Yesterday (Tuesday) Carolyn lost her little shadow.
And what, may you ask, was Carolyn’s shadow? Well, it was a very special little dog, called Beau.
Around 2007 we had “acquired” a small dog from Carolyn’s daughter Veronica. I say “acquired” in that Veronica and her family had gone on holidays to Disneyland and Hawaii for three weeks and we had been caring for her dog (Sweetie) while they were away. I said to Carolyn, before they returned that perhaps we should just keep Sweetie. Carolyn’s response was to say “but she is Veronica’s”. As it transpired, Veronica agreed and so Sweetie came to live with us. Sweetie was a cross Pomeranian / Papillon.
A few years later Carolyn thought that Sweetie deserved a companion! One day, in 2013 when I was away from home for about four days visiting my mother who lived, and still lives, some 600 kms away, Carolyn, upon my return, said that she had been searching on-line and found a rescue dog that looked suitable, and his name was Beau who was a Papillon. Arrangements were made and the following day we took Sweetie to meet this dog to see if they were compatible.
We arrived at the rescue home, which was simply a private home where the owners looked after rescue dogs until suitable homes could be found for them. There were around six white rescue pups, all around 12 months old running around in the family dining area. They were all fenced off from the hallway and front of the house by a child-proof gate. Introductions were made with the carers and Sweetie and all the rescue dogs quickly introduced themselves and began to play. Almost immediately, Sweetie and one of the dogs scurried outside through a small doggie door and began playing outside.
Meanwhile, Carolyn and I were discussing with the owners about the rescue dogs and procedures involved in adopting one. Beau had been one of a litter of pups rescued. He was about twelve months old and had just arrived after spending many weeks at a vet recovering from the debilitating and life-threatening parvovirus, but was now ok, although a little “waif-like”.
As it turned out, the dog that Sweetie was playing with outside was in fact the one that we had come to see – Beau. All the other dogs were still socialising with us inside and behaving like kindergarten children saying, “pick me, pick me”. Of course, Sweetie didn’t know which dog we had come to see and Sweetie herself hadn’t previously been one to socialise with any other dogs, but it was clear that Sweetie liked Beau(x) and it was meant to be, so that day he came home with us.
Now was his name Beau or Beaux? I always referred to him as Beau with an x. Perhaps, it was simply a kiss at the end of his name, but that was how I always spelled out his name.
Beau(x) could best be described as a shaggy white Papillion with a light tan fur ruff around his face and ears. Beau(x) was the complete opposite to Sweetie. He was shy and timid, while Sweetie was just plain outgoing. Beau(x) wasn’t one to chase after a ball or thrown toy, whereas Sweetie would chase all day. Beau(x) always seemed to have difficulty solving problems or working things out for himself. If Beau(x) was a person you might probably have described him as slow or mentally challenged. Sweetie always barked at other dogs or people, but Beau(x) on the other hand never barked at other dogs or people. He did not have an aggressive bone in his body.
Whenever there were storms and lightning, Sweetie would race outside barking and running around in circles getting wetter and wetter, while being scared stiff of the elements. Sweetie nearly always needed to have a halter on or be tied down during thunderstorms. Beau(x) on the other hand was never fussed or concerned and simply carried on as usual or slept through all the commotion.
Unlike most dogs whenever Beau(x) braved to give you a lick it was such a gentle single lick, barely touching your skin, like a breath of wet air, so that if you didn’t actually see it, you probably didn’t feel it.
Beau(x) just enjoyed being with Sweetie and Carolyn.
Sweetie looked after Beau(x), almost mothering him. But Beau(x) also looked after Sweetie. They would both lick each other’s faces and generally keep each other looking clean and smart and did most things together. Sweetie always craved attention from us, while Beau(x) didn’t seek attention, simply accepting whatever attention was given to him.
