Writings of Sheri Hooper

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Bubbye’s BIGGEST Fan



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Maury came into our lives in the most extraordinary way. His mother, Season, was a stray who was adopted by us February 2001. Two years later in another county Rick accidentally let Season run out the front door. Apparently she had a date with “Tom.”

She booked it and we could not catch her.


Wouldn’t you know it? She was scheduled for surgery at the end of the week. I cancelled her appointment until we knew for certain she was not pregnant. Surprise, surprise, she was. I told Rick that I did not care how many kittens she was carrying, I would not (could not!) give any away. He allowed the conception between Tom and Season and — deal with it!

As it turned out, Season was carrying only one kitten. Maury Joel Graham Hooper was born on April 12th, 2003, around 2:30 A.M. Rick and I waited for hours wondering where his siblings were. Season no longer appeared to be laboring. She was breathing normally, no panting and nursing her sweet baby as if she were done.

When the Veterinarians office opened we telephoned and they let us know this sometimes happens but bring her in to make sure. Rick took Season to the vet and they confirmed that there was only one kitten. Her uterus was empty. There were no other kittens. This odd statistic usually occurs with a first pregnancy.

Season had just turned two, our “teen mom” cat, and Maury considered our “Grand Cat”. Not long after Mauryman was weaned Season was “fixed.” No more babies for Season. Her one and only was soon nicknamed, Mauryman while Rick chose (instead of grandpa) Grumpy and I penned Bubbye. Being called a Grandma, Grandmother, G-Momma would never suit me. Though I am not Jewish, I fell in love with the name for a Hebrew Granny. In April 2003, I became, “Bubbye”.

Our Veterinarian explained first time pregnancies often end with stillbirth. He was amazed at how robust and healthy Maury was. No surprise to me as I fed Season a High Protein diet, gave gentle massages, spoke to her growing belly and gave tender loving care. She was enormous!

I guessed that a dozen wee one’s were inside her. Everyone had a presumption and we were all wrong. Just one, bright, baby boy who was lively and possessing avant-garde capabilities none of our other animals ever held. Maury was exclusive from his earliest beginnings.

Including pregnancy, we had Maury for 18 years. He would have turned 18 in a month and 2 days. GOD had other plans and took him home. Rick and I say that he went to college a few months early because of his superior intellect and talents.

What? A cat headed off to a University? Sure, why not? No rules here! We did buy him a car for his 16th Birthday. The car story is real, that happened. At college? We know that is not technically true but takes the sting of reality away for a time. A distraction so to speak. As Christians we firmly believe that our passed on son, Ripley Hooper, has a new pet to hang with. It’s how we get through.

Maury declined rapidly. Beginning by the first of March, he was frail and weak. This formerly 20 pound cat was now 7 pounds. Quite a drop, happening in a two year period. He was walking around but slowly. Before long Maury could no longer support himself. His back legs were useless.

I had to elevate his water and food bowls, placing them in every room. This worked for a week though in the end he was crawling with his back legs dragging behind him. It was pitiful and distressing to witness. His final 3 days he could not walk. He pulled himself and then that too stopped. The last 24 hours he could not crawl, sit up or turn over. To keep him from bed sores he was turned every few hours.

Without the support of his back legs things began to speed up. He fell into his water dish face first. Thirsty, he looked at the dish I had elevated and had the saddest longing on his face. This was too much.

I used a syringe to keep him nourished and hydrated. He was prayed over, anointed with oil, gently rubbed with warmed coconut oil near his hips and CBD placed into his ears for any pain. I was wildly fighting a losing war but giving it my all.

Mauryman began acting oddly including two grand mal seizures. He had never had convulsions before. We were told this is a sign of a well lived cat. He was old. What, do we deserve a medal or something? I didn’t want him to have seizures! Was there no hope for Maury?

I never knew epilepsy is a sign of a Senior Cat. By the way, this goes for dogs too. I have my memo now – as do you. There is a lot to take on when parenting furbabies from Birth to Death. You must expect that one day your Fur Youngin will die. This is part of pet ownership.

One day Rick went to work and when returning Maury hissed at him, something he had never done before. Poor little guy, his mind was slipping. He had no idea who Grumpy was. This was especially hard for my husband.

