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Pop Culture

'Rainbow Bridge' poem has long comforted grieving pet parents. Finally, the author is revealed.

For years, the creator of this beloved piece has been shrouded in mystery.

rainbow bridge author, losing a pet, pet grief
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For years, 'Rainbow Bridge" seemed to simply exist without an author.

For grieving pet parents, few words come closer to providing some sort of comfort than those of “Rainbow Bridge.” After all, the poignant and wildly popular poem offers a slice of hope, promising a reunion with our furry loved ones in a magical paradise of the afterlife. Even for those who aren’t so theologically inclined, the imagery can be soothing after irrevocable loss.

For so long, “Rainbow Bridge” has seemingly existed as its own entity, being handed out by vets or shared in condolence cards and online sans a credited author. However, thanks to the tireless sleuthing of historian and author Paul Koudounaris, that mystery has been solved.


According to an interview with National Geographic, Koudounaris had first become enticed to find the unknown creator of “Rainbow Bridge” after encountering it several times while working on his book about pet cemeteries (fitting). Wanting the person who wrote what he described as “a text with monumental importance to the world of animal mourning” to receive some well-deserved acclaim, Koudounaris began his search.

He discovered that “Rainbow Bridge” first came to notoriety through the long syndicated advice column “Dear Abby,” where in 1994 the poem was printed along with a warning for readers to “grab their hankies.” However, there was still no writer’s name attached. Koudounaris would have to compile two dozen names with even the slightest connection to the poem, and one by one cross them off the list until he landed on just one—a woman in Scotland by the name of Edna Clyne-Rekhy.

“What initially would have seemed like the most unlikely candidate in the end turned out to be the most intriguing candidate and, of course, the actual author,” Koudounaris told National Geographic, noting that Clyne-Rekhy was the only non-American on the list.

Koudounaris reached out to Clyne-Rekhy, who was not only shocked that he had found her but completely unaware that her poem had touched millions of hearts.

As Koudounaris details in his own story, Clyne-Rekhy was only 19 years old when she first put her words to paper. The year was 1959, and she had just lost her beloved Labrador named Major. Her only ambition (or more accurately—compulsion) at that time was to memorialize him and surrender to the “warm feeling” that seemed to be inspiring her to write.

Even when it was but a messy draft full of crossed-out words and scribbles, people knew the poem was special. At least, the few people who were shown it knew. Despite her husband’s encouragement, Clyne-Rekhy never sought to publish but would share a copy from time to time, always without her name written on it.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

The Rainbow Bridge

By Edna Clyne-Rekhy

"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 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 shineing (sic), 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."

By the early 90s, “Rainbow Bridge” made its way to a few animal lovers’ groups in America and then to the 1 million readers of “Dear Abby.” Sixty-four years after its creation, now we see its words engraved on countless pet gravestones and recited during mourning groups. Clyne-Rekhy had no idea.

And though she wasn’t thrilled that several people attempted to take credit for something she poured her heart into—including one who, according to Koudounaris, insisted it was originally performed by a Native American shaman—more than anything, she was touched to learn that it made such a positive impact on others.

As for any further advice for grieving a lost pet? Clyne-Rekhy, now 82, says get another one. While she agrees that no two animals are alike, she told Koudounaris, “There’s no reason to deny yourself…your previous pet certainly wouldn’t have wanted you to live without it.”

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Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.

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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Family

This woman wants to know where all the 'middle class moms' have gone this Christmas

What's with all the "immaculate houses" and "$500 Target hauls", she wonders.

@bridineen/TikTok

Bri argues that the extravagant Christmas decor she sees online doesn't reflect her reality.

Generally speaking, folks are feeling…shall we say…financially cautious this year when it comes to holiday spending. According to USA Today, a combination of inflation, dwindling savings and rising debt has caused many Americans to focus only on the essentials when it comes to their Christmas celebrations.

However, social media tells a different story. A five second scroll through TikTok will make you think that every home in the world (besides yours, of course) is prepped for the holiday issue of Architectural Digest. Spotless, all white furnishings, giant decorations that would put department stores to shame, luxury brand snacks left out for delivery drivers…you get the picture.

And sure, while watching aspirational videos online might provide a fun temporary escape, many are feeling like the novelty has worn off.

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A couple shares why they decided to leave the United States.

Although it is difficult to tell if there is a trend of Americans moving out of the country, rough estimates show that around 8 million currently live in other countries—double the 4.1 million living abroad in 1999.

The most popular countries for Americans to move to are Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom, in that order.

A big reason why some are leaving the U.S. is that an increasing number of employers allow people to work abroad. Others are choosing to leave because of cost of living increases and “golden visa” programs. Golden visas offer the chance to get a foreign residency permit by purchasing a house or making a significant investment or donation.

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Courtesy of the Carbondale Public Library

Library book checked out in 1904 is finally returned

Just about everyone has had the misfortune of forgetting to return a library book. Some turn it in and pay whatever fine that's been assessed while others never find the book and decide to pay for the replacement. But there's a small group of people that don't return the missing book or pay the library to replace it. It's simply checked out forever for reasons no one knows.

Horace Short fell into the latter category. Back in 1904, Mr. Short checked out "The Cruise of the Esmeralda" by Harry Collingwood, a novel about adventures at sea, from the Carbondale Public Library. For some reason, Short never returned the book and librarians assumed it had been discarded according to Jessica Pratt, Adult Services Librarian at Carbondale Public Library.

Much to the delight and surprise of the librarians, the book was recently returned, 120 years late. Hawley Public Library found the antique book at their book sale and informed the Carbondale library of their discovery.

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Joy

People are sharing good things happening in America that are flying under the radar

Don't let negative headlines overshadow the positive things happening all around us.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

We can all use some good news, and thankfully, there's plenty of it.

When you watch or read the news, it can be easy to get down on the world. It's not your imagination that the news has a negativity bias. One study showed that headlines denoting anger, fear, disgust and sadness steadily increased from 2000 to 2019, making it even harder to stay informed without feeling a sense of despair or hopelessness.

But that doesn't meant that everything is bad. The reality is that there are wonderful things happening all around us that fly under the radar. Just because good news isn't flooding our social media feeds doesn't mean it isn't there—we just might have to dig through the muck and mire of the media to find it.

Or, as one person discovered, ask people to share in a Reddit thread.

When Reddit user u/NorthPengyyy asked the Ask Reddit board, "What is a good thing happening in the US right now that people aren’t aware of?" people delivered.

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Why North American can't build nice apartments.

One of the most beautiful features of old European neighborhoods are the rows of quaint, walk-up apartments that are the backbone of walkable neighborhoods. They help create a community where people can exit their front door and walk to a local café or market without getting in their car.

Unfortunately, these neighborhoods are hard to find in the United States, where these types of apartment buildings are exceedingly rare. Why is that? In the video below, About Here’s founder, Uytae Lee, explains why regulations in North America have made these quaint walk-up apartments, known by architects as point access blocks, nearly impossible to build.

Uytae Lee is an urban planner and videographer passionate about sharing stories about our cities.

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