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"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too".  (S. Butler)

BEAU'S FIRST FLOWER POT ADVENTURE: maybe this wasn't the greatest idea....
...I thought there might be something interesting at the bottom of the pot....

I think I might be in a wee bit of trouble...
beaumud2.jpg was fun for awhile....

...oh oh.....
...did they say "bath"?...

Beau's Medical History
Initially, Beau had some minor health problems.   I thought they were pretty weird things.  For instance, he had a hernia and it kept getting larger so when he was "fixed" at 11 months old, we had it removed.  He was never in any discomfort but it was quite large so it was thought that it was best to remove it.  One day he was laying in the kitchen and he started to cry and of course I freaked.  He was about a year old and when I started looking for whatever had caused the pain he seemed okay.  After a few hours of these sudden outbursts that made him sound like he was in extreme pain I finally discovered the source.  He had ripped off his dew claw.  I took him to the vet the next day and from his reaction I guess it was pretty bad.  The vet was asking me all kinds of questions like "How did this happen" and such.  I remember feeling like I was some kind of "dog beater" because I guess my answers weren't good enough.  To this day I have no idea how he managed to do it.  The claw never grew back in and he was bandaged for about a week.  Poor baby!
The reason he did not like to get into the truck/car was because his stitches came loose after he got "fixed".  I had to take him back to the vet and as he tried to get into the truck he hurt himself further.  He was 11 months old and he must have remembered it for the rest of his life. 
It seems that a lot happened when he went in to get "fixed".  I decided to have preliminary x-rays done on his hips.  I remember the vet putting the x-rays up for me to see and his telling me that both hips were bad.  I remember trying to be strong and asking all the right questions as I cried.  The poor vet was brand new and very young.  I don't know what he must have thought.  It was like someone telling you that your child was disabled.  I cried like a baby for poor Beau.  I was so afraid for him and for us.  We had done what the breeder had told us.  He was given Vitamin C everyday of his life and he was carried up and down the stairs for the first 4 months.  I did not understand what had happened.  I was told to wait and see, perhaps he might get better.  After moving to a new city and getting a new vet I decided to have his hips x-rayed again.  The vet had said that he noticed that Beau walked like he had problems with his hips.  Well the results came back and there had not been any improvement and indeed Beau had a fairly bad case of hip dysplasia.  His right was worse than the left but both were in pretty bad shape.
And so began the rest of Beau's life where he slowly over the next few years was unable to go for walks over 10 minutes and he no longer ran in the back yard or chased the ball.  He had to eat "diet" food from then on as we had to keep his weight down.  Not too many treats and especially nothing "fattening".  

Beau as an adult....
...weighing at his largest...165 lbs.

Over the next 6 1/2 years Beau seemed to do okay.  Rarely did his hips give him any major trouble.  Of course, we were really not sure because he did not let on whether he was in pain or not.  As I reflect on those years, I realize that we adjusted to meet Beau's needs.  I don't think we were ever conscious of it.  When he seemed to need more help or when we knew he was tired we just did what we needed to do in order to make him more comfortable.  I remember when we would walk through the park and then stop and have coffee and then walk back through the park. Then suddenly it changed and I remember parking outside the coffee shop and just sitting outside having coffee while Beau laid beside us.  When did these changes occur?  I'm not sure now, it was just the natural progression, I guess. 
There are a few things that stick out in my mind over those years.   His life went on and he was as comfortable as possible and he seemed very content.  Oh, he liked to eat weird things.  We always found out, usually much later, that he had eaten something he shouldn't have.  Knee highs, doilies and kitchen sink pot scrubbers.  The worse for him and for us was corn on the cob.  He had gotten into the garbage at my sisters barbeque.  We thought nothing of it until a little over a week later.  He would get ill every morning at 4:00 a.m. and he was like that for a week.  He was okay for the rest of the day.  Then I noticed that he was straining to go to the bathroom and he became very lethargic.  I took him to the vet and he checked him out and indicated that he couldn't find anything wrong.  Tests were done and the bill was over $200.   I didn't mind as long as Beau was going to be okay.  I did mind about 1/2 hour after we got home.  Beau let me know what the problem was.  I followed him into the backyard and discovered that he had eaten a large corn on the cob and it had not broken down in his system.  He was finally able to get it out of his system but he certainly must have been very uncomfortable for quite awhile.  I wish that I had waited a couple of hours before I went to the vet!!
We learned never to put a plastic bowl of water out for Beau.  He would pick it up and fling the water all over and chew the bowl to pieces.  Stainless steel only, for this guy.  When Beau had a drink of always had to have a towel ready.  He would store the water in his jowels and it would leak out of his mouth in the form of "spittle" (as I called it).  Towels were a normal thing to hand our guests whenever they walked into our house.  When going for walks he always wore a scarf (to keep him dry) and we always carried a towel to keep ourselves and strangers dry.  It was incredible to see how Beau could cover ceilings and walls, both in the house and in the car, with "spittle".  Some people would say that they could not handle that, but for me it was one of Beau's more endearing traits.
Once, we took Beau to a Newfy picnic.  There were about twenty Newfs there and Beau just hung out.  He liked to watch.  Well, they played a game that I know Beau will never forget.  It was called 'who can eat the glass full of hot dogs first'?   Beau was getting older and I was getting softer, so we decided to enter the contest.  I don't know who was more excited, Beau or me!  It would be the first time that Beau had ever had a hot dog and I was so excited for him.  When they said go.....I dropped all the hot dogs!!  I guess I was the nervous and excited one!!  Beau quickly scrambled around the ground and got all the hot dogs but I think I may have cost him the win.
I thought I would list some of the important things to know about Beau during these years.
PERSONALITY:  Gentle, good natured, independent, lazy,  quiet, obedient and clever.
FAVORITE GAMES:  "Shake a paw" for treats, tummy rubs and mostly ear rubs.  The last two games consisted of who would give first.  By that I mean, who would get tired of the game first.  I never won. 
BEAU'S FEARS:  Vaccum Cleaners, small "yappy" dogs and slippery floors.
HABITS:  Snored loudly, walked backwards out of rooms and wiped his face on furniture, walls and ceilings.
BEAU'S FAVORITE JOBS:  Entertain strangers, therapist and cleaning kitchen and living room floors.

