The anonymous poem "Rainbow Bridge" is about a titular heavenly place that pets go to after they die where they are restored to perfect health, have all of their needs met and peacefully co-exist with other deceased pets. Rainbow Bridge is described as both a literal bridge and a lush place with meadows and hills. Although they are happy at Rainbow Bridge, the deceased pets are always waiting to be reunited with their owners.
"Rainbow Bridge" was possibly written somewhere between 1980 and 1992. References to the poem began to appear on the Internet around 1993. The poem "Rainbow Bridge" is used by numerous sites that center on pet loss.
A grief support community called Rainbow Bridge is named after the poem and allows pet owners who have lost pets to create virtual memorials for their pets on its site, RainbowBridge.com. Pet owners, their friends and family members can leave different toys and treats at the virtual memorial site. They can also plant virtual shrubs and flowers. Rainbow Bridge donates the proceeds from these virtual memorials to animal shelters. The support community gives pet owners the opportunity to connect with a network of other pet owners who have lost their pets.