I got a ton of phone calls and emails about Beauregard yesterday. I tried to focus on how great he was and how lucky I was to have him, even though the time was too short by my standards. He really was a champagne supernova of a dog. Most of the messages were simple. “I’m sorry, he’s not in pain any more”. He’s not, and I’m sorry that dog endured any pain at all. Generally, my response was simple. For those of you who never met him, here’s a quick email exchange with someone who met him at the DPCA Nationals in Denver:
—– Original Message —–
Subject: Re: Beau
> Thanks. You met him, so you know how special he was. Dog like him
> don’t come around very often. I was really lucky to have him in my life.
Yes, I’ll always remember him. VERY special.
You weren’t “lucky” to have him — and he wasn’t “lucky” to have you. It
wasn’t “luck.” The two of you made it happen, you gave to each other. It
was one of those rare matches and the both of you contributed to creation of
a wonderful relationship. Beautiful………………..
Really that was the essence of my relationship with that dog. I would actually be at work and miss him like most people miss their spouses. I couldn’t wait to get home and hang out with him. This morning I was thinking that I was lucky in that I didn’t watch him slowly deteriorate. He was fine two weeks ago, diagnosed on Saturday gone Tuesday night. I didn’t have him stumbling around the house, losing his bowels, incompetent, feeble, gray snouted. He was gorgeous like the day he got here on the day he left. He was lethargic, but still trotting around. Even Tuesday he had fits of brightness. At the vet on Saturday one of the techs told me “I can’t believe he’s nine, he acts like a puppy.” So I didn’t have to go through the old dog stuff with him. It’s hard to remember Xica as a young dog. She had vestibulitis for the last three years of her life. She had lost her mischief and was just Katherine Hepburn dog. I will remember Beau’s last night as a night where he woke me up by tossing that big head of his around until he woke me up. I’ll remember him hogging the entire bed for one more night. I’ll remember waking up with about six inches of the bed to myself and my big boy’s ass on the rest of my pillow.
Beau went to the Bridge Tuesday night because when he woke me at 2:45 am, he was wheezing and gurgling. He’d been wheezing, the gurgling was what got me up. I sat up at 2:45a.m. flipped on the light and watched him and stroked his head. About ten minutes later I put on a t shirt. I stroked his head some more and kissed his head and tried to will him to breathe easier. His respiratory rate was off the hook. I touched his chest and felt his heart racing. I put on a pair of shorts and sat with him some more. It sounded as if he was gasping for air. I guess I was hoping that he would just stop breathing or start breathing right by some miracle. You see, I worked Monday and Tuesday. Both mornings before I left for work I told him to wait for me. He did. Tuesday night, I told him it was ok to go whenever he needed to. I think he was waking me up to say goodbye. When I got to the emergency vet, his respiratory rate was 66, his heart rate was 150. He was going to vapor lock. He was oxygenating at a rate of 88%. That rate should be 95%. At 90% they put them on oxygen. I asked the vet is there was anything to do to give him some relief. Sadly, he was very forthcoming. Beau could be put on oxygen and hospitalized, but the cancer, which filled his chest cavity, would continue to grow, eventually rupturing and drowning him. All while I was trying to get the stomach to make the decision I couldn’t believe I was having to make with my 9 1/2 year old boy. I had them bring him in and I held him and loved on him. I kissed his head over and over again. Then I let them come in. I told him he had been a good dog and that I loved him very much. I held his head against my chest and told him again. I told him to look for Xica. As he left I told him “Godspeed little man.”
I’d like to say this is getting easier, but it’s not. The house is empty. Rita is a petite girl. Beauregard was 76 pounds of male Doberman Pinscher and about 300 pounds of personality. It’s bizarrely quiet when I get up, even though Rita is running circles around me. I’m alone in my office right now. The picture of him looking over his shoulder was taken in my office. He’d sit on my foot and look at me like that until I scratched his chest. If he wasn’t in this room when I was working, he was lying in the doorway or on my bed in the next room. I’m alone right now.
I’d like to thank Judi, Radical and dolphyngyrl for their sweet tributes to my boy. The Brother wrote a very sweet piece for him, Loki’s Uncle is gone. Beau was the guy who showed all the new kids the ropes. dolphyngyrl took some photos of him last year. The one on the “Are you going to eat that?” page is hers. So is this:
He was an epic goofball. There’s a picture that dolphyngyrl’s been holding back because we didn’t want somebody who didn’t understand Beauregard to get hold of it. Right now I don’t give a crap. It’s the essence of his personality.
Sweetpea had a little tiny baby kitten and Beauregard was a little too interested in it. While it looks liked he was going to do to the kitten what Sylvester liked to do to Tweety, it was more just curiosity, and dolphyngyrl’s epic timing. He used to take Broderick, my cat and put his whole head in his mouth. Then Broderick would reach up and swat Beau on the cheeks. I taught Beau the command “Get the cat’s head out of your mouth.” When Broderick died, Beau was despondent. He wandered around for probably ten days looking for his cat. Broderick had gone flat and I had raced him to the hospital wrapped in a towel. I held Broderick in that towel as he died. When I came home, I left the towel in my truck. About a week or so later, I brought the towel in and threw it on the floor next to the laundry room. Beau came up, sniffed the towel and looked at me as if to say “Oh! That’s what happened to my cat.” Beau was remarkable that way.
