Sadness

When I woke up this morning I knew our little dog Beaux was gone. You see it was so quiet and I did not hear his nails scuffling on the floor of his bedroom. My daughter had built him his own bedroom made out of a baby bed we found at a garage sale for $5.00 after we first got him. Beaux was two years old when he came into our lives and from the moment we set eyes on him, we both knew he was a perfect fit for our home and lives. He greeted us as if we were long lost friends and he wagged his tail and let us know he wanted to go home with us.

Beaux was not a rescue dog in the sense of the word and yet he was. I wrote about him in my diary shortly after he became part of our household because he lifted our spirits in a way that my daughter and I badly needed. My husband, Kim’s father had died two years earlier after a long illness and we had both thrown ourselves into working on our home to get through the grieving. When he died, we had another rescue Yorkie that I had saved from an early death due to heartworms. He had shown up at our house in the middle of a thunderstorm, wet, bedraggled and a hungry mess. We named him Shags because he always looked Shaggy regardless of how much I brushed him. He was eight when he came to us, and he died almost five years later. His heart had been damaged by heartworms, but he was given a good chance at life and was my husband’s companion in his last few years. Neither Kim nor I could face getting a new pet companion for some time but then Kim decided she really missed having a dog. Kim and I were doing all the construction on our house together and at last we had got the house far enough along where we could set up a safe place for a dog again. Kim decided it was time to add to our family.

When Beaux became part of our home he was a ray of sunshine on a dismal day. He made us laugh a lot and that was what we both needed. I wrote about him soon after and this is Beaux’s story as he became part of our lives. To the ladies who read this blog I want to say thank you all for letting me know how much you cared when I first announced he was sick. Pets are not just pets. In my mind they are the spirits of people as they always know just what we need. This was how much Beaux meant to us.

When Beaux arrived October 2005
King Beaux

He came this year into our lives
The cutest dog I know
We welcomed him, he gave us love
A funny dog named Beaux

He rules the house and makes us laugh
He’s there when we feel down
He wags his tail and barks hello
For us he wears this crown

So now our world is happy
Each day he makes me sing
And so I’ve proudly crowned him
A royal and gracious King

Linda Kilpatrick

My thoughts of Beaux, December 15th 2005

When we said good bye to Shags eighteen months previously, neither Kim nor I thought there would be another dog in our lives. Trying to keep a small dog in a house without walls was really hard and Shags had always had the run of the house in we used to live in, but this house wasn’t set up for a small dog to run around freely. We were worried for his safety. Shags may have been a small dog but he had the soul of a brave warrior and nothing scared him at all and he resented being kept to a small part of the house with child safety gates to curb his wandering.

After Shags died we both felt terrible sadness but at the same time we felt happy that he was at last with his master Pat. I look back at the last years of Pat’s life and know what a wonderful gift Shags was for Pat as although he had never been an animal lover, Shags meant a great deal to a lonely man who was at the end of life. A four legged friend can be a wonderful companion and Pat grew to love him very much.

As time went on and we began to add more walls to this house Kim often mentioned how much she missed Shags and would like to get another Yorkshire terrier. With so much work to do we kept putting it off as there seemed so little time for anything else in our lives, but a couple of months ago she decided that there was never a ‘right’ time to add a new member to our household, and the best way was to do it and figure things out afterwards. The problem was that money has been so tight and as she looked on line through hundreds of ads she found they are expensive running $500 without papers. Papers weren’t important to us, but price was, so she kept on looking.

She handed me many pieces of paper with phone numbers to call to ask details of one terrier then another and even $500 dogs without papers sold far too quickly. We began to wonder if we would ever find one but kept on hoping. We decided on a female because Shags could never be replaced, but our minds were open just in case another male came along. About 4 weeks into our search we found one but weren’t sure about it because the price was definitely right but the dog was a male and wasn’t a young puppy and who knew what his personality would be as a full grown male. We never had to make these decisions about Shags because one day he showed up at our house during a bad thunderstorm, wet and ragged looking, without a collar or I.D. and begged for love. We couldn’t find his owner and after a couple of weeks of weeks of searching I took him to the vet, got his shots and was told he was seven or eight years old. Shags had already shown a loving personality, who wouldn’t hurt a fly and so he became ‘our dog’ and a new home he had.

As we drove into the west side of Houston these thoughts were being shared with Kim and she felt a small amount of in-trepidation as well as I. We finally arrived at a small apartment where this man had not just one dog, but 4 dogs all of different types and sizes. I think Beaux was the only full breed but we couldn’t see the others because they were all kept in the small living room in dog carriers of various sizes. When we drove home later we both shared how funny it was to see the tiniest carrier moving from side to side where his obvious tiny dweller was raising hell at total strangers daring to cross his thresh hold. The man met us outside with Beaux on the leash, and then we went inside to a room full of hair raising hell where three dog carriers of all sizes were filled with barking noises that would definitely raise the dead. Beaux was happy to be out of his now empty cage and was running circles around our legs trying to get our attention.

