Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day
annually on August 28th (since 2015)
Deborah Barnes in 2015
Rainbow Ridge Remembrance Day honors the memories of pets who have passed on. Well over half of Americans have pets, and many of these animals spend 15 or more years with their owners, becoming like a part of the family. Still, their lifespans aren't as long as those of their owners, and owners often have to say goodbye and let go after the death of a pet. This can be very painful, and that is why Rainbow Remembrance Day was created.
Deborah Barnes, a blogger and author, chose August 28 for the date of the holiday because one of her cats, Mr. Jazz, passed away on that date in 2013. After his death, she shared her experiences and feelings of the loss on her blog, Zee & Zoey's Cat Chronicles. After receiving feedback, it became apparent to her that she wasn't alone in her feelings of pain and grief after the loss of a pet. This convinced her to write a book, and what came was Purr Prints of the Heart: A Cat's Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond, a story of her loss through the eyes of Mr. Jazz himself.
Many told her that the book helped them process the grief they had felt after losing a pet. She thought an outlet was needed for people to talk after losing their pets, so she created Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day and an event page to go with it, so people could remember their pets in a way they most felt comfortable, whether that be by writing a poem, posting a picture, or by sharing a story or memory. It was her hope that the day would continue to be celebrated each year. She didn't want the day to be a day of sadness but instead wanted it to be a celebration. The name of the holiday comes from a poem called "Rainbow Bridge," which is about a place where pets go after death where they are young and healthy and wait to reunite with their owners.
How to Observe Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day
Here are some ideas on how to make a day of what could be sadness into a day of remembrance and celebration:
- Read "Rainbow Ridge."
- Donate to an animal organization in memory of your pet.
- Purchase a headstone for your pet.
- Hold a memorial service.
- Plant a tree in honor of your pet.
- Make a Christmas ornament in honor of your pet.
- Read Purr Prints of the Heart: A Cat's Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond.
- Make an online pet memorial.
- Visit the burial spot of a pet you have lost.
- Send love to friends who have lost pets.
- Visit a pet cemetery.
- Watch Gates of Heaven.