It was just like any other day at Rainbow Bridge. The animals were lined up to cross over into eternity, and St. Pedro was checking them all in with his giant Book of Life. St. Pedro was a majestic African lion who had served as bridge gatekeeper for many centuries. His job was to confirm names and ask a few questions before the animals were escorted across the bridge, which looked like an enormous rainbow suspended in the clouds.
Crossing over Rainbow Bridge is a spectacular event. Sounds of heavenly trumpets fill the air, flowers of every color dance in the breeze, and smells of jasmine permeate the sky. Once you reach the other side of the bridge, never-ending pastures of pastel colors lay before you, and birds unlike any you’ve ever seen fill the sky with their multicolored feathers and songs of glee. Cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, monkeys, goats, and every animal that has ever lived and died on Earth are joyfully running and playing games with each other. It is quite a sight to see!
Most of the animals run free in the pastures beyond Rainbow Bridge, but sometimes groups of animals flock together. Usually these are the animals who all shared the same caretaker on Earth. The animals who lived at Jenna and Friends Animal Sanctuary were no exception. Jenna the dog (for whom the sanctuary is named), Lester the Rooster, Rachelle the Kitty, and a handful of guinea pigs usually spent their days and nights together frolicking over the hills and sharing stories of their time on Earth.
Jenna was the designated communicator of the group, and she often provided updates about the animals still living at the sanctuary on Earth. Today, Jenna received news that they were expecting a new arrival. “Wash up, everybody! Shine your fur and polish your noses! Prepare the feast, and get out the trumpets! HERE COMES STELLA!!”
While the gang hurriedly prepared for the big celebration, Jenna ran across the pastures, past the willow trees and jasmine vines, down to the bridge to assist St. Pedro for the grand arrival. “Stella is coming!"
St. Pedro saw Jenna approaching, sounded his grand trumpet made of solid gold, and roared, “Hurry! It’s time! Stella has just arrived!”
Jenna hurriedly stepped all four paws into her robe of royal silk, and stood next to St. Pedro. Stella reluctantly made her way to the base of the bridge with a confused look on her face. Where was she? The last thing she remembered was her caretaker kissing her and telling her goodbye with tears rolling down her face.
Stella looked up in wonder at St. Pedro with his giant book and splendid trumpet. The light from the gold was almost blinding, but Stella stared anyway, as she was completely mesmerized by the glorious site. Just then, Jenna stepped from behind St. Pedro with a look of giddiness on her furry face. Stella recognized her immediately and her eyes opened wide with excitement. “Jenna? Is that really you? Could it be true?”
“Yes. Stella. My beautiful Stella, it is indeed me, Jenna, and you are at Rainbow Bridge. You were called early, as we weren’t expecting you for many years! Welcome home, sweet pig. You are free from sickness now and forever after.”
Just then, St. Pedro stepped a few paces toward Stella, did a quick grunt to direct everyone’s attention back to him, and said, “OK, Stella, let me quickly summarize your life on Earth for our records."
St Pedro opened his book with embroidered gold, and flipped through the pages until he found the “S” section. “Hmm, let’s see. Stella. Yes, here you are. Your chapter is short, but the information I have here is quite telling. Your general description says you were a very loving, gentle pig. You preferred to be alone most of the time. Your caretaker as well as many visitors to the sanctuary loved you beyond words. And you had only recently taken a little scared pig named Ellie under your wing and showed her love. Is all this true, Stella?”
Stella looked up with tears, slowly nodded her head in agreement, and muttered, “And I loved them back. All of them.”
St. Pedro responded, “Stella, many animals come here without ever having known love. You are one of the lucky ones. Jenna, are you ready to escort Stella to her welcome party?”
Jenna ran so fast toward Stella that her front two paws came out of the robe. She clumsily put them back in, and motioned for Stella to follow her. She was so excited, she could barely contain herself.
At first Stella hesitated. She had never walked over anything that didn’t seem to be attached to something. Jenna cocked her head and her ears flopped over to one side. “Come on, Stella. You can do it. I’ve got you!”
And with that, Stella’s grin widened as far as it would go, and her teeth shone bright in the light of the rainbow. With eyes of wonder and feet of spunk, she grabbed hold of Jenna’s paw and ran across the bridge and into a field of lavender.
Together, Jenna and Stella ran and ran, skipping from cloud to cloud, over pastures and fields of daisies and flowers of all colors. Birds guided the way for both of them. And when they reached the welcome party, sounds of a heavenly orchestra filled the air, and tables of fruit stretched as far as you could see.
Stella earned her wings that night. And some say that her wings were so bright and full of love and joy that you could see them sparkling like a star over the sanctuary for several nights.