Last week my co-worker and great friend Rhonda Irby and I were discussing our dogs — Charlie and Sampson — and how they are getting older.

We love our dogs so much and consider them family. Seeing there’s some age on them, we talked about how it’s getting closer to losing them or getting to the point you have to help them along and how do you make that decision?

I told her it wasn’t easy, but sometimes it’s just putting your pet before yourself. I have had to help two dogs cross over in my lifetime, the worst being my 17-year-old baby Kramer — I just didn’t want to let him go and probably held on to him a lot longer than I should have.

Rhonda’s Charlie was very clingy last week, so she brought him up to The Herald office before taking him to enjoy a day with other dogs at the kennel. The office enjoyed getting some Charlie love and we all watched him run around like a puppy.

Even though I knew he was older, it came as quite a shock to get a text message from Rhonda Thursday night letting me know Charlie had passed away after having a seizure he did not recover from.

I texted her back, then decided to call her — we cried together. Friday morning I gave her a hug from one animal lover to another. We are both glad she didn’t have to make “that decision” and he had a great life and really wasn’t sick or had to suffer. That’s what you wish for someone you love.

I always take comfort in something that is shared on my dog-loving Facebook pages when someone posts they have lost their pet, and that’s the story of the Rainbow Bridge which I found at rainbowbridge.com. There is also an abundance of information there to help with the loss of a beloved pet.

Rainbow BridgeJust this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

— Author unknown

I like to think Charlie is running around with my Kramer now, happy and just waiting for us.

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.