Booboos Website Sanctuary
Booboos Website
Death of a pet

In February 1997 I dedicated this website to helping others grieving with a painfull loss and to help children understand that little animals are just like people in so many ways.

Children and pets need our care, our attention, our patience, understanding, and, yes, our love.

When our pet dies, we feel a grief beyond measure. The passing of your pet is a natural process for all live on earth. Of course, we understand but some times we need the understanding of others who are going through the same pain.

The MPG movie clip (with audio) to the left was made in December 1996, when Booboos was feeling better.

MPG Movie of Booboos- 1Mb
Booboos opened our eyes and our hearts. Thank you Booboos.

I hope you'll share some of your good times with the rest of us. The Booboos Website was created in an effort to share experiences with my friends all over the world, giving advice when I can, as best as I can only as a pet owner, and learning more from others. Now I'd like to share what I've learned by creating a pubic chat area and a links page to other websites and associations.

Children Need to be Involved
The death of a pet is often the first opportunity parents have to help children during times of grief. Unfortunately, parents often don't want to talk about the death assuming that by doing so the children will be spared some of the pain and sadness. Children, however, are entitled to grieve for their pets. Any child old enough to love is old enough to grieve. Many children love their pets with all their hearts. To them their pet is their best friend. They need to grieve.

Death of a pet Although the signs of grief apply whether the loss is of an animal or a human loved one, grieving is a personal process. Some people take longer than others to come to terms with denial, anger, guilt, or depression, and each loss is different. If you understand that these are normal reactions, you will be better prepared to cope with your own feelings and to help others face theirs. Family and friends should be reassured that sorrow and grief are normal, natural responses to death.
Empathy may take years to learn when considering little animals. However, we believe children are open to the idea, naturally learning to place themselves into another's place, into their mind, their thoughts and feelings. When your all too innocent pet dies, you'll feel guilty to some degree. It's usually inescapable but it's natural. You'll find a dozen reasons why you are at fault. That's grief trying to find an answer, a reason. If you didn't feel it, you'd probably not be worth being around. Believe us, your pet knew you loved him or her. There's nothing anyone can do, really, to lesson that grief, your heartache.

Pets Are Important
August 23, 2009.Our dear friend Harvey who had been with us for over then years has has not come home. We feel someone took Harvey and all we can do is hope he has a wonderful new friend. It's been three years and we've moved so we do understand we will probably never see him again, even though he has a microchip. Click for a large picture of Harvey
Sylvia, a wild crow, came hopping up to our country home back in August 2003 with a badly broken wing. She allowed us to pick her up. She was starved and in obvious pain, near death. Our vet performed a delicate operation and placed metal pins to support the wing as it healed.

Click larger view

Click larger view


Sylvia can fly now but not nearly as well as she should to survive on her own. I built a 20 foot by 10 feet tall cage where Sylvia spends her days and nights. The cage now has tarps to keep her dry and a large nest.

On winter nights I bring her inside where she sits on a perch in the living room and falls to sleep in a dark corner seven feet off the floor.

We let her loose once in an attempt to release her back into the wild. She used all her power to fly to a tree as best she could. She stayed there all night long in the cold and rain. The next morning she was still on the same branch. We coaxed her down and she flew into a field where I was able to get her, bring her inside where she crows to the sound of my voice when we called her name. She wants to join a flock but can't fly high enough. That's painfully obvious. We fear she'll not last long. But we have not given up. We can only hope her wing will eventually heal well enough so she can fly away. But it looks doubtful. I'm looking for another crow who has a similar condition who would like to keep her company. (That was 8 years ago)

June 2004 - Update - More on Sylvia and her new friends!

February 2005 Update - Through the winter, all three crows have become extremely healthy. It is quite amazing. Even Roshi has healed the point he can fly as well as Dylan. And even Sylvia seems set on getting out and flying. She seems to have gathered some strange ability to fly nearly as well as the other crows.

March 2005 - Update - All three crows have experienced incredible health, so much so, that I came to the conclusion that I could not keep them caged any longer. We opened the cage door, for one crow at a time, and watched as they took off into the sky and trees. For the very first time in his eight year life, Dylan was about to fly for more than 20 feet. He flew far over the treetops, hundreds of feet into the air, swooping down then up again, in obvious joy, for about five minutes before lighting in a tree. It was just amazing to see.

