Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge begins with a tragic accident in which a careless driver backs up 25 yards without looking, pinning Dr. Newman and his beloved Labrador, Gracie, between his family station wagon and the driver's bumper. Dr. Newman's life story is narrated in retrospect, emphasizing the importance of the dogs that have shared his life. It is furthermore an appeal to the hearts and minds of pet owners that the legal status of pets must be elevated above the level of mere property, the status they are now granted in our legal system. Ninety percent of pet owners now consider their pets to be family members. The owner of a pet that is killed through an accidental act of negligence or a deliberate act of malice can only receive the cash value for their pet. Dr. Newman presents his view that the laws of the land are out of touch with the public's sentiment.
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By Tami Brady
Oct 7, 2011
Connie Harris- TCM Reviews Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge is the memoir of Dr. Kenneth Newman, a practicing veterinarian since 1979. This is his story detailing the roles of each dog in his life and the impact that each has had during each stage of his life. Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge is a well-written profoundly moving memoir that will tug at its readers heartstrings. In April 2008 Kenneth Newman lost his beloved Gracie (a golden labrador retriever) when a woman backed her vehicle up 25 yards, without even looking to see if anything was behind her, pinning both Dr. Newman and Gracie between her car and his (as he was assisting Gracie into the back of the car). Dr. Newman’s leg was broken in several places and Gracie’s body had protected him from even further injury. Gracie took the brunt of the collision and even though she was rushed to the veterinary hospital in Tifton, Ga., her injuries were fatal and Gracie did not survive. Following the accident Dr. Newman filed a lawsuit... More > against the driver of the car and was told by an insurance company attorney that he would only get $800.00, the value of the dog. As a result Dr. Newman wrote Gracie’s Law (Gracie’s Law below) which elevates a pet to more than just a piece of property which is how the law currently stands. Ninety percent of pet parents consider their pets to be a member of the family. It is past time to elevate our pet kids out of the legal status of “property” to the human souls they are. It is my hope and prayer that Gracie’s Law will be passed in Florida which will begin to allow this to happen. Please join me in supporting Gracie’s Law. GRACIE’S LAW To recognize the emotional bond that exists between pets and people, the human animal bond, this law entitles the owner of a pet that is deliberately killed through an act of malice or accidentally killed through an act of negligence to the sum of $12,500 for loss of companionship and pain and suffering, plus all legal fees required to prove the negligence or malice. An equal amount, $12,500, will be donated to a pet rescue organization of the bereaved pet owner’s choice in honor of their lost pet. This law does not supersede the laws already in existence which entitles the pet owner to the value of their pet as property. In the case of an act of malice, all laws relating to criminal prosecution remain in effect. A veterinarian who prescribes an appropriate medical or surgical plan by community standard that is declined by the owner of the pet would not be held accountable under this law, should the medical record state that the owner of the pet declined the appropriate treatment. This review was written In Loving Memory of Gracie who now resides at the Rainbow Bridge.< Less
Most of us who are "animal lovers" are familiar with the beautifully comforting essay, "The Rainbow Bridge" which speaks of where our beloved four legged companions go, to one day be reunited with us, their family. In his poignantly candid book, "Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge", Dr. Kenneth Newman, DVM, turns an horrific event, the untimely and tragic loss of his beloved, "Gracie", into a tribute to the role that dogs have played throughout his life., and vehicle for his cause celebre. From his earliest memories and his bond with his grandfather's dog, Jim, Dr. Newman details each and every dog that has played a role in his life. He illustrates how dogs and companion animals have the power to comfort, to banish loneliness, to boost self-confidence, to soothe the very souls of those human beings who are fortunate and wise enough to listen. Even the cover of the book has special significance. It is a painting of "Rebel" (one of the dogs... More > featured in his book) which Dr. Newman presented to his fiance', (now wife of many years) as she embarked upon the fight of her life...battling cancer. This is not a book for the faint of heart, as Dr. Newman does enumerate some of the many cases that he has seen during his practice, a few of which demonstrate how very flawed and how very cruel human beings can be when it comes to their treatment of animals, even those animals whom they profess to "love." . . Do not be deluded into thinking that this book is just a piece of sentimental "fluff", when in reality, it is the antithesis . It takes a very brave man to publicly admit his own triumphs and failures, but it takes an even braver man to examine his own profession with objectivity and honesty. It is the stated goal of Dr. Ken Newman, DVM, to elevate the legal status of companion animals, a position and a cause not popular among his colleagues and the AVMA. , .As Dr. Newman states, "The American Veterinary Medical Association remains opposed to raising the legal status of our pets. I find this a hypocritical stance from a profession that has benefited through the promotion of the human-animal bond. It is not logical to state that pets are family members to advance the profession and encourage more expensive medical treatments, while asserting that veterinarians should not be subject to litigation when pets are killed as a result of negligence." As one whose life has been greatly enriched by every companion animal that I have welcomed into my home and my heart, I applaud Dr. Newman for having the courage to go against his entire profession do do what is right, not what will win him a popularity contest among his own colleagues. We need more people like Dr. Newman in this world. Dr. Newman begins each chapter with a quotation about dogs. Chapter 3 begins with this quote by James Thurber, "In his grief over the loss of a dog, a little boy stands for the first time on tiptoe, peering into the rueful morrow of manhood. After this most inconsolable of sorrows, there is nothing that life can do to him that he will not be able somehow to handle." Truer words were never spoken. After reading this beautiful book, even the most vehemently "doubting Thomases" would be hard-pressed to come up with an argument that animals do not feel pain, do not experience emotions, are not sensient beings. In truth, four legged animals are far superior in many ways to their "human " counterparts, and Dr. Newman's book only serves to illustrate that point. Even when she was mortally injured, Gracie's last act before her own tragic demise, was to lay her head on Dr. Newman's shoulder, even as he lay severely injured, on the ground. If that does not speak to the depth of love and loyalty that a dog has for his/her family, I don't know what does. In his dedication, Dr. Newman tells his son, Dylan, "when faced with tragedy, you can feel sorry for yourself or you can turn it into something good, meaningful, relevant, and advocate for change. Always fight the good fight and I will be forever proud." Dr. Newman has just embarked upon his" good fight," and I wish him Godspeed, as his cause is just and his motive, pure.< Less
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