lovers and their dogs. We joined dog walks around the city, and we went to the beach together.
During River's time, we had 15 dogs in all. As of today, 8 have gone to Rainbow Bridge (including River) and only 7 remain.
Of the 15, it was only River who lived in the house; not that we did not care for the others. All of them were loved and cared for, had their annual vaccination, heartworm checks and treatment, deworming, daily exercise and walks, their own crates, and other personal stuff like leash & collars, and water bowls. But River was Mama's favorite. A few years later Mama had nicknamed her "Ari".
So why did River die of heartworm if she had annual medical checkup? I don't know, and I can't explain. It's like "why is it that it's the good people who die early?"
All I know is that River was the sweetest Beagle we ever knew.
Money can buy the best dog in the world, but only love can make its tail wag.
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3/24/2017: RIVER, I'm happy to tell you that we have many friends, kind people who visited your site and sent me comforting words.
3/25/17 - RIVER, today we put flowers and planted some plants at your grave. The site where you rest is no more than 20 meters from the house, inside the
ARI, mama was crying last night. She had just returned from Madrid to find you gone.
We miss you, ARI. Mama and I would love to be with you, if only we could.
3/29/17 - ARI, I woke up this morning and immediately looked towards the corner of the bed, your spot. You weren't there; even your small pillow wasn't there.
You're not really gone, ARI. Your memory lives in our hearts, and we love you forever. Live well, Ari; go and play with the rest of your friends at Rainbow
Bye, ARI. One day, we'll see you again; until that day, we'll always be thinking of you.
4/21/17 - ARI, today marks your one-month at Rainbow Bridge, since you left us last March 21. I'm only consoled by the thought that your heart disease has now
It's not that we wanted to prolong your suffering. It's just that we could see that you refused to surrender! You continued to show us (until the last 12
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MAY 5, 2017:
< < < < < < < < HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ARI! > > > > > > >
Today you're 12 years old. You were born on 5/5/05; it's always easy to remember your birthdate---the triple 5.
You were born at Loyola Heights, Quezon City, at the Olympic Gold kennel. Your father was Phil. Grand Champion & Australian Champion KINBRACE TRACKER a.k.a. Stryker; your mother was American Champion Alamo's IVANA. You had great parents, both champion Beagles! Your great lineage is represented by the 26 RED Marks in your pedigree! Your own achievements in the show ring demonstrate your fine lineage.
Happy birthday, Ari! Where you are now, Rainbow Bridge, a fantastic haven and timeless, you are forever young!
Ari, this is the saddest birthday we'll ever celebrate for you because you're no longer here to blow your candles.
We may find another Beagle again, but no one can take your place in our hearts nor match your sweet and confident personality.
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Ari, today marks your 100 days at Rainbow Bridge. Mama and I still talk about you everyday; your personal stuff--your lease and collar, your mat, your pillow, your piglet toy, your water bowl--all of your personal stuff are still here, we've kept them where we can see them everyday. Your leash and collar is right beside my laptop table, your collar is where we hook the car keys. I clean your gravesite everyday, sweep away the fallen leaves, and brush your marble grave stone. The plants we planted around it are now robust and have grown thicker.
Ari, we miss you very much. But we also know that it was better you left for Rainbow Bridge so your suffering from your heart disease would end. As you know, I've made a commitment right after you departed, that I would condole with parents who also lost their beloved pets after you. I've been doing this without fail; it's my commitment to you, and I do this in your memory. Memories are all we have of you; everyday when I open my laptop, your picture is what stares back at me; I've installed your picture as my laptop desktop background.
Enjoy your life at Rainbow Bridge, Ari. Just play with all of the beloved pets there; one day we'll see each other again, and I can scrounge up your face again and kiss you on top of your little head, the way I used to do everyday before.
(Ari, I deleted the list of your visitors, the list that I put here earlier, of those who've signed your guestbook, because I'm running out of space here. Anyway, they are not lost as they remain in your guestbook.)
