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How Mom Let 4-Year-Old Know It’s Time for Dog to ‘Cross the Rainbow Bridge’

by News7

A single mom shared the heartbreaking moment she told her 4-year-old son it was time for their beloved senior dog to “cross the Rainbow Bridge.”

Most Americans consider their pets to be part of the family. A 2023 Pew Research Center survey of nearly 3,000 pet owners found that 51 percent view their pets to be as much a part of their family as a human relative.

Shelbie Archibeque’s dog Bella was somehow more than even that. A best friend, cuddle companion and confidant for 14 incredible years together, from the moment they met, a bond was formed.

“I got Bella when she was eight weeks old,” Archibeque told Newsweek. “I had just moved to Washington after graduating high school and didn’t know anyone. I originally went to look at another litter as Bella wasn’t for sale. But when I got there she wiggled out of her owner’s arms and sat in my lap and would cry if they tried to pick her back up.”

Bella’s original owners joked that she had chosen Archibeque and, in a wild twist, gave the puppy to her for free. “They wouldn’t accept my money,” she recalled. “They simply gave her to me and said they couldn’t break that bond.”

It’s a bond that helped Archibeque through the next decade of ups-and-downs. A decade of addiction and recovery, but so many happy times along the way. “She really loved to play ball and go swimming, and take car rides,” Archibeque said.

The happiest of these moments came with the birth of Archibeque’s son who goes by the affectionate nickname Cookie Monster. “He grew up with Bella so they are close,” Archibeque said. “He has autism and doesn’t process emotions like typical brains….he used to refer to Bella as his sister as he is an only child.”

That made what happened last weekend so difficult for everyone involved. In truth, Archibeque knew for a while that Bella’s health was in serious decline. “She was on painkillers the past month, but they seemed to not be working anymore,” she recalled. “I couldn’t bear to see her in any more pain so I went ahead and made the tough call.”

Then came another tough moment. Archibeque would have to break the news to her son. “It was really tough just being a solo parent,” she said. “He doesn’t know his dad so things like this when a partner’s strength really helps, I don’t have.”

Shelbie Archibeque is seen speaking to her young son Nathan about Bella, their senior dog. After several difficult weeks, Archibeque had made the decision to have their beloved dog put to sleep.

She was determined to have the conversation though.

“It was really important for me that he understands that death is a natural part of life,” she said. “I don’t want him to fear death, but I do want him to understand that life is finite and the number of days on earth are limited. What we do with our time here really matters.”

That conversation played out in a video posted to TikTok last week under the username @mamadontbreak in which Archibeque explained to her son that it was time for Bella to “cross the Rainbow Bridge.”

Though her son was upset, she knew this was the way things had to be, rather than let their beloved dog live on in pain. “I wanted him to remember the good times with Bella and not have her passing be a traumatic event,” she said.

Instead, the family spent one last special day together. “We took her to the lake and she got a smile for the first time in over a year,” Archibeque remembered. “She just laid in the water. We took her to the park to throw the ball but she just stared at it then we went to McDonald’s and got her two patties.”

Bella was put to sleep later that day. Though she is gone, she will never be forgotten and Archibeque hopes her story and the story of her son learning the news will encourage other families with pets to make sure their kids are part of the goodbye process.

“Simply telling a child their pet is gone can be traumatic but if you’re able to give them warning and allow them to have their final moments it can be a very strong learning experience about one of the most inevitable parts of life, which is death,” she said.

“Someone left a comment that was a quote that really hit me…’to usher a beloved pet across the rainbow bridge is the final greatest act of love.’ I think that is a very bittersweet but beautiful thing.”

Uncommon KnowledgeNewsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Source : Newsweek

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