Animal Chaplain

UU Animal Chaplain Elizabeth DeCoux is available to provide support to any BBUUC member grieving the death of an animal, whether the loss is recent, many years ago, or anticipated.  She is also available to attend an animal’s euthanasia within Duval County and to provide a ceremony celebrating an animal’s life. Her email is  

It is natural that humans experience grief at the death of an animal. Many animals, in fact, mourn the death of a human in the family.  For example, when Edinburgh Night Watchman John Gray died in 1858, his faithful dog Bobby stayed close to Gray’s grave until his own death of cancer of the jaw 14 years later.  Over the years, gravediggers and church workers gave Bobby food and water.  A malcontent who lived in the neighborhood complained that an unlicensed dog should not be allowed in the kirkyard.  The Lord Provost of Edinburth, William Chambers, intervened on Bobby’s behalf.  Chambers, who was also a director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, paid for Bobby’s license and purchased a collar for him, which can be seen in the Museum of Edinburgh. 

The moniker Greyfriar’s Bobby is not related to the surname of Bobby’s owner John Gray.  Instead, Greyfriar’s is the name of the church, or “kirk” with adjacent kirkyard in Oldtown Edinburgh. Bobby’s grave is just inside the kirkyard gate, near John Gray’s grave.  Visitors to Grayfriar’s Kirkyard can see a monument to Bobby outside the gate.  They can also go into the kirkyard and visit the graves of John Gray and his faithful dog Bobby.