In Loving Memory

This page was last updated on 22/12/2018

This page is to commemorate our loved ones who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge before us. 

Please send your photos, stories, poems and notices to

Rhian Thomas

It is with great sadness we inform you of the death of Rhian Thomas.

Rhian who was only 49 died on the 7th of December at St Michael's Hospice.  She had lung cancer that aggressively spread throughout her body.

Rhian was married to Dan the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary Farm Manager who is understandably heartbroken.

Rhian worked for Trinity Wholefoods in Hastings but did a huge amount of voluntary work for Barby Keels. She set up the Dogs at Barby Keel Facebook page which helped re-home many dogs.

Her furniture stall on main fundraising open day was legendary.

On our ordinary Sunday open days, she would be found serving at our cafe selling lovely vegan cakes she had made.

She also fundraised and was always ready to muck out a stable or two.

She will be greatly missed by us all and we send our condolences to her family. XXX

Donations in memory of Rhian can be sent by cheque payable to 'Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary' and sent to:

Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary,

Freezeland Lane,


E Sussex


Alternatively go online to and use the my donate button.

Many Thanks

RAINBOW BRIDGE by Henry Dallimore

Feeling the warmth of the sun on his back, Tinker slowly opened his eyes. What he saw amazed him, gone was the dimness of a winter's afternoon and gone too was the pain from which he had been suffering. Moreover he felt better than he had for many a long year and to add to it all when he moved his back leg for a good scratch he realized that he was much slimmer than he had been. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, he looked and felt like a young cat again.  

As he took in his new surroundings, he saw that he was in a large meadow dotted with trees, large boulders each had a flow of cool clear water running down their sides and in their shadows were bowls full of food. A gate stood at one corner while at the opposite corner was a pretty hump back bridge which crossed a tinkling brook that ran down one side of the meadow. Overhead the sun shone out of a cloudless sky, the temperature was very comfortable but there were patches of shade by the trees and boulders if needed. All in all the closest Tinker could imagine was that it was Pet Heaven.  

He felt so happy and relaxed that when he noticed many dogs, canaries and budgerigars surrounding him, he felt no inclination to chase, argue or fight with anybody. There too were a smattering of snakes, chameleons white rats, white mice, and various other creatures which he could not identify. As he lay there in the supreme comfort of his new surroundings, he heard a yapping sound he felt was familiar, A small brown, white and black dog was running towards him, calling him by name whilst wagging a stumpy tail in feverish excitement.  

"Grover!" exclaimed Tinker "is it really you?"  

"Yes it's me" shouted the little dog joyfully "welcome to Rainbow bridge"  
"Rainbow Bridge?" asked Tinker "whatever's that? Pet Heaven? - it certainly looks like it!"  

"Not exactly. I understand that we have to wait here until something really exciting happens" Grover replied "but I'm not sure what it will be."  
"How long do we have to wait?"  

"There is no time here at Rainbow Bridge" Grover replied "we must be patient. But we have all the time in the world now and here there is no danger, fighting or animosity of any kind"  

"So I see" said Tinker shaking his head to dislodge a passing canary that had perched on it.  

By now the sun was setting, but it felt just as warm as earlier; the two friends lay down by one of the trees.

"I don't really know how I got here" mused Tinker "I remember feeling really bad, the pain was awful, I felt something sharp on the back of my neck and then I felt oh so tired. All I could hear was Her sobbing then that faded and the next thing I was here with you, Grover"  

"Yes I know" replied Grover "the same thing happened to me. I had been feeling bad for some time until this strange man came up to my basket. But I was hurting so much that I hardly felt the pain on my neck, I couldn't see anything but could hear Her sobbing too, then I found myself waking up here."  There was a silence "Tinker?" called Grover, no reply. Just a gentle purring and heavy breathing "night night, Tinker, sleep well...................."  

So the two friends enjoyed themselves at Rainbow Bridge.

Every so often a human would enter the meadow through the gate, and every time some of the animals would go to greet them. They would walk over the meadow to the little bridge, cross over and disappear from view. The two friends could not understand what was happening.  

Many days passed until one day Grover looked towards the gate

"It's Her" he cried and with his little tail wagging furiously, he sprinted towards the slim redheaded lady who had just come through the gate.

"Dogs" said Tinker to himself "no patience, always running everywhere!" and, getting to his feet, slowly followed in Grover's tracks.  

He and Grover were swept up in loving arms, once again he heard the sobs, but this time they were sobs of happiness.   Joyfully the trio walked to the bridge

"Come on" She said "we are going to meet a Very Special Person, we mustn't be late."  As they crossed the bridge Tinker said

"I think I know where we are going." .

"Where?" asked Grover  

"Why Heaven, of course" replied Tinker.

The End



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