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  • Mar
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Mourning Maud, Part 3: A Final and Fitting Resting Place

Posted by at 5:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Mourning Maud, Part 3: A Final and Fitting Resting Place by Rick ThompsonThis is the third and final part of a series about my experience with losing my close companion Maud. I hope that sharing this might make it easier for others who are going through a similar experience. Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.

The carved wooden box provided for Maud’s cremains was tasteful, but it was indistinguishable from countless others used by cremation service providers everywhere. Maud was far too special for that to be her final resting place. And we had the perfect solution—if we could still get it.

After our first two dogs, Babe and Maggie, were euthanized, we kept their cremains in the boxes provided, but we were always on the lookout for something more appropriate. Then one day, at a juried art show, we found the ideal containers: handcrafted wooden boxes that looked like antique books. The tops secretly slid open to reveal the felt-lined drawers inside—perfect for placing a bag of cremains. Because of the different wood varieties and their distinctive colors and grains as well as the different box sizes and patterns, no two were alike. Each one was as unique as the dearly departed it would contain. We also liked that these faux books were not obvious cremains containers. If you knew, you knew, but if not, you had no clue. Ken and I both worked at a college library, so the book idea was apropos. And even for a frugal vegan like myself, they were reasonably priced. We carefully selected one for Babe and one for Maggie.


Now we needed another, slightly larger box for Maud. Fortunately, we were able to track down the artist, Steven B. Levine.* And yes, he was still making his excellent faux-book boxes. Through several e-mail exchanges with his patient wife, Dot, we found just what we had in mind. For less than $100, we had a beautiful book box made of makore wood with a spine inlay of maple burl shipped right to our door within a few days. Dot provided not only great service but also sympathy in our hour of deepest grief.

Below: Maud’s book opened, with her bag of cremains and a lock of her hair


There was still one more thing to do for Maud—and us: create a tribute to her through PETA’s True Friends Memorials. PETA provides this wonderful way to remember loved ones—humans or animals—for free. Maud’s memorial includes additional photos and the option to make an online donation to PETA in her memory.

Our grief for Maud was soon channeled into providing another rescue or shelter dog with a forever home. Within a few weeks of beginning our search, we found Winnie. Our family on adoption day is pictured at my PETA Prime profile, but Maud will always be there with us in spirit.

Winnie is no Maud; there was only one Maud. But she is Winnie, and there is only one Winnie. This reminds me that each and every one of us—whether a human or an animal—is unique and special and deserves to be treated with respect and compassion.

Mourning has broken. Rest in peace, Maud.

*Steven and Dot Levine are based out of Dayton, New Jersey, and can be reached at 732-297-0131 or [email protected] Books and other boxes can be custom-made, including the option of engraving the animal’s name and other information on the spine.

If you were moved by “Mourning Maud,” please contribute to Maud’s True Friends Memorial.

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  • Pamela Harp Gentry says:

    I have very much enjoyed your articles. What a loving and beautiful tribute to your beloved Maud. Much luck and love with wonderful Winnie!! Made me think so much about my beautiful Daisy who passed, our sweetheart Dixie Belle who brings us so much happiness, and I STILL miss the sweet “mutt” that I had growing up. Her name was Pebbles. We are very fortunate to enjoy the companionship of these soulful creatures whose loyalty is infinite. Blessings!

  • Rick Thompson says:

    Tammatha, So sorry about your loss of sweet Molly. Maud was about 10 years old, but perhaps even older. The details of her decline and death are in Part 1. There are links to access Parts 1 and 2 at the start of Part 3 and at the very end under the tag of “Mourning Maud.” Thanks for sharing.

  • Ms Lois Koch says:

    You can always rest assured you have been doing the very best one can do for their pets. I’m sure that in their way they knew how fortunate they were.

  • Tammatha says:

    I completely understand how much you miss your Maud (cute name).
    Watching the video she had the same mannerism as my sweet Molly that I lost two years ago. She barked, jumped ahead and ran off just like your Maud, it is so funny and adorable! She was my once in a lifetime pooch, it is so hard to lose them. Your other two furbabies looked sweet too in the video, hopefully they will be around for awhile. How old was Maud and why did she die? I missed Part 1 & 2.

  • Amanda says:

    Rick, I’m just so glad you and Ken have so generously opened your hearts to wonderful older doggies like Maud and Winnie. Any chance we can clone you guys?

  • Michelle says:

    What an adorable video! Maud looks lie such a playful sweetheart.

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