Monday, June 10, 2013

The death of a dear friend: Foley Monster, July 5, 2000–June 9, 2013

By Hobo Hudson

My dear, dear friend Foley Monster died Sunday from incurable cancer. She went to the Rainbow Bridge long before her time, and like so many of my fellow dogs and also like many cats, it was an unexpected voyage. She didn’t show any signs of having to depart from this world until it was too late for even the most advanced medical treatments to be of any help.

Foley Monster was a great and prodigious girl even though she was small, a tiny Yorkshire terrier. She had a heart of gold and never failed to help others in whatever situation they found themselves. She was thoughtful, brainy and witty, just perfect in every way.

Instead of going on writing about Foley Monster, a friend I got to know and love like a sister even though she was my attorney, without being able to express in words the sorrow I feel by her death, I decided to call people’s attention to how to react toward pet parents who have lost one of their pet family members and how to help console them. I will also address how to ease the pain of family pets who are grieving their lost sibling.

Everybody deals with grief in their own way, and there are many different words and expressions a grieving pet owner will appreciate hearing. But often, people with the best intentions choose the wrong words when expressing their sympathy because they do not know how painful those words are. 

Here are some of those expressions that will upset, if not enrage, a person who had just lost a pet:

Do not tell them you know exactly how they feel because no one can ever experience pain, grief and loss in exactly the same way.

Do not ask, “Have you thought of getting another pet?”

Do not say, “You still have your other pets.”

Do not suggest, “You can always get another pet.”

Do not comment, “He or she is in a better place now.”

Do not say, “He or she was just a pet.”

Do not say, “It’s not as if a child died.”

Do not comment, “Are you really that upset about an animal?”

Do not tell them, “There are so many other animals who need homes.”

To know this is especially important for people who do not own a pet or do not have any connections to a pet. They might not be aware that a pet is a member of the family and treated like a son or daughter.

These are some suggestions on how to react to grieving pet owners:

Tell them, “I am so sorry.”

Tell them and let them know that you care.

Reminisce about the pet who died if you have known him or her and talk about the good times and the fun you shared with their pet.

Tell them that you like to hear stories of their pet.

Listen to what the grieving pet owners have to say about their pet.

Show grieving pet owners empathy, understanding and compassion.

Be there for grieving pet owners and support them even if it is sitting in silence.

Offer help, any kind of help.

Give cards, flowers or donation to a local shelter in their names.

Pet siblings often suffer like humans when their sister or brother leaves for the Rainbow Bridge. The following advice is for pet parents on how to help other pet family members cope with the sudden emptiness:  

Maintain their daily routines.

Keep the usual meal and treat schedules.

Take longer walks.

Increasing exercise.

Add more play time.

Give extra love and affection.

Talk to them.

Provide them with something that still holds the scent of their lost sibling to be comforted by it.

Foley Monster, my dear friend, run along with all the other pups at the Rainbow Bridge and let them take care of you until we meet again.

Your everlasting friend,




About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom, the blog’s editor, is publishing a Hobo Hudson adventure in sequences on her website at:

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Bruny Hudson
Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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