To Our Beaux With Love
Nobody wanted the whiney one. That included me.
I had no desire to foster a puppy. It was October 2001 and for the past several months, we were a foster family for several Golden Retrievers as members of Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue (MAGRR). Many of the dogs had been rescued from bad or abusive situations. We took them in and gave them as much love as three children could bestow and some much needed discipline and training. Some stayed for a short time and some longer. It was very fulfilling to see them be adopted into their forever home.
I had returned recently from my sister’s funeral. She died at the age of 43, her body ravaged by cancer. Exhausted, sad, emotionally drained were just a few of the feelings I was experiencing. There was a dire need for foster families for goldens and the children begged for a foster puppy. MAGRR had rescued a pregnant dog, Angel, and she gave birth to her litter while being fostered by another family. All the pups were either adopted or fostered by other families, except for one. The children begged continuously, but I knew who would be taking care of this pup. Having a puppy is just like having a newborn in the house, except they chew everything in sight. I just didn’t have the energy to do it. The children wore me down and promised to take care of everything. I gave in.
He was the only one from the litter that was left. From the moment I saw him, he was a mess. Crying from his enclosed pen, covered in mud and no telling what else, he was literally a mess. No one ever said it, but I knew the reason he was the last to go. No one wanted the whiney one. We brought him home and the first order of business was a bath. He was so small we decided the sink would do. He screamed through the entire bath, clawing to get away, shaking water, suds and dirt on me and everything within a five foot radius. I still have scars on my arms from his first bath.
What would we name this whiney…and, okay, adorable…hot mess of a puppy? My first instinct was “Willy” as in “Willy Whiner”. That was voted down. The next suggestion was “Beaux”. It suited him and paid homage to our Louisiana roots with the “-eaux” spelling. Beaux it was.
I was determined to crate train this whiney wild thing and arranged to borrow a crate. I equipped it with all the comforts a puppy could want for his first night away from his mama and in a new home…a soft fluffy blanket, a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and I even found a wind up clock to imitate the tick-tock of a heartbeat. Bedtime came and we all said our goodnites and into the crate he went.
Jaime and I didn’t even make it to bed before the whining started. I pulled the covers over my head and did my best to ignore the whimpers and barking. I made it about two hours before I gave up. Jaime was not happy with me, swearing that I would ruin Beaux’s training forever if I gave in. My thinking was it was better that one person should be up all night than the entire family. It was dark when I went into the kitchen where Beaux was in his crate. I opened it, intending to take him outside to run around and hopefully wear him out. Out he jumped covered in poo and pee and proceeded to track it all over the kitchen. Beaux didn’t know it, but he broke the cardinal rule of the crate…dogs don’t poo in the place where they sleep! All bets were off.
I chased him around the kitchen and finally caught him, but not before he made a huge mess! I needed help. I hated to do it, but I called for Jaime to come help me clean up. Jaime had no idea of the mess Beaux had made. He was locked, loaded and ready with his “I told you so!!” speech when he stormed into the kitchen, stepped into a Beaux mess and slid halfway across the kitchen. I laughed so hard that I cried! After a few minutes I got Jaime to laugh too. There we stood with a messy kitchen, a dirty puppy and a filthy crate. For the second time in one day Beaux endured a bath, screaming and clawing the entire time. After everything was cleaned up, including Beaux, he slept on a pillow, on the floor, on my side of the bed. He was fine as long as I kept my hand on him. We never put him in a crate again.
Keep in mind that Beaux was a foster dog. That meant that we would take him to adopt-a-thons and show him off until he was adopted by a forever family. The day for the first event arrived and Beaux was clean, brushed and sporting a cute bandana around his neck. The children were understandably sad. They had become so attached to this whiney puppy! As we prepared to get in the car, the tears started and the children begged to keep him. I was in the minority. This ball of fluff even won Jaime over. I finally relented and told the kids they would have to pool their allowance to come up with the adoption fee. They would also have to contribute to a fund for food and veterinary bills as well as exercise, clean up after and train him. I won’t say how long those rules lasted. It was done. Beaux had found his forever home.
The years that followed were filled with happy times. Beaux learned how to walk on a leash, mind his manners, fetch the morning paper and went with us on camping trips and vacations. His whiney ways never went away. He hated to ride in the car. I suppose he must be claustrophobic. Medication never helped…he would just whine more. He hated water and would not swim. I guess we should have known that after the first bath! Beaux grew into a handsome dog with a gentle disposition. He was very friendly and never knew a stranger. He was always waiting at the door with sloppy kisses and a wagging tail.
Beaux is fourteen years old now. Old age has taken its’ toll on him. Arthritis has worn away his hips and stiffened his joints. Even on his bad days, he wants to go for his walk. He moves so slowly, but we take our time and let him enjoy it. He can’t hear much and his eyesight is cloudy. His face has turned white with age. He needs help getting up, but still doesn’t miss a meal. Beaux and I have frequent talks about going to heaven. I don’t want him to hurt anymore. He sleeps a lot now. Sometimes he lays on his pillow and his legs gallop while he dreams. I wonder what he dreams about…maybe chasing squirrels or bunnies. I tell him that heaven will have all the critters he wants to chase, sunshine and all our pets that have gone on before. I suppose our fur friends like to know that it’s okay to go, that we will miss them, but we’ll be okay. He looks at me with sweet eyes and nudges my hand for a scratch behind the ears. On his really good days, he likes getting out in the sunshine. He is still handsome. Every now and then he will catch the scent of a cat or another critter and perk up, ears turning to try and find the direction of an intruder. I want to remember him that way…a sparkle in his eye, nose twitching in the wind and sunshine on his back.
Nobody wanted the whiney one…least of all me! I guess God knew better and decided I needed something to focus on during that terrible time fourteen years ago. Lord knows that Beaux needed lots of attention! He was there for many happy times and also some very sad times, always ready with kisses and unconditional love. He won me over. He won my heart. Beaux will forever be my boy.
Rest in Peace my precious boy, your Mom
So do not grieve for me, my friend, as I am with my kind…
My collar is a rainbow’s hue
My leash is a shooting star
My boundaries are the Milky Way
Where I sparkle from afar.
There are no pens or kennels here
For I am not confined
But free to roam God’s heavens
Among my special kind.
I nap the day on a snowy cloud
With gentle breezes rocking me
I dream the dreams of earthlings
And how it used to be.
The trees are full of liver treats
And tennis balls abound
And milk bones line the walking ways
Just waiting to be found
There is even a ring set up
The grass all lush and green.
And everyone who gaits around
Becomes the “Best of Breed.”
For we’re all winners in this place
We have no faults you see.
And God passes out the ribbons
To each one—even me.
At night I sleep in angels’ arms
Their wings protecting me
And moon beams dance about us
As stardust falls on thee.
So when your life on earth is spent
And you reach heaven’s gate
Have no fear of loneliness
For here, you know I wait.
The MAGRR Board of Directors extends sympathy to the Yanes family for the loss of Beaux and gratitude to them for all of their support through the years. Beaux was a member of the very first litter that MAGRR every whelped. He was so special along with the Yanes family. They were fabulous fosters until they moved away. They were willing to take one dog after another and did an excellent job of molding them for their new families. We were happy when they decided to make this little guy a member of their family. Rest in Peace sweet Beaux and we know that you are flying with the Angels and we will see you again.