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Jimmy is the author of the Rainbow Bridge letters. Although they knew he was a clever boy, Todd and Stephanie Belcher had no idea he had such a way with words and skill with illustrations until they started receiving the detailed, descriptive letters from him in 2016.
Jimmy was Todd and Stephanie's first dog as a married couple. The adorable fluffy white poodle-terrier mix had been abandoned by his previous people, and Todd and Stephanie were determined to give Jimmy the life and love he deserved. Jimmy loved his walking adventures, first in the North Carolina mountains where the couple once lived (No leash! So many forest smells!) and later in the Piedmont Triad (Leash! Still so many smells!).
Jimmy wasn't a big fan of other dogs, but was open to relationships with other animals: Early friends included a herd of cows and a pink flamingo toy. And he loved people. After dark, Jimmy and Todd would sometimes take "parking lot" walks at nearby shopping centers and Jimmy greeted everyone, even stepping on the automatic door pads just so he could bark "hello" to people inside the stores.
On vacations, Jimmy enjoyed the beach, where he would sit on the sand, people watch and sniff scents coming off the water. To him, there was no better day than a windy day on the coast.
Although he crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2003, Jimmy lives on in Todd and Stephanie's hearts and, of course, in the name of their business. To this day, the face of Jimmydog Design Group and Jimmydog Pet Portraits is Todd's painting of a smiling Jimmy.
In the Rainbow Bridge letters, Joey often makes appearances as Jimmy's trusted friend and constant companion. The two dogs didn't meet in this world but have been roommates since Joey crossed the bridge in 2015.
Joey joined the Belcher pack in 2003. Todd and Stephanie had been searching shelters and rescues for a second dog but it turned out their other dog, Freddie, is quite discerning. Freddie had no interest in the initial dogs they suggested to her. Then they all met Joey, a gangly terrier mix with a slick white coat and a sad past. Freddie loved Joey at first sight. The two dogs spent hours romping in the yard and invented Kung Furr Fighting (best done in the snow, but fun in the grass, too). In the evenings, they enjoyed a complicated game of bone chewing that involved lots of trading bones and running from room to room.
Joey thrived as part of their pack, where he adopted the role of protector, always alerting them to the mail carrier's approach or other dogs daring to walk by their house. He took his security guard duties seriously, which sometimes made it hard for Todd and Stephanie's extended family and friends to get to know him. Although Joey was slow to warm up, once he accepted you, he was affectionate, loving and always up for a good heart-to-heart talk.
He loved his daily walks, and even as his body began to fail him, Joey wanted to ride along so he could spend time with his pack.
Now joining Jimmy and Joey on their Rainbow Bridge adventures, Freddie crossed the bridge in 2019, just shy of her 17th birthday.
Todd and Stephanie adopted Freddie as a puppy and she maintained her youthful appearance and vigor well into her senior years. She and her best pal Joey were inseparable and took seriously their duties as chief canine officers for Jimmydog Design Group and Jimmydog Pet Portraits. When Joey crossed the bridge in 2015, Freddie adjusted to life as an only dog, relishing the undivided attention.
Freddie insisted on regular walks and excursions for the whole Belcher pack, rarely missing a day. An intrepid explorer, she loved jumping in the car to check out the sights and smells - mostly the smells - in sprawling city and county parks. On family trips, Freddie led the way as they checked out new trails and greenspaces.
A well-behaved passenger, Freddie wanted to go along whenever Todd or Stephanie got in the car, and was rather put out on those rare occasions when she had to stay home. But she used that time wisely, catching up on her sleep. How Freddie loved to sleep! With Freddie's love of long naps, finicky eating habits and rodent-hunting skills, Todd and Stephanie were sure a feline lurked somewhere in her lineage.
Given her adventurous spirit, it was no surprise that Freddie also enjoyed boating. She, Joey and their pal Tango loved to climb aboard for a day on the lake, wind in their ears, sun on their fur, the smell of fish in their noses.
Sadly, Luna was a member of the Belcher pack for months, not years, but Todd and Stephanie loved her deeply. They adopted Luna from a North Carolina shelter in the spring of 2020, immediately charmed by her sweet spirit and enthusiasm for fun. Luna and Sally (the dog Todd and Stephanie adopted in late 2019 after Freddie crossed the Rainbow Bridge) made an immediate doggy connection - best friends from the start.
Luna had a short white coat and mismatched black spots on her face and ears that looked like she'd gotten into Todd's paints - something she thankfully never did. She was an avid hunter and moved around the back yard like a panther, all muscle and athleticism. Todd and Stephanie learned quickly just how athletic Luna was when she started jumping up on counters and the dining table! Doggy gates kept her out of trouble when in the house alone.
Like all canine members of the Belcher pack, Luna adapted quickly to the daily schedule of drives and walks, and had seemingly endless energy when it came to playing with Sally in the back yard. But inside the house, Luna was calm and cuddly, content to nap and snuggle.
Luna was a friendly girl, welcoming both human and canine visitors with enthusiasm and affection. She had a special spot in her heart not just for other members of the Belcher pack, but also for her dog pal Sam. "It was love at first sight," Stephanie said of Sam and Luna's initial meeting.
Luna crossed the bridge Sept. 25, 2020, and was welcomed by Jimmy, Joey and Freddie, all on extra-special assignment from the Rainbow Bridge Newcomers Club.
As the Rainbow Bridge letters demonstrate, Jimmy is a smart, creative dog, but he lacks opposable thumbs and needs a little help getting his thoughts written down and delivered to his family, friends and fans back on the other side of the bridge. Jimmy is grateful to his muses and assistants: