A place to remember a beloved family pet

By Lindsey Cozad

The Tonaquint Nature Center Rainbow Bridge was the site of a heartwarming tribute created to honor pets that have passed on. A ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiling to mark the bridge’s opening took place November 17 and was met with a great response from the public. 

Inspired by the famous rainbow bridge poem, St. George resident Amy Mugavero proposed the idea to the City in early 2023, and the creation of the project began in the summer. Mugavero knows what it feels like to endure that grief, as she has lost several dachshunds over the years. She describes the feeling as “your heart being ripped out of your chest.”

“My hope is that residents and visitors alike will be inclined to leave a memento from a pet who has passed on,” Mugavero said. “I truly believe that all pets go to heaven and as we cross over our own rainbow bridge, they will come racing to meet us once again.”

Written by Edna Clyne-Rekhy in 1959 when she lost her golden retriever, the Rainbow Bridge poem has become the most widespread gesture of comfort for when a pet dies. It focuses on the future and hope of seeing your pet again while mourning the loss of their physical presence.

“The rainbow bridge is a great addition to the community because it gives those who have lost their beloved pets a place to remember and honor them,” said Sara Roundy, Recreation Supervisor at the City of St. George. “There is not another place like this in the St. George area.”

The bridge, already in existence, is located east of the duck pond at the Nature Center inside Tonaquint Park. It has been cleaned, repaired and painted.

“The bridge is just another way to be aware of those around us and show kindness,” Roundy said. “If people or families have not lost a pet, they are still welcome to come to the bridge, interact with others there and walk across it.”

Members of the community are encouraged to bring a pet collar that can be attached to the bridge in honor of their deceased pet.

“I have embroidered the names of my dogs on collars and plan on leaving them at the ribbon cutting,” Mugavero said.