On September 10, 2014 the final chapter of Boo’s story came to a close.
It is hard to write of something so painful as the loss of a beloved pet but the loss of Boo is not my own and that requires me to share his passing with all the people his spirit has touched. More than ten years of visiting children, seniors, adults with developmental disabilities and others makes it hard to count how many people loved him, but I know it was probably thousands.
Developmentally disabled with poor eyesight and an awkward gait, Boo was a trooper who was always game for a visit with anyone even in later years with his eyesight completely gone and arthritis making his bearing even more ungainly. Having overcome remarkable odds to be a therapy dog, Boo won the hearts of the people who knew him personally and those who read his story in A Dog Named Boo here and around the world. His fan club ranges from Russia, to South America, to Britain and back home. Boo was the clumsy black and white rescue dog who never wanted anything other than to say hello to and be loved by everyone he met (with some great butt scratches along the way) while reaching across physical limitations and political boundaries.
In both life and in death he teaches us that we are all better when we move through our days with patience, persistence and the understanding that perfect is not all it is cracked up to be—because sometimes it is in our imperfections where our greatest strengths lie.
In his work he brought joy to thousands, speech to Marc and Sister Jean, an understanding to my husband and me that we could be a family, and on the morning he left us he brought us one more gift. As our two-year-old son (who still only has only two or three reliable words and has yet to refer to anyone by name) brought all the pepperonis from his pizza-puzzle toy to Boo, who was resting on his big comfy chair, he pointed to Boo and said, “Boo” each time he tried to encourage Boo to eat the wooden pepperoni.
With this final act we knew Boo had made his mark on the little boy he had waited so long to have in his life and his job was done—he could rest without pain for the first time in a long time.