It was my idea to get a dog. I mean, we did discuss it together, but I pushed for it-the way that I do-for most things that I want or want for ‘the children’ or ‘our family’. JC did all the research and we settled on a labradoodle for breed, then set out to find the actual dog. It wasn’t long before we found the Warbington family in North Georgia. We went to meet them and their dogs and puppies. I remember that it was instantly clear that Beau was meant to be ‘ours’. We could not take him home right then, as he was not quite old enough. Mini Me and The Middle Child were so excited. We were all so excited. The Baby would be one at the end of February-just after Beau would come to live with us. We had done lots of research to make sure that a labradoodle would do well with children-most especially a baby-who would be pulling his hair and tugging on him most of the time. We needed a dog that was 100% kid friendly. We bought an extra large dog crate because Beau’s father was huge and we knew that meant that Beau had the potential to also be huge. We readied our home for Beau just like any expectant parents and counted down the days until his arrival. While we were waiting, we caught one of those unexpected curve balls that life has such a bad reputation for throwing at the most inopportune times. JC lost his job. I questioned whether we should actually go ahead and get the dog-but only for a brief moment. We had already met Beau! The children would be completely heartbroken if we just up and canceled their puppy! Of course we forged ahead and brought Beau home. We knew that everything we would work out, and guess what? It did!
The first few nights, I wondered what the hell I had gotten us into. We had decided to crate-train Beau. I likened this to teaching a baby how to sleep in his or her own bed-something I had not been successful at with Mini Me, and was already proving to be a colossal failure at with The Baby ( The Middle Child slept on her own, from day one). We put the crate in our kitchen and Beau cried and cried the first couple of nights. It was pure torture (for me, at least) to hear him crying and yelping. Unlike either of our human baby boys, Beau’s crying lessened with each night that passed, until one night-maybe just five or so in, he curled up in his crate and just went to sleep! The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should purchase a crate for The Baby since his crib was not working at all…
Beau had a sensitive stomach from Day One. He threw up a lot. I don’t do throw up-human or canine! I find myself gagging and dry heaving while trying to clean it up! The fact that JC was not working was an added bonus! (Of course, JC did not see it that way! LOL) We finally found a food that would work for Beau. It was, of course, a special, organic, $60-per-bag, food that we could only buy at a particular store that was nowhere near our house. Go figure. I bitched about this constantly. I will stand behind my right to bitch because I was trying to raise three children. One of those children was a year old. The other two children were in two different schools. I had lost over two liters of blood during the birth of The Baby, and had been given no blood transfusion. I had been pretty much a maniac for about 6 months, and was still running around half-cocked most of the time (I know, I know-what has changed?). All I needed was a high-maintenance puppy. I was high-maintenance enough, myself! I certainly did not need any competition. I really think that we should have taken Beau to obedience school, but we opted to ‘train’ him ourselves. He let The Baby pull on him and hang on him and hit him and poke him and pinch him and do all the torturous things that a one year old will do to a dog. Beau never, ever even so much as growled at The Baby (he growled at me quite a few times LOL). In the first few years, we really had to be careful about leaving the door open, because if he got out, he would tear off down the street and we could not catch him. He was faster than a bolt of lightning. He would run and literally bounce up and down the street. We had an elderly neighbor who he would undoubtedly run to if he got out, and he would scare the shit out of her-every time. He would jump up on her and then bounce around her. We would run out of the house, calling his name and yelling for him, and our neighbor would be yelling…it got to be quite funny-to us- after the first time or two ( I don’t think our neighbor ever found it to be very humorous). Beau wouldn’t have hurt a fly. His size and energy scared people who were easily frightened by dogs. When he had just been groomed, he was majestic. If I had him out with me on my walk, I usually had at least one person stop and ask about him. He loved to ride in the car, too. JC would say, “You wanna go for a ride, Beau?”, and he would run to the door. He liked to ride in the front seat. It was pretty hilarious. He always looked like a really tall person with really good posture, sitting there in the passenger seat.
Beau would come and tell me when he needed to go out. I swear, I thought that one day, he would actually say to me, “I need to go out”. He would come to me and step from side to side on his front feet and look at me, really intently. If I was doing something and not paying attention to him, he would growl, but not a mean growl, it was a growl-talk. I am serious-I really expected him to talk one day! If I did not get up at the growl-talk, he would eventually bark, but it was rare that he had to do that. I seemed to be the only one he could communicate with that way, but I did not know that for years. I thought that surely he went to the kids or JC the same way, but he did not-only me. He would circle the inside of the house and go downstairs if he needed to go out and I was not there, but the growl-talk was special for me. When he would come and growl-talk to me, I would say, “you need to go out, Beau?” and he would turn around and run down to the door. We understood each other perfectly.