We believed we saw them here and there for the next few days, coming back for some food, then they were off, enjoying Spring and their new freedom.

We learn about empathy, hopefully at an early age. But too often children of all ages don't understand that little animals, beings of all sizes, are more or less like ourselves, afraid of getting hurt, in need of love and attention.

Two darling gerbils were placed together for comfort
Graper and and Maggie
They lived together the last 8 months. I so happy I took the time to help them get along, share one another.
Graper, a male gerbil on the left, died in his sleep in January 2000. Maggie, on the right, took a few steps, falls, then chewed, but still seemed to enjoy life. We love her so and know she misses Graper and needed our attention more than ever. Click image for larger JPG. (note, Maggie died June 5, 2000. I had her put to sleep after two months of hand-feeding and daily bathing to keep her clean. She went to "sleep" comfortably and without apparent discomfort, without the usual clutches of death. As with all our gerbils, we miss her so).
Graper and Maggie were born long after Booboos died but because of Booboos, we've learned to take greater care and therefore enjoy and appreciate them more.

  A Pet is a Family Member Too

The term man's best friend brings to mind unconditional love, constant companionship and acceptance. And why shouldn't it? Your pet can take you for a walk, listen when you need someone to talk to or even guard your house. A pet can also lower your blood pressure, change your heart rate or alleviate feelings of chronic loneliness. With this capacity to love, comes the necessity to grieve when that best friend dies. The death of a pet is, without a doubt, a traumatic experience. It can be horrible, quite often worse than loosing a relative.

Grandma, click for larger picture
Grandma was a very old cat and came to us one afternoon as a stray, barley hanging onto life. She was starved for food and for affection. I took her in, gave her a warm bed and lots of warm milk which she loved. I'll never forget how she would stare at her empty bowl then look up at us with a long meow, as if wondering when I would fill it for her. A few months later, in the summer of 2001, I had to put her to sleep but felt wonderful that her last few months were filled with love and care and knowing that she felt love.

A Pet's Death is Traumatic
No, it's not just a dog or just a cat. The animal is a family member. With the death of a pet the family experiences a very great loss. A difficult problem, however, is that society often denies you the need to grieve for your pet. You may even be chastised for openly and honestly expressing your feelings. As a result, you may bury, hide or even try to ignore your grief. This is not good, grief should be expressed. Although denied understanding and support, your family needs to grieve the death of your pet. Grieving means to express your feelings, no matter how painful, outside of yourselves.

Clichés Don't Help You Heal
Your family will probably be greeted with many clichés when your pet dies. Clichés are trite comments intended to diminish the loss by providing simple solutions to difficult realities. Comments like, It was just a dog, or you can always get another one. Or be glad you don't have to take care of him anymore are not constructive. Instead they hurt and make your grief more difficult.

Memories are Very Helpful
Memories are one of the best legacies after the death of a pet. Talk about and embrace these memories. Your pet entertained, comforted, frustrated and always loved you. Remember those times. If your memories bring laughter, smile. If they bring sadness, cry. Remember, though, memories made in love can never be taken away.

I found Pokey in the river being attacked by grown geese. She was nearly dead and exhausted. I searched for an hour but could not find her mother. I took her home where she followed me around the house as though I were her mother. The next day I reluctantly, but knowingly took her home but the next day took her to Portland Audubon Society where she found other ducks close to her own age and was later released back into the wild.

Your Emotions Will Be Mixed
When your pet dies, you will probably experience a variety of emotions: confusion, disorganization, sadness, explosive emotions or guilt. Don't repress these feelings and ignore anyone who tells you that you should. Don't overanalyze your response. Just allow your feelings to find expression. As strange as some of these feelings may seem, they are normal and healthy. Each Family member probably had a unique relationship with the pet. Allow for different emotional responses within the family, and be careful to respect each person's need to grieve in his or her own way.

Should You Choose Euthanasia?
When you love your pet, no question is more difficult than whether or not to use Euthanasia. Yet this difficult choice is