Within a half an hour his “fear of forget” was gone and he snuggled back up in Rick’s lap. Maury’s favorite person was Rick. He was all about Rick! He loved his Grumpy the best and I was okay with that. He loved me for something else, my Biggest Fan, I’ll explain below.

As much as he was loved, Maury’s decline accelerated. He started sleeping face down, hiding underneath the kitchen table and other areas where he would go unseen. We didn’t know it then but soon found out this is typical when cats are about to die. Don’t take it personal. If your elderly cat begins hiding unusually you may want to schedule a visit to the Vet. The day I found him sleeping in the litter box was the last straw and I began toting him everywhere.

This did not always work as everything was always on “Maury’s Terms” and he would creep out of the cat beds we placed him in. I made the beds harder to escape, he did so anyway. Imagine, a nearly 18 year old cat, his back legs completely out and he somehow managed to crawl from his bed(s) and hide somewhere. He was tough – what a BAD ASS!

On his last day he wanted no part of his bed(s), even his “hot tub” which was a heated bed that felt good to his hips and back legs. He went no where near his litter box. If placing him inside the litter box he would lay down as if this were a new bed for him. He would remain completely motionless. The only place he found tolerable were the hard wood floors where I placed several blankets, chux pads and a small heater aimed at him from behind. The flat surface was most comfortable for him.

The feeding/watering continued, I was not going to allow him to die hungry or thirsty. He would cry when he wanted a drink or was hungry. Once given water or his formula he would sleep for a couple of hours. We debated on if we should have him “put to sleep.” Quality of life they say.

I thought of each beloved pets death. Madeline Rose, Season Noel, Briley Victoria. . . who’s death was the most brutal to deal with – today? Briley died in 2012 and we are still dealing with that. Yes, it get’s easier but she was “put down.” Rick and I both found this the hardest and if we had a chance to do it over, her death would have been … different.

Many might argue in consideration she was choking on her own blood, a benign tumor in her tongue, we did the right thing. There was so much blood loss and coronary issues that she began fainting from a standing or laying position. The doctors refused to admit her and perform surgery as she was an elderly dog who now had a heart murmur.

The Vets claimed she would never survive the surgery. They gave us little to hope for. No advice was given. I pleaded that they hospitalize her immediately but it fell on deaf ears. I be damned, they didn’t want my money! There was nothing they could do – that is fairly verbatim – along with a “wait and see.”

Then the most absurd question was thrown at us, “What do you want us to do?” I quickly threw out a “Hospitalize her! – Do Surgery! – Do SOMETHING!” and we got in return a, “I’m sorry we can’t do that, it won’t help.”

Pleading I would pre-pay did no good. They again asked, “What do you want us to do?” This much time has went by and I continue to think what they asked us was one of the most idiotic things to say to a grieving set of pet parents.

Really now, what do we want them to do? Save Briley’s life. They refused to try. One of the most costly and straight up bourgeois group of Veterinarians in the State of Tennessee and they wanted to know what we wanted. Stupidest Question Ever!

We love our past and present furbabies equally but of the clan, having an I.V. placed into Briley’s paw, making her humanely, “feel no pain” and then given “THE SHOT” – as we watched them take her life – was the hardest experience to date. Rick and I wonder when the pain (if ever?) will resign.

Maury was born at home and damn it, he would die at home, just like Maddie and Season. Briley died in my arms but she was not at home surrounded by everyone who loved her. Blanketed with a warm quilt, though we were with her, it was a cold Veterinarians office and that is simply the geographical truth.

She was cold, shivering, and she was afraid. Her eyes met mine and would not look away. This is something I cannot forget. The room, so cold. I would guess around 65 degree’s with cold forced air pumping in. I shudder to think had I not brought that quilt. I would have never forgiven myself. I am thankful I had the sense to bring it.

If you decide to put your pets to “sleep” have a heart and bring their blanket. If you are the forgetful type, already have it in the car or just allow your fur baby to die at home.

Eleven years later, Rick and I continue to feel guilty about putting her down. Allowing GOD to say when would have been better. I look back and see that this decision was made in haste. No picnic for her, I’m sure, but we paid a professional to stop her suffering when really it was our anguish. We are tormented of her death. It lingers. Haunted.

I’ve already spoke of regret and I do not believe we did the right thing. Learning our lesson we decided to put Maury in GOD’s hands. We would not pay someone to “snow” him.

