Our beautiful little boy Rudy passed to the spirit world today, January 10th, at 12:30 after 16 love-filled years of daily smiles, laughter, and a dog’s unique unconditional love.  Eighteen months ago, a doctor pronounced that Rudy would not live another two months.  Our stubborn dachshund went on to celebrate two more birthdays.

The Day Rudy Chose Us

The last two months were especially challenging for Rudy as he battled cancer, but he was brave and strong and we cherished every moment with him.  The hardest part was knowing when to call our beloved friend, Dr. Beth, to make that final house call.  Beth and others advised us of the signs to watch for, but ultimately, we were told, “You just know.”  And indeed, we did.

 We’d been talking with Dr. Beth daily to keep her apprised of Rudy’s condition.  When we made the call to ask her to come, naturally we questioned ourselves. 

As Ty sat holding Rudy for what we knew would be one of the last times, I silently asked if we were doing the right thing.  Five minutes later, Ty said, “Suzanne!  Look at that!”  There, on the floor, ten feet straight in front of my boys was a beautiful rainbow—the first we have ever seen inside the house.

Just a little over a year ago, we helped our little girl Gretchen cross the Rainbow Bridge on Christmas day.  What I thought would be an agonizing moment turned out to be just the opposite.  Ty and I sat by Gretchen’s side on the floor as Dr. Beth assisted her.  Quite unexpectedly, I felt Gretchen’s spirit burst from her body at the very moment her heart stopped beating.  “I’m free!” her soul shouted at me as it ran three rings around us before whooshing off toward the ceiling.  The experience was so real and so joyous that I gasped and burst into tears of happiness.

Awaiting Beth’s arrival this morning, I wondered if I would have a similar experience with Rudy.  I know that each soul is unique, and I vowed not to have any expectations.  Still, I prayed for some sign to show what I know in my heart:  that death is merely a transition to a new chapter for us and for our pets.

Our Two Little “Docks-Hounds”

In the aftermath of Gretchen’s passing, when the grief came in waves, I learned several valuable life lessons.  One I took to heart today is that we are not here to feel BETTER … We are here to FEEL better.  Holding this in awareness as the time to bid Rudy farewell drew nearer, I worked to find the balance between observing the drama with detached compassion from the soul’s perspective and allowing myself to feel the sadness that accompanies the death of one we love so deeply.

Man’s Best Friend

Succumbing to the latter as I joined Ty and Beth around Rudy’s bed, thoughts of never holding our boy again flooded my mind.  The sight of my strong husband sobbing transported me to my step-daughter’s funeral.  “I can’t stand this,” I thought, and yet, deep in the recesses of Awareness, I knew this was one of those deeply-felt moments the soul comes here to experience.  In this earthly realm, we cannot have the highs without the lows.

This low was agonizing.  Ty and I each rested a hand on Rudy’s bony body as Beth assisted him.  Clearly, he was resting peacefully from the sedative she had just given him, but we were not.  I saw her put a tourniquet on his back leg, but I couldn’t watch the rest. 

Suddenly, a surge of energy flowed into me from my left side, and I grunted.  Ty thought it was from my grief and squeezed my hand, but it was a visceral reaction to the power of this unexpected wave that lifted me instantly out of body-awareness.  I knew that some powerful being had come to escort Rudy across the Rainbow Bridge.

One moment later, a second wave rose up from Rudy’s still body and entered me.  Just as in the moment of Gretchen’s passing, I felt a burst of Joy that was so completely opposite to what I had been experiencing seconds earlier that I began sobbing with happiness.  Here in lucid Awareness was Rudy, jumping and barking like a three-year old pup!  Spirit allowed us this Shared Death Experience as together we enjoyed the ecstatic RELEASE of being freed from his ailing body.

Tears flowed down my face as I babbled excitedly, describing the sensations to Ty and Beth.  Where moments before I had felt despair, now I laughed and cried with joy as I witnessed Rudy playfully jumping on Gretchen as they reunited in Spirit.

Ready to explore his new reality, our two pups slowly receded. I came back into body-consciousness with total awareness that our babies were far from dead and gone.  In light of the instantaneous and complete dissolution of all despair, it was impossible to think I had imagined this sacred experience.

Gretchen’s passing taught me that even when we know we are souls here and now, we’re not immune to human feelings.   I know there will be moments of heaviness in the coming days as we adjust to Rudy’s physical absence.  But, like all emotions, those experiences will pass, to be replaced with the peace that lies always within. 

I’ll allow myself to feel the grief and then remind myself, “That’s love.”  Gratitude will be the healing balm to help me find balance.  And in those moments, I’ll check in on Rudy and see how many squirrels he’s chased so far.


It is my Joy to honor Rudy and Spirit by sharing this experience with you.  I know that many of you will reach out to us with loving words.  We thank you in advance with our apologies for not being able to acknowledge you individually.  Please know that your love means the world to Ty and to me and we send you ours in return.

Rudy was a very special dog.  Did you know that he was famous?  Yes, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean with us on our sailboat and traveled to many famous sites in Europe.  You can google “Rudy the Sailing Wiener Dog” and learn more about him. Please enjoy the short children’s book about Rudy I wrote and watch a fun video of Rudy on his boat at this link:   http://libertysails.com/rudy-the-wiener-dog/