Our attachment to Shelties began when we bought an 8-week old puppy for our 1st anniversary. We named her “Lassie,” and she lived to age 13. The very day after her trip to Rainbow Bridge, a family in Georgia surrendered their 2 1/2 year old Shetland Sheepdog to the Georgia Sheltie Rescue. That dog was Bonnie, and within a week, she was ours.

The day we met Bonnie

Bonnie loved learning her tricks and showing them off at every opportunity. She loved her obedience classes and earned her Canine Good Citizen certification. As Skipper, Cabrio, and Lucy joined the household, Bonnie was in charge of teaching them the household routines. Most of all, she taught them she was the boss.

In late 2007, Bonnie was diagnosed with discospondylitis, beginning a slow decline in her ability to use her back legs. At one point, she could longer jump up on the bed. Later, she couldn’t jump through her hoop. Going up and down the three steps from the deck to the backyard became difficult, and then impossible. For the last several months, walking from the carpet onto the hardwood resulted in a fall more often than not, as her weakened back legs would slip from under her.

No matter how many times Bonnie would fall, she would never complain. She would use her front legs to drag herself to the carpet, pull herself up, and swing her hind legs underneath her to regain her stance and try again. If we assisted, she was grateful. If she had to do it on her own, she was OK with that as well. Bonnie found her own way to make it all work.

Bonnie & Skipper at Christmas

A month ago, Bonnie was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma, a form of cancer, in her jaw. Eating, always her favorite activity, became more difficult. There comes a time when we have to say goodbye. Bonnie made her journey to Rainbow Bridge, where she joins Skipper and Lassie.

Just 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. 

…when you fall, you don’t complain, and you get right back up again.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.

Bonnie and Skipper at the Georgia Sheltie Reunion

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

Bonnie learned her tricks well, but she taught us a few as well. Along with the unconditional love for which dogs are noted, she taught, by example, that when you fall, you don’t complain, and you get right back up again.

Cabrio, Bonnie, & Lucy taken on Feb. 22, 2014