Shelter honors beloved pets with dedicated rainbow bridge

ST. TAMMANY — The animal shelter in St. Tammany Parish has built a “rainbow bridge” to commemorate the lives of animals who have passed away. The bridge features paw prints that gradually fade into angel wings, symbolizing the journey of beloved pets to the afterlife. 

“It’s just a place for people to come and remember their animals that have passed on and, you know, just sit out here and just kind of remember them and it’s very nice and peaceful back there.”  said Pennie Brunies, Assistant Director of the Department of Animal Services.

The open intake shelter welcomes all animals and is the municipal shelter in the parish. The shelter frequently partners with Scott’s Wish, a non-profit that played a major role in their most recent project. 

“Scott’s Wish is a 501c3 that was started in honor of Scott Lala, a young man who passed away of a rare form of leukemia. His mom started Scott’s Wish with Denise Kaminski. As a part of Scott’s Wish, they developed Mardi Paws which has been going for 30 years.” said Jennifer Thornhill, a board member of Scott’s Wish.

On the Rainbow Bridge, people can place their purchased tags on the bridge wall, each one bearing the name of a cherished pet. The response from the community has been overwhelming, with people purchasing tags even before the bridge was built. 

“We have a lot of tags and we have at least 100 still waiting to go on. It’s been comforting for people to be able to do that and have somewhere to remember their pets.” Brunies said.

The rainbow bridge serves as a touching tribute to the deep bond between humans and animals. It provides a tangible space for people to honor the memory of their furry friends and find comfort during their time of grief.

“I think it means a lot to people. I’ve actually run into a couple of people on the bridge. The lady that was just here a few minutes ago, she was a little emotional about it. She loved that we had something like this.” Thornhill said.

To purchase a tag or make a donation, go to www.scottswish.org.

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