Finding a dog to share one’s home isn’t an exact science of course as basically all you can do is size each other up and give it a whirl. I have no clue what Beaux thought of either of us, but his tail was wagging ferociously and when I reached to pet him he didn’t take my hand off. Two pluses for Beaux! Two bad minuses were how bad he smelt and how hunks of matted fur hung around his shoulders as if he had some hairy growths. However he was cute enough for us to overlook these problems at least until on the way home and he was’ stinking’ us out of the car.

The man had advertised him for $250 and said he had his papers which he pulled out with all Beaux’s other records, medical etc; We were surprised that a blue and gold Yorkshire terrier was still available at that price until we got there and saw the deplorable conditions of his housing and the way he looked. After all most people have a vision of a cute fluffy puppy all clean and cuddly (including us) and Beaux didn’t fit that description at all. He was stinky, matted and almost two years old, which would put off normal people but of course we aren’t normal. One look at the situation and we felt it was our duty to rescue this dog even if he it meant doing more work than we had planned.

When Kim handed the man the cash, (garage sale money we had been saving for a cash emergency) he wrote the receipt and handed Kim back $25 of it and told us he had been battling cancer and knew the dog needed grooming and upgraded shots. (The second day we had him, we took him for his shots.) He also dug out items he thought we could use to get started including food. It was easy to see that the animals had been this man’s world during a time of struggle and although living in those conditions was terribly unfair to them, we could tell he loved them all very much. He stated that the apartment owners were fining him monthly for keeping too many dogs and that was why he was selling Beaux.

So, with papers and a sack of necessities in hand and a small dog dragging us to the car, Kim and I proudly added Beaux to our lives. Actually not too proudly at that time as the smell was enough for us to pass out when restricted to a small car environment. We had had the sense to buy a pet carrier in advance, (actually we had picked it up on clearance a few weeks earlier in preparation for a new pet in our lives) so we managed to shove him inside after a bit of a battle. That surprised me as I figured he would go inside easily after what he had been raised in as his home. However, now I get to thinking about it, it makes sense as I would do battle if someone shoved me inside a small carrier. However safety is a must and a small dog moving around a car while traveling can be an accident waiting to happen. In the past we had bought a car carrier for Shags and he always traveled in safety and we also noted how it made him settle down and go to sleep to be in a soft, safe environment.

Kim began the drive towards the house, but the smell was wafting towards the front of the car from the back seat, and we knew we had to do something about our very matted and smelly new friend. We had to pass a big new pet store before going home, so she stopped to ask about getting him groomed. I stayed by the grooming station while she went to get his papers, but felt a bit sad as I watched a small dog get all his hair removed and he looked very sad and bald. When she came back they said his shots weren’t up to date and they couldn’t bathe and groom him until they were and the in-house vet was closed for a couple of hours. They also told us shaving all his fur was the only way to clean him up and although the smell was killing us, we both felt relieved that they couldn’t groom him that day. Instead we stopped by a store on the way home where Kim ran in for shampoo and other things we thought we’d need while I stayed in the car with Beaux and then we drove on home.

We had also had the sense to preplan where to keep a new little dog in a house that was still under construction and we had bought in advance an outdoor closure that was designed for toddlers to be placed in while out in the garden for safety. We hoped it would work to keep our new dog in a safe and sound environment while we worked or slept. When we arrived home, Kim went inside to set up the new play yard, while I began introducing Beaux to our grounds around the house. He hadn’t had much introduction to grass as his other owner had said he let him out on his small concrete patio to do his necessaries. While outside he did a lot of tugging and smelling but quickly dragged me to the front door as he had been raised an inside dog and inside he wanted to go.

When we walked in the door, I picked Beaux up and placed him in the pen while Kim watched him and I went to run a bath and gather everything up to hopefully turn him into the cute little dog he was supposed to be. Together, Kim and I poured nice smelling stuff onto an awful smelling little dog and as the warm water hit his skin, the smells were overpowering for us and “poo!” could never describe what we smelt. After a few rounds of shampoo and rinses and a whole lot of nice smelling detangle, we wrapped him up in towels and rubbed him dry enough and let him shake off the remainder of water in his pen. Then the plan of action to get the masses of mats had to be thought of so we scooped him back out and I worked cutting out the masses I knew couldn’t be combed out, while Kim tried to hold him still. At last he smelt a whole lot better and had enough trauma for one day so we petted and fed him and allowed him to settle down in his new home.