Ari, today is your 4th monthisary at Rainbow Bridge. I'm glad that you're now fully healed, your heart condition which you suffered through 6 years, is gone. Mama and I still think about you; 3 days ago she mentioned that your 4th monthisary was coming up. And to take her mind off the pain, she started looking at pictures of the other dogs, your friends whom you left behind. I know you know how much we miss you; I know you know how much we love you still. No one can take your place in our hearts. I also know you're just here, looking after us. Since you left many things have happened, times when things weren't going right. But during those times I whispered your name in my heart, and the difficulties were overcome. I wish we could have done the same for you when you were still with us. But that opportunity won't be coming. The only opportunity we look forward to now is that day when we'll join you there at Rainbow Bridge; when we can hold you again in our arms and this time never to let you go. Bye, Ari; until that day.
Ari, today is your 5th monthisary at Rainbow Bridge. We miss you very much! It's painful to think that since March 21, 2017 you're never coming back. When I wake up each morning, I think about how long it's been since you departed. We used to walk out of the bedroom together, with you running ahead of me down the stairs, and upon reaching the door, you'd wait for me to catch up and open the door for you.
But I know you're just around; you're looking after us. How do I know? I know; I have many reasons, as there have been so many indications. Do you remember the bird? The bird you sent me last May 7? I see them now frequently, though not everyday; and when I see them I know you're around.
Enjoy your time at Rainbow Bridge, Ari. Play with your many friends. Do you know that you now have 65 visitors at your Memorial? Today I read again all 65 messages. Although I liked everything they wrote about and for you, I couldn't help feeling sad at their grief over their own loss. They're the parents of fur babies who have likewise gone to Rainbow Bridge. You know who they are; go find their pets and keep them company. I can never thank their parents enough. Thank them for me; by keeping their fur babies company, and healing their pain so they can cope with their loss.
Bye, Ari; until next time.
Ari, today is your 6th monthisary at Rainbow Bridge. How we miss you, Ari. Every morning when I wake up I immediately look at your corner at the foot of the bed, and you're not there. Then I look to my left and there's your white pillow, still prop up on the chair where we used to sit as we watched TV. Many times I would smell that pillow and I thought I still caught your scent.
Ari, as I promised you, I continue to visit your Rainbow Bridge memorial page. And in your name and in your memory, I would write short condolences to bereaved parents who have recently lost their pets. As of today, you've had already 71 visitors to your memorial. You're not forgotten, Ari; your story and pictures have been viewed internationally.
Ari, last Sept. 8 the shelter Beagle.RescueMe.org reached out thru an email, asking for help due to numerous pets displaced after the two Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In your memory, I donated $100.00, after which the Shelter's Founder, Jeff Gold, wrote back to inform me that ". . . 100% of your donation has been sent to help Macie, a beagle evacuated due to Hurricane Harvey. Here's her information:
How comforting, Ari, that our modest contribution was indeed able to help a fellow Beagle named Macie in New Jersey! I wish I could post Macie's picture here, so you'll see your fellow Beagle whom we assisted.
Until next time, Ari. Live well!
Today is your 7th month at Rainbow Bridge, the 7th month after you had beaten the pain and suffering and become healthy again, and the 7th month of anguish of the family you left behind. When I first adopted you in September 2005, I had checked the internet information about Beagles and they all claimed the lifespan of Beagles is from 12 to 16 years. But I thought that with proper care and a happy life, you could live up to 20 and beyond. At this time I would have been very happy if you had reached the upper limit of 16 years; unfortunately, you were called home at 12. Your leash and collar still hang on the printer cabinet beside my computer, and on your collar is where we hook the car keys. So everyday when we take the car keys, we touch your leash and collar and I rub them gently, hoping to catch some of your hair that might have stuck on them after all this time. Every night at 11:00 PM whenever I open the can of biscuits to go with my coffee, I always do it silently and look at the foot of the bed where you used to lie, because the sound of the can opening always caused you to awaken and bolt right off the bed when you saw it was food that I was holding, and Mama would then chide me for waking you up. Whenever I look at your picture, the one that's my favorite picture of you that is now the wallpaper of my computer, I'm always reminded of your bright and bubbly personality. Seeing your leash and collar everyday reminds me of some of your mischievous antics like when you're always looking for a way to escape your crate and the porch where your crate is, such that you learned how to push the barrel bolt with your paw, then nudge the gate latch with your nose, and then you'd bolt right off the gate and run around the yard daring everyone to catch you! And I remember how we used to climb the stairs together up to the bedroom when it's bedtime, and you'd wait for me to wake up in the morning because you didn't know how to open the door, and then we'd walk down the stairs together in the morning after waking up. And when you got older and your heart disease worsened, you began climbing the stairs slowly, and in the morning you no longer ran down the stairs but took one step at a time, until in the maybe last 6 months I no longer allowed you to climb up and down the stairs; instead, I carried you in my arms up and down the stairs, and put you gently on the floor. And during those 6 months when I carried you up and down the stairs, I often wondered how much time I had left to carry you. I did not know, how could I know, that the last time would come on March 20, 2017.