"If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one".  (Andy Rooney)

I had always told myself that because Beau was an extra large dog, I could only hope to have him with us for nine years.  I had consciously decided when he was very young that if he was with us until he was nine then I should count my blessings for each day that I had with him after that.   When he was 8 1/2 he had his first really bad bout with his hips.  He cried for the first time and he was unable to get up.  After seeing the vet, getting medication and rest, he got better.  Then one night I had to get up because there was a loud bang.  Beau was trying to stand up, but each time he fell over.  He had no ability to know which way was up or down.  I did not think it was his hips but we called the vet and in the morning he sent his assistant to our house to pick Beau up.  I went to see him at lunch and then after work for the next couple of days.  The vet felt that it indeed was his hips and gave him more medication. I was angry because he wasn't nine yet and I wasn't prepared. After two days he was slowly recovering and he was able to get up and walk on his own.  I got to take him home.  I was so relieved.  Now we needed to make a sling out of a blanket and whenever he went up or down stairs we helped him using the sling.  Beau took all of this in stride and life went back to normal. 
 Mike had always wanted to take Beau with him fishing.   That idea had never panned out, given Beau's hips.  I had heard that sometimes an older dog feels younger when there is a new dog in the house to play with.  I also wondered if it might be a bad thing for an older dog.  Too much stress.  Well, Mike and I fell in love with Kobi at the local shelter.  We decided that because Beau was so laid back,  he probably wouldn't be too stressed if a new pup joined the family.  And so Kobi joined our family.

Beau's new brother.....
Kobi at 12 weeks

"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us".  (R. L. Stevenson)


Note: I know these details seem uneccesary, but I need to write them down.  I need to tell Beau's story.  And that includes his last hours.
Beau turned nine in April, 2000 and I tried to remember to count my blessings each day.  Beau was doing okay and would have some bad bouts but after rest he always seemed to "bounce back".  He would become lethargic and not want to move but he would eventually start moving again.  We learned to just leave him alone and let his body heal.  At the beginning of July we got word that my 104 1/2 year old grandmother was not expected to make it.  She had stopped eating and usually that is a sign that they only have a few days left.  A few days later we notice that Beau was becoming lethargic and not moving much.   
When Beau began having trouble with his hips the previous year, I had started to get into the habit of talking to him and asking him to give me a sign if he was too tired and wanted to go to heaven.  Of course I would cry like a baby each time I thought I needed to ask him this question.  There wasn't a sign and this time I asked him the question and still there wasn't a sign.  There were other signs that Beau was not doing too well.  I wonder now if I just wasn't paying attention because I was concerned about my grandmother or whether I was trying to ignore the signs for fear of what they meant.  I thought his urine looked red and I would look and I couldn't really tell, so I ignored it.  I ignored many things that later would make me wonder if I could have changed the outcome. 
Gramma passed away on  Saturday the 7th of July and her funeral was scheduled for the 11th.   That weekend Beau started to loose control of his bowel.  I thought it was because he was unable to go outside because it hurt him  to walk.    On Monday, I started to get concerned and thought that I would see how he was doing by the next day.  On Tuesday when I got home from work I realized that Beau was not doing well and that it may not be his hips after all.  Why it took me so long I will never know.  Perhaps, it was meant to play out this way?  I called the vet and they wanted to know if I wanted to bring him in right away or first thing in the morning.  It was 5:00 in the evening and I really thought it could wait.  We were able to get Beau outside but he laid down immediately and stayed in that spot.  We sat on our deck for the next couple of hours and I constantly checked on him.
  He had not eaten much in the previous days and he had not eaten anything at all that day.  As the next few hours passed I realized that he was getting worse.  I made him some rice and chicken and he turned his nose away from it.  (Mike and I had started spoiling him in the past year...treats, people food, you name it Beau had been getting it.)  I tried to give him a dog bisuit which was his favorite and he wouldn't eat it.  His gums where white and I began to panic.  I asked Mike to call the vet because I knew I couldn't.  I was too upset and in the past when I had called the vet all I could do was cry, so I needed him to do it.    It was 8:00 and we left a message for the vet to call us.  He called back right away and Mike told him what was going on.   It's funny how I was the one to know that there was something terribly wrong and it wasn't so clear to Mike.  I think Mike thought I was overreacting at first.  The vet didn't seem too concerned and thought it could wait till the morning, but said that if we wanted, we could call him back and he would meet us at his office.  I felt better knowing that we could take Beau to the vet's if needed.   I continued to monitor Beau. 
His breathing was becoming shallow and he was not moving at all.    I think I went into shock, somewhere around 9:00.  I remember holding Beau and looking up at Mike and saying "You need to call the vet...Beau is dying".  I knew and when I said it, Mike knew.  He raced up the stairs to phone the vet who immediately agreed to meet us.  I remember Mike saying to him "Don't worry we'll manage to get him there somehow".   

