When a pet dies, many owners talk about the animal “crossing the rainbow bridge.” The Washington Post calls the rainbow bridge “a mythical overpass said to connect heaven and Earth — and, more to the point, a spot where grieving pet owners reunite for good with their departed furry friends.”
However, Lake Lure Flowering Bridge in North Carolina has created a version of the rainbow bridge where visitors can come to grieve their lost pet and honor their memory. The Rainbow Bridge is part of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge gardens and stands out as a touching and colorful memorial to families’ pets.
This bright, happy, colorful place brings this mythical place into the real world. During a visit, grieving pet owners can bring mementos of their beloved pet and leave them at the bridge. The entire bridge is surrounded by collars and tags, flower headbands and much more. Both bridge railings are almost full of tributes to lost pets.
People drive hours to celebrate and remember their pets’ lives, including two people from Chicago who stopped by earlier this year with touching tributes.
In August, the park announced the Rainbow Bridge would undergo an expansion project to help accommodate the site’s growing popularity.
Artist Amy Wald, who designed the garden’s rainbow bridge, has always been an animal lover and has had many pets over the years. In an interview with World Watcher shown below, she said she intended to create a space where pet owners can think of their pets with happiness and leave some of their sadness behind.
“When you’ve lost your pet, you grieve, and you put pictures on the wall and you get sad,” she said in the video interview. “Then you put their tags or their ashes on a shelf, and it’s kind of sad…you have happy memories, but you just don’t want to keep looking at that. So, we said, ‘Let’s build a rainbow bridge.'”
At the start of the bridge, people will notice a small set of paw prints that fade away. Wald said that represents the pet as it “goes on to whatever magical place is, wherever that safe and happy place is.”
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