Call me a hard-hearted old git, but one side effect of losing a pet to old age is the number of well-meaning yet nonsensical messages of commiseration we have received from complete strangers on the electric Facebook.
Many of these refer to poor, dead Snowy going to "The Rainbow Bridge", a mythical place that exists in the minds of soft-minded people looking for a painless euthemism for Death's Icy Claw when their beloved pet goes paws-up. To us hard-hearted old gits, the Rainbow Bridge would be the one over the Basingstoke Canal, the waters of which being frozen solid, meaning the dog-inna-bag just sat there looking awkward until he was fetched a nasty peck by a passing goose.*
For those of you with a high tolerance to saccharin, here's the Rainbow Bridge nonsense in full, which I cut-and-paste from a website presented in Comic Sans, the Font of Champions:
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that 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 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 animals 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 intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs 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 happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Your sick bag is in the pocket of the seat in front of you.
Then we think back to poor, dead Snowy and realise that he'd probably tread his own poo all over the Rainbow Bridge, start a fight with all the other dogs, steal their food, breathe all over them with his Death Breath until the whole thing is swimming in sick, and they have to burn the Rainbow Bridge down and start again. A victory for the powers of Dogston.
And why - we ask - is it called the Rainbow Bridge when dogs are colour blind anyway? For accuracy's sake, it should be called the Shades of Grey Bridge, opening up all kinds of rolling vistas of kinky dog sex horror.
Besides that, we weren't even poor, dead Snowy's first owners. Who is he going to wait for? Us, or the elderly people who had him before, and are clearly going to get there first. Are we going to have to resort to fisticuffs? So many questions.
Down with this sort of thing.
* This didn't actually happen. No dogs were flung off bridges, even if it was what he would have wanted.