Beauregard was a clown. He did some of the silliest stuff. My duty was to allow him the space to be a goofball. Sometimes that cross over some lines of decency. But it was funny.
OK, I was drinking when that happened. I should have been telling my dog “No” but I was getting the camera instead. Then there was the New Year’s Eve party. My friend said “Bring the dogs and stay, then you can have fun and not worry.” Sounded good to me. The next morning we’re all sitting around like a bunch of zombies and Beau, who was probably three at the time, was full of piss and vinegar. Their cats wouldn’t play with him, so it was our duty to play with him. He went into the other room and came back with a cat toy. I calmly took it away from him and put it up high. Then he came back with another. And I took it away from him and put it up high. He brought probably 7 or 8 cat toys and each time I took it and put it up high. Finally, he comes in with the foam cat bed in his mouth!
Beauregard was an Amaris Doberman. The name was sold and is now a puppy mill and Missouri. I would never get a dog from them now. I got Beau in October 1999. I went down to Amaris in Little Rock the preceding August to check her out. She had a litter on the ground and the bitch and the litter were living in her kitchen. Out back she had a kennel that housed around 8 dogs, all clean and in good shape. She ran two or three at a time on her large property. Someone showed up while I was there and she said, “I know you’re fine out here, just don’t put your fingers in any of the kennels, but you know that.” Then I saw her husband in the back with the horses. I went back to see what was going on. There were two Dobes back there a male and a female. The male, Nero, had a Jollyball. He took it, shook it and tossed to the Quarterhorse in the corral. The horse walked up to the Jollyball and kicked it back to Nero. And so the game went. I asked her husband “How did you get them to do that?” He said “I didn’t, they just started playing like that.” When she came back I said “whatever you did to get Nero, that’s what I want.” They had a breeding planned for later in the year and she agreed to give me her pick. I was ecstactic. About six weeks later she called and said “I’ve had to buy a dog back that you have to have. He’s Nero’s brother.” I drove down the next weekend. She handed me his lead and he sat on my foot. I said “I guess he’s my dog. I vowed to never get another dog that was smarter than me.” She smiled and said “It’s too late.” And it was. The trip to Little Rock was 14 hours total. That ride home he was to lose his old name of Max and be re-christened Beauregard.
Notice how sweet he sat. And the fact that Xica didn’t kill him that day. She would save that attempt for another day. His first night he was to spend on a bed I’d made for him next to me and the bed. That was not to be. He stirred restlessly until I hooked him up and took him out. He’d fart around, do nothing and then we came back upstairs. I unhooked him and he climbed into my Grandmother’s chair. I took him by his collar back into the bedroom and laid him down. Same thing all over again. Back upstairs, unhook him, back in Grannie’s chair. About the fourth time he did this, I said to hell with it, picked up Grannies chair and carried it into the bedroom. He slept in that chair until last year when I sold the house. I took it outside because it reeked so badly of dog and he began sleeping with me. And I began sleeping teetering on the edge of my own bed.
I carried that chair room to room depending on what was going on and he would climb up into it and sleep in it.
Beau had an obsession with squirrels. He would run from tree to tree in the yard barking at them. He learned to track them from inside the house. One time a particularly clumsy squirrel was making the leap from the palm tree to the mulberry. He hit the mulberry, did a loop and perfect dismount and ended up on the ground right in front of Beau. He was so shocked, he looked at me as if to say “Manna from heaven!” But then the shaken squirrel was gone as quickly as he hit the ground. You could hear the cartoon conga drums playing the exit music. On another occasion a squirrel got the best of him, running him slam bang into a wheelbarrow.
I’ll never forget the vet asking “Is he a show dog?” Thankfully he wasn’t. That was a career ender, unless you’re Harrison Ford or Seal. He spent way too much time at Contra Costa Emergency Veterinary Hospital, which was also his final stop. Every single report I got back, some vet tech wrote “great dog” on his chart. One time he lost a fight with a dog at the house and came home with a heart taped onto his foot.
He had just come home from surgery and was still stoned. Here he is after getting his ass kicked by a pit bull.
He had drains that we didn’t want him to tear out so he wore a t-shirt for a couple of weeks. That made for one pissy Doberman. He hated E-collars and always sulked when he had to wear one. Best of all, Beau was a sport. Always ready to party.
I had a great time with that dog. We went to Denver to the DPCA Nationals, we went to numerous powerlifting meets, we went to Carmel and watched the Raider game at Clint Eastwood’s restaurant. We went to Sonoma for a break and I joked with the massage therapist that we wanted a “couples” massage. He was really over at the local Dog Spa getting a bath. She told me she’d love to have us both. She practiced Tellington Touch. I wish I had. Maybe she’d have sensed the cancer. Things go the way they do for reasons we don’t always understand at the time. I know I was very blessed to have that dog in my life. Poor little Rita is going to have to take up the slack now. I’ll end with Sonofabun’s favorite picture of Beau. The one where he looks like a Realtor.
Now if someone could just photoshop that one up so he looks ten pounds lighter and ten years younger it would be a real Realtor shot.
Godspeed little man. Godspeed.