Nothing is easy when taking a pet in your home, but Beaux made it as easy as possible for he turned out to be a wonderful personality whom we also recognized as wouldn’t hurt either of us no matter what we had to do to clean him up. Slowly but surely, I’ve cleaned him up and removed all the mats from his coat and he’s turned out to be a very cute little dog indeed and seems to welcome being clean and brushed and shows explicit trust in my hands.

He is far more energetic than Shags was as he was around 13/14 years old when he died. Even so I thought Shags was still pretty energetic at the end of his life until I met this one. Trying to keep a very smart little dog entertained has been a task and Kim picked out some toys we had around this house that hadn’t sold on Ebay. One is a wireless remote control car designed for a toddler and Beaux loves to attack it. We’ve also picked up various dogs toys and things to throw and play with and he is like a small child when we bring him home a new toy. Excited and claims it as his!

After less than two months it seems as if Beaux has always been a part of our lives. He’s a good traveler and now accepts (with a much smaller struggle) that a carrier is a must in a car and he settles quickly after I hand him a treat through an opening of the zipper. We now have a routine where he lives in a nice enclosure with feather pillow and warm blankets when it’s cold, while we work or sleep and we get him out throughout the day to play and eat. Kim built him a nice play area from a used baby bed from a thrift store, than she cut off the legs and removed the base so he is directly on the floor. We have trained him to his new surroundings and although he does complain for attention from time to time, he also accepts than he must be kept safe and sound and he can watch us work through the slats of his pen.

About the name Beaux! His previous owner had given him the registered name Manolito after a Spanish bull fighter. He called him Manno for short, but the name just didn’t work for us. After much deliberation we changed it to Beaux as if we had bought a female we had planned on calling her Bella. So perhaps one day Beaux will be Bella’s beaux. At present a second dog is impossible to think of, but in due time and a good fenced in area of the yard, Beaux may get his Bella. Who knows?

In the meantime, Beaux is home and he makes me want to write again. That is just amazing to me!

Thank you for reading Beaux’s story. We will never forget him and in time the pain of him leaving will lessen.

Beaux’s illness was sudden. We had no clue even though he had always been healthy and went to the vet every six months for a check-up. It was less than 3 months from then until his death and I want any dog lover to know about heart congestion in dogs. My daughter tried everything to save him and I think all she did kept him living this long. But we both wonder why vets do not tell dog owners about this serious issue which effects 30% of dogs, all breeds. Had we known we would never have bought commercial dog food. I spent the last three months cooking his food and we gave him a lot of supplements. Beaux never stopped eating and he seemed really good except for the extreme coughing. I know one day we will open our home again to another dog who needs a loving family, but what we learned this past three months can never be unlearned.

I wrote about Beaux as soon as we knew what he had wrong with him. You can read it here

4 Comments

  1. Brenda Patterson

    Loved reading about Beaux! RIP! A sad day at your house I am sure.

    Reply
  2. Kim

    I loved reading your story about Beaux. It is clear you and Kim loved him dearly. I have had a really heavy heart today as I think about you and Kim. You both, I feel so close too and I know how hard this can be. I have lost 3 dogs in the past few years, they all hurt but not as bad as my dear snickers. I had to put Casper down (he was actually one of snickers) we thought he might have rabies, even though he had, had his shot, but tests came back that he had a brain tumor. It changed him overnight. This was in 2007 I believe. Then in 2009 we had gotten a puppy for Derrick for his birthday. I can’t remember what kind she was but she was tiny and so cute and hyper and snickers did not like her. A year later, a month after we had her fixed, she someone got into out neighbors yard and there 2 BIG chows trampled her, she was bad, by the time I got her to the vet, I was running into the office with Rascal in my arms yelling help me, as she died in my arms. I actually cried worse over that than I have snickers, as I said I will not let myself mourn. But today I have been thinking a lot about snickers, a tear has been sneaking out every now and then as I think about her and I think about you and Kim. Some don’t realize how much a pet can mean, or that a pet is more than a pet, they are a part of your family. I know it is hard, ad lonely, but I know you and Kim and you guys are strong. Just know that I am here grieving with you and give you my love on this sad day.

    Reply
  3. sylvia

    Dear Linda and Kim,

    Beaux was very special, I am so sorry and sad to hear that you lost him today. I know your hearts are aching. It is never easy and my thoughts and prayers go out to both of you. Thank you for sharing your journey with Shags and Beaux. <3

    Reply
  4. Virginia

    My heart goes out to you and Kim, for your loss, thanks for sharing your journey.

    Reply

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