Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When a bird dies that has been especially close to someone here, that bird goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and trees for all of our special friends so they can flock and forage together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the birds who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The birds 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 fly and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers and his wings start to flap. Suddenly he begins to fly from the group, soaring over trees and green grass, his wings carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The soft feathers nestle next to your neck; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your bird, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...
Original author unknown, avian adaptations by Beth Anne Quinlan.