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Charles Hobson Booger, III 6/3/03-10/15/10


DSC_0018 My boyfriend. That's what I called him.

Loverboy, Charles, Charlesez, Gorgeous.

My husband called him Charlie.

He's no longer with us, and our hearts ache.


Charles' death was sudden, tragic and avoidable. He had a corn removed Thursday morning, left the vet looking just fine and happy to be rid of the pain, and by 5:00 pm yesterday, after we were told that he had a less than 5% chance of survival with days of intensive treatment, and after consulting friends who are vets, we decided to euthanize him. I curled up with him and held him until the very last moment.

Charles had a horrible final 24 hours, full of pain and suffering, due to a narcotic reaction (Tramadol). Narcotic reactions aren't common, Tramadol reactions aren't common, and greyhounds aren't known for their adverse reactions to Tramadol. Violet doesn't do well with Tramadol, but only because it makes her constipated. That's a far more common problem.

But Charles had a severe reaction. It caused his normally 75 beats-per-minute heart rate to spike to 232 and remain close to there for the rest of his life, and his normally 101 temperature to jump to 105.5, which is pretty much a death sentence if not treated immediately. Attempts to reverse the effects of the Tramadol worked only for a couple of minutes at a time. And, as with a sunburn, the damage caused by a very high fever is done hours before you can see the damage.

So here I am, with a pounding headache and swollen face, having all kinds of guilt and regrets. And above all, missing my boy  . . .



19 Comments Post a comment
  1. I'm so sorry. I lost Gabby, my blue and gold macaw, a few months ago. She was my baby. Her death was pretty much a mystery, but I kept on thinking up of different scenarios which would have made her death my fault. That's the worst thing you can do to yourself. You did the best you could do with Charles, and I did the best I could do with Gabby. I'm sure Charles lived a happy life, so please don't beat yourself up. Much love to you!

    I'm so sorry for your loss.

    October 16, 2010
  2. Mary, I'm sorry to hear the sad news. I know only too well how difficult it is to lose a loyal companion.

    October 16, 2010
  3. Mary and family, I'm so sorry to hear of Charles' passing. I've loved reading about him and Violet and seeing their pictures. Wishing you peace and comfort.

    October 16, 2010
  4. Hello Love,
    I know you always make the best decisions you can in every moment. As one of your friends wrote, Charles now has wings and I just know – he knows you did the best you could. xoxo your sister Judios

    October 16, 2010
  5. Friend, please, please keep reminding yourself, and listening to others who tell you, that this was not remotely your fault–which is absolutely the truth. I know that the words alone aren't going to take away any of the emotions in the tangle of emotions you're feeling right now about his death and the way it happened, but you couldn't have known he would have such a reaction. You just couldn't. And you were and still are amazing about the care you give the animals in your life. You saw that sweet boy through so very much. He had such joy and so many rebounds solely because of the dedication and care, 24 hours a day, that you devote to those in your family.

    There's nothing anyone can say to make what happened yesterday less terrible and tragic, but yesterday and every day before, you did all that you could for him. You went to such great, loving lengths to give him love and happiness and comfort, every day that he was in your life.

    And right up until the last moment, you were there, loving him and comforting him with every ounce of your being.

    I'm so sorry, friend. I wish I could say or do more. You have love coming at you from all directions.

    October 16, 2010
  6. Mary, the hearts of all of us at Avondale go out to you and your family, and try to hold your hearts tight as you enter a part of your life that does not have Charles physically by your side, a part that has come unexpectedly soon. Having just lost our elder statesman, Plato, after almost 15 years, all of us at Avondale are still grieving and acutely aware of the head that pounds, the eyes that seem permanently puffy and the heart that feels like it's splintering into tiny pieces.

    Plato's last 6 months were full of visits to the vet and we too cannot help but question what we did to him at times. But our actions were never things done to him, they were always things done for him … and the ultimate 'for him' was when we asked the vet to come to Avondale to help him on his way. When all we wanted to do was keep him alive forever.

    We grieve knowing there were times when we could have done better for Plato, but we still our hearts by remembering the intent behind every thing we did: to love him with such gusto that now that he soars through the air with his heavenly mates catching angel-thrown balls, he shows them Avondale from up high and says, 'I was really loved down there.'

    I have no doubt that as I write this Charles Hobson Booger, III is showing his mates (perhaps even a new-found mate called Plato) your home and telling them how loved he was. And is.

    RIP Charles. Grieve gently Mary and family.