Beau(x) of course had his foibles. One enduring one was that he didn’t like to walk on rugs. The carpeted area of our lounge and dining area had, and still has, several scattered rugs and every time Beau(x) would come into that area of the house he would walk around the rugs to sit near us while we were on the lounge, just off the rugs of course, but under our feet. Often he would walk, albeit bending and almost crawling, under a couple of display cabinets, to avoid walking on the rugs. It didn’t matter if you rearranged the rugs. He would simply look over the area and realise they had been moved and walk around them again. It was as if the rugs represented quicksand. If you mapped his travels in the lounge and dining areas you would see that he rarely ever stepped a paw onto any of the rugs, always walking around them, even around the furniture to avoid them. Often he would be resting behind the lounge and when dinner was on, Sweetie would simply race across the floor out to the kitchen, Beau(x) would get up slowly and effectively tip toe around the rugs and pause between the last two rugs before the kitchen, waiting for dinner to be placed in his bowl and then walk between the rugs to his dish.
Beau(x) was always a delight. He and Sweetie would share their beds and they always got on well together.
Beau(x) never complained when he was sick or hurt. He just put up with it and accepted it. You could accidently step on his tail for example and he would simply look up with his sorrowful eyes and seem to say, “that’s ok but why?” We would immediately say “sorry Beau(x)” and he would then just flop back down as if nothing had happened. Beau(x) was the most stoic of dogs. Even when he had most of his teeth removed from the right hand side of his mouth, he didn’t complain.
Beau(x) also had a habit of walking in front of you in the house and then simply stopping for no apparent reason. Of course, that meant that you in turn had to stop in order to avoid him – but we were always aware of this and there were very few incidents.
Beau(x) and Sweetie loved walks around the block and in the local reserve. Once the halter was on Beau(x) he seemed to change personalities altogether. He would think that he was the lead dog of a sled dog team and always started wanting to haul away at great pace and he could really pull more than his weight. After a short while he would then walk at our heels.
After many years, like all things, Sweetie began to slow down and show her age. Sweetie had been about seven when we “acquired” her and she was then around fourteen. We really didn’t think that she would last much longer so we began to think about a new companion for Beau(x). It was then that Pebble entered our lives.
For the next two years we had three little dogs in the house, and then Sweetie passed leaving Beau(x) and Pebble.
Beau(x) and Pebble, both got on together but not in the same way. They were more like simply friends, not besties. They would not for example wash each other’s faces.
Beau(x) turned more and more to Carolyn and would always be on the lookout for her. Often I would be home while Carolyn drove up to the shops. Several hours or so later, Beau(x) would begin to bark as he always seemed to know when Carolyn was coming home. He would begin to get excited and bark when Carolyn’s car was around 100 metres from home. He would continue to bark until the garage door was opened, and it was only then that I would realise that Carolyn was actually home.
Beau(x) wasn’t one to be forward in wanting a pat while Sweetie was around, but after she passed, he would often just nuzzle up to you and press his head into your leg to get a little head scratch or ear scratch.
As Beau(x) got older, he began slowing down and seemed to be getting hard of hearing, although he always knew when dinner was on, but he did get a bit slower in recognising when Carolyn was arriving home.
Beau(x) followed Carolyn everywhere. From the time she got up in the mornings to the time she would go to bed at night. He would follow her around to every room and patiently wait outside (no puppy dogs allowed into bedrooms or bathrooms). Often in the evenings when Carolyn was in one of the back rooms, he would lie down outside the room on the tiles but with his head reaching inside resting on the carpet!
He would always race outside to the backyard whenever Carolyn put out the washing and was always on the lookout for a few raw vegies while dinner was being made.
Beau(x) loved thinly sliced raw carrot as well as any tiny bits of cheese.
As Christmas 2022 neared we took Beau(x) and Pebble for a couple of walks in the reserve. Beau(x) however on both occasions grew very tired after a few hundred metres and had to be carried back.
Shortly after Christmas, Beau(x) developed an open sore on his back right leg. Despite antibiotics and antiseptic washes, the wound would not heal. Beau(x)’s bloods also indicated kidney failure.
Beau(x) was the most delightful of dogs. He might not have been the brightest or smartest, but he was the most lovable, adorable and quiet natured dog, a real gentle soul.
Carolyn’s little shadow is now no more, passing on Tuesday.
No doubt Sweetie will find him and they will be together once more.
As for Beau(x)’s name. His official name was Beau and Carolyn always spelled it as Beau, whereas I always spelled it with an x. Perhaps that was simply my way of giving him a kiss.
Vale Beau(x), a most beautiful, lovable little soul, you will be missed by us both.
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