He did not die the next day as he would have at the Vet’s. The decision to allow GOD to say when was decided the night of March 7th. We had three more days with him that are painful to remember but treasured in our hearts.

Rick “Grumpy” and Maury Hooper – March 7th, 2021

We will never put another fur youngin down by taking a trip to the Veterinarian. The remorse is too great to battle. For Mauryman, we feel we did the honorable thing, giving GOD the say so of when his soul departed from this Earth.

His death came at 2:26 A.M. on March 10th, 2021. Time stopped into an alternative space where it is dark. He fought his last days strongly, in the end another Grand Mal Seizure took his life. The last 20 minutes he was in his Bubbye’s arms/hands – I NEVER LET HIM GO.

I have lost my “Biggest Fan”. If you met Maury you know what that means. Mauryman had a strange obsession with my voice, specifically singing, not talking – music, but only by me. The radio, computers, television vocalists he ignored. Other folks singing, he paid no attention and this is why he was penned his “Bubbye’s Biggest Fan”. I’ve never known any animal to respond to music.

When I would sing he was all over me or at my feet swatting his paw at my leg demanding to be noticed. For Maury, it had to be singing and it had to come from me.

I would begin a song and he was there in seconds. If in a sound sleep he would awaken and come to me. This went on until the last days of his life. I will never be able to explain this. One day I will ask GOD. I certainly have a lot of questions.

There was something special about Maury Joel Graham Hooper. My biggest fan, I will miss him forever.

There was drama in his final moments. I cried out to GOD to take him, I encouraged him to GO TO THE LIGHT. I knew he was dying and it was unbearable. I was his Bubbye and did what came naturally. I took care of him. It was tough emotionally. In his final moments I gently rocked him in my arms while singing softly.

I reminded Maury that he was Loved, Wanted and Appreciated. I began singing, “Look For Me.” It brought him relaxation. It was oddly one of his favorites. A guaranteed call for Maury if he heard it.

Lyrics – LOOK FOR ME – Rusty Goodman

When you finally, make your entrance, to that city
Of jasper walls, and bright gold avenues
As you behold, all it’s beauty, and it’s splendor
Remember, there’s just one request I make of you.

Look for me, for I will be there too
I realize, when you arrive, there’ll be so much to view
After you’ve been there 10,000 years, a million, maybe two
Look for me, for I will be there too.

As you go down your list of firsts, there’s no question
You’ll want to see your loved ones, waiting there for you
And when you feel, you’ve shared your story with the last one
That wants to hear you tell, just how you made it through.

Look for me, I’d like to hear it too
I realize when you arrive, there’ll be so much to view
After you’ve been there 10,000 years, a million, maybe two
Look for me, for I will be there too.

For hours I sang to him and he would go back to sleep. He was weak but my music was something he enjoyed. Syringe feedings/waterings followed by music and loving words until he drifted back into sleep. And then… it was over.

The spirit left him. His precious head and body limp in my hands.

Maury’s remains are set in a beautiful solid wood box with engraved gold nameplate and photograph. His car for his 16th Birthday is placed in front and a cross and paw bracelet on top just like Madeline, Season and Briley.

The four of them sit side by side with a Bible on each end. They stay in the Great Room. The rule is that whoever dies first, be that myself or Rick, all of their boxes will be placed into our casket and buried with one of us. We Love our Fur Youngins.

They are children and a grand youngin to us. They’re forever part of OUR family.

According to the pamphlet given to us by the Funeral Home, I am somewhere between Stage 4 and Stage 5. There are five stages of death to survivors. I will heal they say. Time will keep moving. It will get easier. This too shall pass. He’s in a better place. Maury is no longer sick. No pain for him. He’s with Jesus Christ. Over the Rainbow Bridge. Peace.

I knew at some point I would have to tell of Maury’s passing. That time is now.

✞ GOD rest you Maury – Bubbye and Grumpy miss and LOVE you!✞

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April 12th, 2003 – March 10th, 2021
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To comprehend below video – understand that I give all of our pets “voices”. It personalizes them. I have done this with all of our animals. I go on their temperament and disposition to create an identity for them. In below video (you may have to unmute mic) you will hear what was Maury’s “voice” along with a song created specifically for him. You will hear him rattling on that he was “Bubbye’s Biggest Fan.”


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