Introducing Beau…Part 4, Dogs are Family, too!


Contributing Author:  My  Daughter, Jennifer

My 18th Birthday Present

BeauPup5

It was November 1991, I had just started college two months before and my brothers were already out of the house when Mom and Dad brought Beau home to me as a birthday present. He was a cute puff of grey, black, brown and white fur with a curly tail like a pig.

Keeshond Pup

Keeshond Pup

My parents were told Beau was a Keeshond. But, as Beau continued to grow his features weren’t looking so much like those of a Keeshond–we realized he was a mix. He wasn’t getting very tall and his coat was less full and wirier than that of a Keeshond’s. And when he got even older, he looked like Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but with the curly tail of a Keeshond.

I Wanted a Well-Behaved Dog

BeauPup10

Beau

Splinter-NinjaTurtle

Splinter

I wanted a well-behaved dog who didn’t escape, so I immediately began training him to follow me and stay close when outside. I would take him out several times in the evening and night and put him in a crate next to my bed and wish him a good night. However, Beau had other plans and would whine all night unless I shared my bed with him. And, with my hectic work and school schedules, I always caved into a sleep over staying awake and seeing through Beau’s training. So our nightly ritual became Beau joining me in my room after first checking to make sure Mom and Dad were tidy in their beds. Beau wasn’t a big dog, but it sure felt that way when he tried to take over my bed. I had nightly discussions with him.  I told him, “You can sleep on my bed, but you have to wait until I’m settled and ready for you to get in.” Every night he would wait patiently at the foot of my bed for me to complete changing into night clothes.  I would then give him the command…”Ok, ready!” Then Beau jumped up on the bed, plopped next to me, used all four legs to push me off the center of the bed so he could claim it for himself. He was my dog and I guess you could say we spooned.

BeauTrimmedWhen Beau was about one, Mom suggested that I take him to a groomer for an extreme doggie makeover.  Well, as you can see from Beau’s attitude to the left, he wasn’t quite sure even who he was after that trimming.  And when we got done laughing and crying, all of us anxiously awaited the regrowth of his coat which took a couple of months.

Yet, Another Partier and Adventurer

BeauPup15Like PeeJay, in my post Drawn to Dogs…, Beau liked parties and adventure. Before we fenced our yard, he would shoot out the front door and roam our street.  One neighbor, in particular, didn’t seem to take to Beau and we think the feeling was mutual.  Then, one Friday afternoon Beau got out and went on a run.   We searched and called for him, but Beau was nowhere to be found.  By midday Saturday, Dad decided it was definitely time to call the animal shelter.  They advised us that we would have to come check out their recently picked up strays.  But–that they were closing in 20 minutes. Unbeknownst to us, the neighbor who disliked Beau had reported him to the animal shelter.  With no time to waste Mom and dad charged for the car and sped away in hopes of reaching the shelter which was about 15 miles away down a congested main highway, in the middle of a weekend shopping day and with several stop lights that could delay them. Somehow, they made it to the shelter before it closed.They divided up the kennels between them and went cage to cage looking for Beau.  As it turns out, Beau must have known they were there because he saw Dad before Dad or Mom saw him.  He started barking and jumping up and down like a crazy dog.  Dad alerted the attendant that this was our dog.  She immediately opened the cage and Beau came out on a run and climbed up dad’s body like a cat climbing a tree to get away from a sworn enemy dog out to kill him. Beau kept on climbing up dad’s body until he reached the top of his head. Once there, he sat down on the top of dad’s skull and wrapped his paws around his neck as if he was clinging for life.  The shelter employee said there was no doubt in her mind that Beau had literally reconnected with his family and calmly said; “Now, that’ll be $100!” Low and behold, Beau was scheduled to be euthanized if my parents hadn’t claimed him in time.

Pop-Coooorn

Crackers and popcorn were popular snacks in our home and Beau quickly learned to ask for them. Whenever someone was snacking on popcorn, Beau would say, “pop-coooorn” and he would be rewarded with a kernel, which he also could catch from quite a distance in the air. One day, Beau was so excited saying and eating popcorn, he coughed and an unchewed piece flew out of his mouth and landed on Dad’s shoulder. I seem to recall Dad just took it from his shoulder and placed it in his mouth, along with a few other kernels he was chewing. You see, Dad always has shared all that he has with his family and in ours, dogs are family, too.

 

On occasion, Beau was moody and wouldn’t always go outside when we wanted him to. He clued us in early on in his life that he liked to chase small animals and birds.  So we added squirrels, grackles, and rabbits to his vocabulary.  To get him to got outside, we only needed to say; “Beau, squirrels,” or,  “Beau get the grackles,” and one day just for fun we told him to go get that rabbit that was in the tree.  Beau stood there and barked for several minutes before giving up.

 

BeauPoolTime4Beau liked to be wherever I was; even the pool. But, he wasn’t like other dogs. He did not like to get wet. Instead, he enjoyed getting on a raft and floating around the pool. [One drawback was that he his toenails, despite their trim, would eventually puncture the float.  So, we replaced many-a-raft over each swimming season.]

 

When I moved in with my husband, it was a place where dogs were not allowed and I could not take Beau with me. Plus, it would have been hard for Mom and Dad because though they gave him to me as a birthday present, I knew he was the family’s dog. One day, Brian and I took Beau to our home.  We had him concealed in a moving box. As we drove through the complex trying to be nonchalant, Beau popped his head out of the box and we were afraid we were going to get caught. Luck was with us and we entered and left unnoticed.

 

In the summer of 2003, Beau had been with us for 12 years.  He was starting to languish and periodically his stomach and bowels would get upset.  One Sunday morning, Beau refused to go outside.  So mom carried him out and sat him down on the grass.  He immediately laid down and wouldn’t respond. She called me immediately and we called our vet who was willing to see us as soon as we could get him there.  And, just as I had carried him as a pup, I wrapped him in a blanket and carried him to our vet.  The vet told us that more than likely cancer was taking him from us and the kindest and most compassionate thing we could do for Beau now was to say our goodbyes and let him go to sleep.  So mom and I kissed him and assured him it would be okay to say goodbye.  And as we held him in our arms, we felt his lifeforce pass on.

 

Jenny, Dad, and Beau in Washington County, MD

Jenny, Dad, and Beau in Washington County, MD

Anyone who doesn’t think dogs are family, too, hasn’t enjoyed the unconditional love and companionship that animals bring with them into the homes of their families.

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