One of the last pictures taken of Beau...
just weeks before he earned his wings

May I go now?
  Do you think the time is right?
  May I say goodbye to pain filled days
  and endless lonely nights?
  I've lived my life and done my best,
  an example tried to be.
  So can I take that step beyond
  and set my spirit free?
  I didn't want to go at first,
  I fought with all my might.
  But something seems to draw me now
  to a warm and loving light.
  I want to go. I really do.
  It's difficult to stay.
  But I will try as best I can
  to live just one more day.
  To give you time to care for me
  and share your love and fears.
  I know you're sad and afraid,
  because I see your tears.
  I'll not be far, I promise that,
  and hope you'll always know
  that my spirit will be close to you
  wherever you may go.
  Thank you so for loving me.
  You know I love you, too.
  That's why it's hard to say goodbye
  and end this life with you.
  So hold me now just one more time
  and let me hear you say,
  because you care so much for me,
  you'll let me go today.
(by Susan A. Jackson)

The next 45 minutes seems so surreal.  Mike and I gathered blankets and slid them under Beau as we lifted him onto the back of the truck.  As we lifted him, his head and his legs dangled.  He did not even try to put weight on his own legs or try to stand.  That is when I began to cry and I don't think I was able to stop crying for hours after.  I remember getting to the vet's office and it was dark and we were the only ones in a large parking lot.  The vet came out and started to examine Beau in the back of the truck.  I guess there was no time to try to get him inside the office.  I heard the words cancer and transfusion and maybe, maybe, maybe..... 

Now it was up to me.  Mike said he would do whatever I wanted to do.  He didn't care how much it cost, he was with me whatever my decision was.  Beau's life was in my hands.  The vet left to give us a few minutes to decide.  I went to Beau,  held him and spoke to him and he lifted his head for a moment and so I asked him "What do you want me to do"  and in that moment I knew.   Remember, I had asked him for a sign and I had never gotten one.  Later, I realized that he gave me a sign at that moment.  Beau looked at me and made very clear eye contact.  He then laid his head back down. Beau never looked anyone in the eye.  He always looked away.  Oh, his eyes would follow you around a room but to actually make eye contact...never. 

And so we carried Beau into the vet's office and we laid him on the floor.  I held him and hugged him.  I told him how much I loved him.  Both Mike and I were with him and he peacefully went to sleep.  For a very long time I found it difficult to believe that he hadn't just gone to sleep.  After he earned his wings I stayed with him for awhile and I remember thinking that I needed to get up and go.  I didn't want to go, but I thought that if I didn't I might loose it, and that they might have to pry me away from him.  I found the strength to get up and walk out the door.  I don't know how I found the strength.  Perhaps Beau found the strength for me.

I thought about how I had been preparing myself all of Beau's life for the nine year mark. How after he turned nine, I was thankful each day that I had him in my life for one more day.  I thought I had prepared myself for this day and I realize that there is no way to prepare yourself for this.  I miss him so much.  I know that I will never be the same.  Beau taught me so much about unconditional love, responsibility, respect and compassion. Lessons that make me a better person.  Sometimes I think about whether I was a good mom or not and I know deep down that I could have done a better job.   I also know that Beau would say that I was a great mom.  For he loved me for who I am, no matter what I did or didn't do.  When I made mistakes he forgave me and who can ask for anything more.  Take care, my sweet baby, until me meet again


by Jimmy Stewart

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile.

And before very long
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.

And there were nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.

And there were nights when I'd feel this stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.

And now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.

The essence of Beau...
One of the many reasons we loved him so much


Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me,
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you
One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you
First thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl
Then I'd unplug the telephone
And keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second
Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do. With one more day with you
Leave me wishing still for one more day...
                                                              (Diamond Rio)
We love you Beau.  We will never forget you.

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