Beau pretty much sucked at “Catch”. I mean he did not get it at all. He wanted to get it. He loved to have the ball thrown for him to go get, but he did not want to give the ball back! In fact, he refused to give the ball back. We had to always have two balls. We would throw one and Beau would go catch it and come back with it in his mouth, but he refused to let go of it. We would have to throw the other ball and then he would release the original ball. It was always very frustrating for the human side 😉
Beau had a very bad sweet tooth. We found this out one day when I had made a cheesecake for a family gathering. I had set it on the top of the stove to cool. I had pushed it all the way to the back. Beau was only about 8 months old at the time, and I thought nothing of leaving the cheesecake out while I ran upstairs for five minutes. I came back downstairs and found a completely empty springform pan! Not a crumb was left anywhere. It was as if I had not even made the cheesecake at all, and had simply placed the springform pan on top of the stove! At first, I could not figure out where the cheesecake had gone. This had never happened before. It took me a few minutes to put two and two together and figure out that Beau had pulled the pan to the front of the stove and devoured the cheesecake, in its entirety, leaving nary a crumb. Needless to say, I was thoroughly pissed off. Now, I had to make another damn cheesecake! This meant I had to go to the grocery store, re-buy the ingredients, and re-make the whole damn thing! Damn IT, Dog!!! UGH!!! I did it, though. A couple of days later, Beau ate half of a Hershey Bar Cake that was on the counter. Neither the cheesecake nor the Hershey Bar Cake made him sick. We had to train the children to hide their Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, and Easter candy. If Beau was in too big of a hurry, he would not unwrap the candy and we would come home to piles of dog throw up with candy wrappers all in it. If he could manage to control himself long enough to unwrap the candy, he did not get sick. It was always a dead giveaway when Beau had unwrapped the candy because he left smeared chocolate on the wrappers, and I guess it was just too much for him to throw the wrappers in the trash can LOL 😉 Usually the children put their wrappers in the trash. I came home one day, to a dozen Rice Krispie Treat wrappers in and around Beau’s crate. Somebody had left the laundry room door open and Beau had helped himself to a large snack. I always took great pleasure in snapping pics of the evidence and texting them to JC while he was at work, usually with the caption “YOUR GD DOG!!!”….
Beau loved the water. We could not let him out when we were using the pool because somebody would have had to get him out every single time, and eventually he was too big for that. His paws would have sliced the pool liner up. He could swim the length of the pool very quickly! If he got out of the house, and the kids were swimming, he would just jump right in.
Most of his life, Beau threw up occasionally. My brother has Beau’s brother and my daddy has Beau’s half-brother. They also throw up occasionally. Our vet knew about the throwing up, and was not concerned. When the throwing up got worse this fall, I changed his food. It helped for a few days. I changed it again-this time to gluten free. I really thought I was on to something. I was not. It got worse. We took Beau to a new vet, who said that he was healthy. His blood work was perfect. We tried a new, fresh food that was only good for four days! The last time he ate anything was December 12 or so. We took him back to the vet and let them do an ultrasound and x-rays. This time, the vet found a mass in his stomach and it was determined to be cancer. We decided to bring Beau home and take things day by day. The vet said that she thought we would know when it ‘was time’. On Friday, December 30, 2016, we took our beloved Beau to Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists. We got to go in a room with him that was cozy-with a lamp and some chairs. They brought in a dog bed and a blanket. We each hugged him and talked to him. The doctor came in and explained what she was going to do and asked if we had any questions. We didn’t. We had all been crying since before we got there. She left the room and came back a few minutes later. She gave Beau a sedative shot. He sat down on the dog bed. He had on his red sweater. The doctor asked us if we wanted it. We said no. I had just gotten him that sweater a few weeks earlier. We really just wanted his collar-NO!-we really just wanted HIM. Beau was getting sleepy and she gave him the other shot. He went down slowly, just like he was going to sleep. The doctor checked for his heartbeat and it was gone. She left the room. The Middle Child threw herself on the floor with Beau and I thought I might die. I could hear The Baby crying. I looked up and saw Mini Me’s sweet face, and my heart was breaking over and over again. The walk to the car was like walking the green mile-only our sentence was going home without our Beau.
I can’t bring myself to put Beau’s dishes away-they are still in the kitchen. His crate is still in our bedroom. If I talk about him for more than a few minutes, I will cry. I didn’t know how attached to Beau I was. I complained about him all the time. I was the one who who did everything for him. I let him out, and back in. I took him to the vet. I fed him and made sure he had water. I was the one who cleaned up after him. I did not like the way he smelled. I did not like it when he barked at people walking down the street. I did not like it when he got on my bed. I am ashamed to say that I was one of those people who would scroll through my Facebook feed and every time I saw a post of someone else’s dog or cat, I would roll my eyes and say, “don’t they have anything else to post about? ” I am no longer such a horribly insensitive Cruella DeVille. When we took Beau to be put down, I felt as though we were putting down one of our children. We had him one year less than we’ve had The Baby! He was part of our family. The worst part of it is that I don’t get a chance to change and be a better human for Beau. He really was a good dog-a sweet dog. I wish that I could come home and catch him on my bed…maybe with a bunch of Rice Krispie Treat wrappers all over the floor…..