July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Walk helps pet owners mourn loss of furry friends

Most people have lost a pet at some point in their lives, but there isn’t really a way to mourn deceased pets publicly — no funerals, memorial services or obituaries written.

Medina resident and retired teacher Char Arthur is hoping to change that.

Deacon Joe Loutzenhiser, of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, blesses a dog owned by Geofrey Bullock during last year’s Rainbow Bridge Walk at Buckeye Woods Park in Lafayette Township. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

“I lost my first dog, who was a bichon. It was the first pet I had, and it was very hard,” she said. “I felt the grief and I realized that other people go through the same thing.”

It’s the second year Arthur is organizing a Rainbow Bridge Walk, a way for pet owners to mourn their lost furry friends and possibly get some closure.

But this year’s event will be sponsored by the Medina County Auditor’s Office.

The “Rainbow Bridge” refers to a poem written by an unknown author about a mythical place where pets wait for their owners to join them in the hereafter.

“When people are especially close to their pets, the pets pass over the rainbow bridge, that’s where they wait until it’s time for their owners to join them,” Arthur said.

This year’s walk will be 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 6 — rain or shine — at Buckeye Woods Park, 6335 Wedgewood Road, in Lafayette Township.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their other pets, which need to be leashed at all times. A pet blessing will be performed by deacon Joe Loutzenhiser from St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Loutzenhiser also performs the blessing at the annual Medina County Regional Pet Adoptathon, also sponsored by the auditor’s office.

The event will include a short memorial service, a tribute walk and an original song about the rainbow bridge performed by Randi Breese, of Lodi.

Participants will have a chance to walk across a small bridge at the park and light candles for their pets.

Attendees should bring dog or cat food donations for the Medina County Pet Pantry, which provides food for pet owners who are going through financial difficulties.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at www.rainbowbridgewalk.com.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.