Ari, there'll be no one else, no other Beagle, like you---warm, confident, obedient with some heart-warming mischiefs, and with a distinctive trot and distinctive howl that only you could make. We miss you very much, and we're keeping your memory alive in our hearts. Bye, Ari. We love you, Ari; and we'll see you again one day . . . at Rainbow Bridge.
Ari, you have just completed your 8th month at Rainbow Bridge. How are you, River? I bet you're back to your old self, scooting over the green grasses like a bullet train! You're not tired, no more labored breathing from your heart condition, you're fully healed! This is the reason that much as we wanted you to stay longer with us, I also thought that going over to Rainbow Bridge was best for your health.
The situation here at home is still the same. Each morning when I wake up I count how many days it has been since you jumped out of bed and walked down the stairs with me. Today (Nov. 27) as I write this, it has been 251 days that we have not seen you, carried you in our arms, and scrounged your face as I kissed the top of your head. Your other friends are all okay. Rocky your fellow Beagle, Cheska the Jack Russel, the two Rottweilers Djimon & Junior, Padme the German Shepherd, and Chiro the Labrador, they're all okay. I take better care of them now, and I've grown closer to each one of them. I'm doing this as a commitment to you and in your memory---that I'll spend more time and take better care of your remaining friends.
Until next time, Ari; be happy and play with your many friends at Rainbow Bridge.
Ari, it's been 9 months since you left for Rainbow Bridge. Today we celebrated our first Christmas without you. As usual we had fun; but it was obvious something was missing. You weren't around to share the merry occasion with us. Now we look forward to the New Year, our first without you. Last year's Christmas (2016), we weren't able to play and cuddle with you. Had I known that would be your last Christmas with us, I could have made that day the perfect day for you. We miss you, Ari.
Today is your first anniversary at Rainbow Bridge. It's been a year since you've been gone. We have accepted that you're no longer with us, and we're learning to move on. But the pain is still there; it will always be there. The memories are as strong as ever. Your personal stuff---the lease, collar, your water bowl, the spoon, pillow, and mat---they're still here, we're keeping them. It's only your crate that we've assigned to another pet; it's now being used by Rocky, your fellow Beagle. There's not a day that we don't think about you every time we see that crate. Each morning upon waking up, I always remember how we used to get out of bed together, ran down the stairs together, and when we got to the door, you'd jumped up and down, always impatient for the door to be opened at once. And once outside, you'd immediately scoot over to your crate and see if food had already been placed in your bowl.
Since you went away, I've been drawn closer to your other friends, our other pets; they're still here---the two Rotts Junior and Djimon, Padme the German Shepherd, Chiro the Lab, the two Beagles Rocky and Echo, and Cheska, the Jack Russel terrier. Everyday I let Djimon and Junior out of their crates to run around, and I have to stay to monitor them. While watching them, I'd sit on the concrete bench beside the plot where you lay, and I'd spend my time brushing the marble slab on your gravesite. And always, my thoughts would turn to you and your best friend, Fluke the Rott, who's with you now at Rainbow Bridge. How is it that a diminutive Beagle like you would have for a best friend a massive-sized Rottweiler, I would never understand. I still remember when you were running around inside the playpen and Fluke would come around and poke his head inside the pen, and you'd stand up, front paws up on the pen, and start nibbling Fluke's ears and biting the sides of his mouth. Or when you were both outside of your crates and Fluke would lie down, you'd clamber up over his back and start scratching his back and neck, and when the play got rough, all that Fluke would do was to yelp in pain and you'd stop immediately, but he never snapped at you in anger.
Ari, these are all that I have now---the memories of our time together. I feel I have not been able to get enough of you. I feel our time together had been rather too short. Every year, the 21st of March will come, the date of your passing; and every year, the 5th of May will come, your birthdate. And I would play these memories over and over in my head, and the same thing will happen year after year. And perhaps this will end only.........when my time comes to join you at Rainbow Bridge.