    October 16, 2010
  7. Olivia #

    A mutual friend of ours sent me this oh-so-sad news a few minutes ago. Oh, my, Stephanie and the others are SOOOOO right: no one has loved a child more devotedly than you have lavished love on "Loverboy." Would that I could say the same for every OTT Greyhound — or any animal or human, for that matter.

    Harry's imagery of his precious Plato pointing down to Avondale and telling his heavenly mates, "I was really loved down there" and his assurance that Charles is now saying the same thing about your household reminds me of the comforting way that I try to view the passing of a loved one.

    When a bird flies out to sea and becomes a smaller and smaller speck until his body crosses the horizon and can no longer be seen by those on shore, we know for a fact that he has not died; he has just disappeared from our sight. After we wave our goodbyes to the bird, he is greeted by friends on another shore. He remains whole in every way; his journey goes on.

    In the same way, Charles continues on in the sense that the essence of his being is completely intact. While his physical body isn't visible to us, his qualities simply cannot be erased by any temporary event.

    Charles will be counting his blessings forever. The biggest of those blessings are the endless kindnesses that you and your husband and Charles' siblings (including beautiful baby sister Sky) did FOR him — FOR being the operative word, as Harry so tenderly pointed out.

    Never, ever, Mary, have you done something TO animals — acting like some superior human looking out for your own interests and disregarding or minimizing theirs. No, it has always been FOR them. It always will be. They all know that. So do we. And so do you, deep down.

    May your broken heart be bound and mended with bands of Love.

    And may all your memories of Charles be as peaceful and joyful as are his memories of the happy years spent with you.

    October 17, 2010
  8. Mike Grieco #

    Charles Hobson Booger, III was rescued and loved by you, Mary. He is free from pain, now. Very sorry for your loss…

    Freedom is yours, Charles. Run Free.

    October 17, 2010
  9. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Poor Charles.

    October 17, 2010
  10. Dear Mary,

    My heart aches along with you for your loss. Anyone who's followed
    Animal Person knows that Charles was family, and you're sharing the
    story of his life with us makes us all feel like family.

    Like Mike said: Charles, run free.


    October 18, 2010
  11. John N. #

    So sorry to hear this Mary. Charles was far too young to go, but you gave him the best life he could have while he was with you. I remember the comforting words from you on Twitter a little over a year ago when we lost Billy to cancer. This is going to be a tough time…my eyes are filled with tears for you right now.

    October 18, 2010
  12. Crystal #

    I'm sorry for you loss, Mary.

    October 18, 2010
  13. Olivia #

    Mary, I see you've changed the photo to one of Charles running lickety split across a wide-open expanse of green earth, with the most joyful expression on his face.

    Just think: because of you, Charles had the FREEDOM TO BE CHARLES, something he never experienced while being forced to run in circles on the track and being locked in a tiny crate most hours of the day during his racing career.

    I am sure his exuberance as he chased the wind on that beautiful day brings a smile to your face, and one day soon will bring you abiding peace.

    October 19, 2010
  14. Eileen #

    So sorry to hear this terrible news. 🙁

    October 19, 2010
  15. My deepest condolences to you and your family. The passing of a beloved pet is often times one of the most painful experiences, but knowing that he is in a better place now is a much more comforting thought that we can go back to on our down days.

    October 20, 2010
  16. No words can say how sorry I am for your loss – I know your heart is broken in a million pieces – I only hope the beautiful memories of Charles Loverboy and the promise of unending love, aid the healing that will come with time. He really is yours – Forever.

    October 21, 2010
  17. I'm so sorry to hear this sad news, Mary. He was obviously so well loved and had such a great life with you…all dogs should be so lucky.

    October 29, 2010
  18. I'm so sorry to read of your loss. Please accept my deepest condolences. I hope Violet is doing okay after the loss of her companion, too. I wish you and all your family the best in this difficult time.

    October 29, 2010
  19. I'm so sorry for your unexpected and shocking loss of Charles. I have two greyhounds that were rescued and one of them is a fawn like your Charles and my other is a brindle like your Violet. I worry about any side effects from medications with my two greys; Reading what Charles went through is very heart wrenching and I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you.

    I looked at some of your other posts about your greys and enjoyed reading "on birthdays, cranes and the fda"…I tend to blog about my greys and draw them constantly and always enjoy finding another 'grey' person and vegan.

    Congratulations on your little girl as well.

    November 29, 2010

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