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Editor Tony Ortzen


Part of  “Two Worlds Are One                
A monthly feature By Psychic News Editor Tony Ortzen       

Author’s dogged search pays off


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ONE of Spiritualism’s major tenets is that we survive death and can communicate with loved ones still on Earth. Unlike some other religions, we also believe that the same applies to animals.

THIS wonderful illustration shows how much-loved animal companions are restored to full health in the Higher Realms, where they await their human friends.
     THIS wonderful illustration shows how much-loved animal
companions are restored to full health in the Higher Realms,
where they await their human friends. (Click to enlarge)

The reason is very simple: the spark of spirit within all living beings persists after passing on. Nothing can extinguish it.

However, it seems logical that some life forms, such as maggots and flies, return to a group soul.

Firstly, they are bereft of individuality. Secondly, there is no decay on the Other Side, so their services are not needed.

Though I dislike the term pets, animals such as dogs and cats have personality and individual characteristics. Because of enduring links of love, after passing on they also want to return to their human friends.

Throughout the years, millions of people have been comforted by a beautiful poem called Rainbow Bridge. Let’s remind ourselves how it reads:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies
    that has been especially close to someone here, your 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 have been ill and old are restored to health and strength. Those who were hurt are made better and strong again, like we remember them before they go to heaven.

They 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 shining, his body shakes.

Suddenly he begins to run from the herd, rushing over the grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cuddle in a happy hug never to be apart again.


You and your pet are in tears. Your hands again cuddle his head and you look again into his trusting eyes, so long gone from life, but never absent from your heart, and then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.

Don’t know about you, but the poem all but makes me weep whenever I read it. However, a mystery has persisted for years: who wrote it?

Edna wrote the poem 60 years ago in honour of her dog Major, a Labrador Retriever    

Now we know thanks to the dogged persistence of Paul Koudounaris, an art historian, author and cat owner in Tucson, Arizona.

Mr Koudounaris spent the past decade working on a book about pet cemeteries and frequently encountered references to the Rainbow Bridge.

To cut a long story short, starting in 1995, Mr Koudounaris found records of fifteen separate claims filed under the title Rainbow Bridge with the United States Copyright Office.

Mr Koudounaris compiled a list of around 25 names he found with any connection to the poem. He investigated each one and crossed them off as possible authors until he was left with someone called Edna Clyne-Rekhy.

And guess what? Edna is an 82-year-old Scottish artist, who wrote the poem 60 years ago in honour of her dog Major, a Labrador Retriever. The full story appeared in the US National Geographic magazine.

“What initially would have seemed like the most unlikely candidate turned out to be the most intriguing candidate and, of course, the actual author,” said Mr Koudounaris.

When he contacted Edna earlier this year and asked if she was the author of Rainbow Bridge, her initial response was “How on Earth did you find me?”

Aged nineteen, Major passed on in Edna’s arms in 1959. Distraught with grief, her mother suggested she should write down her feelings.

      boxer dog looks adoringly at owner

Sitting in the family’s lounge at their home near Inverness, Edna wrote a first line on a white sheet of paper – “Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.” From there, the words poured out of her, filling the front and back.

“It just came through my head,” Edna added. “It was like I was talking to my dog. I was talking to Major. I just felt all of this and had to write it.”

Edna still has the original hand-written draft of the poem. When she showed it to Mr Koudounaris, he immediately knew it was real.

Though she never published the poem herself, Edna eventually showed it to a handful of friends.

“They were all crying,” she said. They asked for copies to take home, so Edna hand-typed duplicates for them, but did not include her name.

How wonderful it must be to know that one’s words have brought hope, reassurance and certainty to countless people and helped to heal broken hearts.


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