The Story Behind The “Rainbow Bridge”

“There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors. 
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, 
hills and valleys with lush green grass. 
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. 
There is always food and water and warm spring weather. 
The old and frail animals are young again. 
Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again. 
There is only one thing missing, 
they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth. 
So each day they run and play until the day comes 
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up! 
The nose twitches! The ears are up! 
The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group! 
You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet, 
you take him in your arms and hug him. 
He licks and kisses your face again and again – 
and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting 
pet. 
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.”

Author Unknown

You may have heard pet-owners referencing their pets passing as “crossing the Rainbow Bridge.” It is a phrases that has been used for a long time and by many people.

Few people, though, know the true story behind the Rainbow Bridge…

What Is It Based On?

The term “Rainbow Bridge” was actually coined from different works of poetry written in the 1980-1990s. The main story refers to an other-worldly place that pets enter when they pass on. It is typically pictured as a meadow scene, and it is there that they wait to be reunited with their owners. The bridge itself refers to the path that the animals and owners take together to get to heaven.

The whole concept was actually based on a book by Margaret Marshall Saunders called “Beautiful Joe's Paradise.” In this version of the story, the land is not only where they wait to meet their owners, but also where they connect with other animals and learn to grow. These pets, however, carry on to heaven in a balloon – not by bridge.

The Poems

One of the poems that helped to make the phrase “Rainbow Bridge” more common was a “prose poem” by an unknown author.

The other poem is a six-stanza that was created by a couple who wanted to help friends who had lost pets. They found the story was a way to ease their pain, even if only a little.

The phrase is used around the world because of famous poems like these.

Other Factors

There are many other stories and factors that have influenced this phrase over time, even before the first known story. Some believe that this depiction of a “Rainbow Bridge” may be based off of Norse mythology. They have a similar story about the “Bifrost Bridge” which is a rainbow colored bridge that connects two worlds, Asgard and Midgard.

It is hard to know for certain if there are any other factors that were involved with the creation of the phrase “Rainbow Bridge,” but it is something that gives us hope and keeps us at peace when one of our beloved pets passes on.