Went to Rainbow Bridge 5 July 2010

Della, the ‘honorary Golden Retriever’, as Andy called her. Sadly Della had to leave for Rainbow Bridge a week ago today. She came to live with us fourteen months ago after I had seen her looking for her forever home on the ‘Dogpages’ website. She was allegedly 20 years old. Her story is sadly not unusual. She had been left on the streets by her family in the coldest part of winter around Christmas time. Two weeks after being taken to Grinshill Rescue near Shrewsbury, the daughter of her family phoned to see if she had been found. When she was told that she had, she told them to put her to sleep as they thought she would already be dead in that awful weather; she was old and very ill so she wasn’t wanted. For six months, Della lived with a fosterer, not expected to survive, but she did and when she appeared on dogpages it was to look for a home for her retirement.

I hadn’t been looking for another dog. We had Zena and Merlin and thought two the ideal number, but Della melted my heart and after two weeks, she was still there, looking for her new family. We visited her one day in May and couldn’t resist. I contacted Pauline and explained that Della wasn’t an IRR dog, but that we really wanted to adopt her and would the rescue mind. Of course, IRR people are dog people above all else, so rescuing a dog from elsewhere was not a problem, furthermore, as I couldn’t drive and comfort a stressed Della (she hated travelling) at the same time, Andy offered to help me by meeting me at the foster home in Shrewsbury and driving me and Della back home. Bless him, it was cup final day and he wanted to watch the match, but made sure Della and I were home and settled safely before going home to see the football match (IRR people are so very kind).

Della was a sweetheart and loved to follow Zena around or lean on Merlin for support as her back legs weren’t too good and gave out under her if she stood still too long. Both goldies were great with her and Merlin isn’t keen on other dogs, but just got up and moved out of her way when she tottered too closely to him and stood on his paw or tail. He seemed to understand that she was an old lady in need of understanding. Della was a sandwich short of a picnic due to her age, very warty and had suffered from a vestibular attack at some time in her past as she had all the trademarks of such. She celebrated her fist ‘gotcha’ day with us and we were confident that she would be with us for many months to come. Sadly, she deteriorated quickly when Zena went to Rainbow Bridge and within a few days she was not interested in eating, slept for very long periods, couldn’t get out of her bed or into the garden unaided and fell over when she tried to stand or toilet. The vet said that she was beginning to suffer from kidney failure too, so we had to make that awful decision for the second time in ten days and have her put to sleep before she became totally immobile or suffered pain from her increasing illness.

Della, you were a fighter to the end. You defied those who wanted you gone and managed another two years after your heartless family got rid of you. I hope you were happy and comfortable with us for those last fourteen months. We certainly all loved you.

Good night, god bless and run free with Zena and Ben at the bridge until we all meet up again.

Thank you to all those who ‘adopted’ Della as a goldie in spite of her collie looks and for all the messages of sympathy in these very sad times and above all to Pauline and Andy for their never failing support, advice and assistance.

Lorna, Rachel and Merlin


I am writing this from heaven, where I dwell with God above,

Where there’s no more tears or sadness, there is just eternal love,

The day I had to leave you, when my life on earth was through,

God picked me up and hugged me, and said I welcome you.

Please do not be unhappy, just because I’m out of sight,

Remember that I’m with you, every morning, noon and night.

But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is over,

I am closer to you now, than I ever was before.

When you are walking down the street, and you’ve got me on your mind,

I’m walking in your footsteps, only half a step behind.

And when you feel that gentle breeze, or the wind upon your face,

That’s me just giving you a great big hug, or just a soft embrace.


Back to the Rainbow

2009 Irish Retriever Rescue UK