Preface: I’d been told that when you’re in recovery, it was a good thing to get a dog. I had no idea what I was in for, or what a huge commitment I was making! 🙂 Over the years, I was going to observe and learn a lot from my two doggies, or “kids with fur”, oh yes, a lot!
I bought Beau from my cousin, while she was working as a long distance trucker. She also bred Shih-Tzu’s. Her mom and dad brought Beau to me (via a long drive on her mom’s lap) from WV to FL when Beau was only 6 weeks old.
I don’t recall if my cousin told me this, or it just seemed to me to be the case, but Beau must have been the runt of the litter. Always quiet and unassuming, he would let the other puppies walk all over him. At least that always proved to be the situation when we introduced him to our spirited and challenging female Shih-Tzu, Lou-Lou.
Lou-Lou was about a year old when a friend of mine convinced me she should have a playmate or mate as it were. I actually registered Beau with AKC under the name, “Lou-Lou’s Beau”.
Lou-Lou was the alpha of the two. They had two litters of puppies together when Beau was about 2 or 3 years old. My cousin told me to be careful that Beau didn’t hurt the puppies. But that never happened. Beau would help Lou-Lou keep all the puppies clean. He was the best dad!!
I had both Lou-Lou and Beau spayed and neutered after that second litter. Later we would come to learn that an accidental pregnancy (too soon after her first) would put severe strain on Lou-Lou’s health. She lived to 12 years of age, mostly because we ate an excellent raw diet and because she was so strong-willed. She had always experienced recurring bladder issues (which meant lots of trips to the vet for us), and finally succumbed due to a combination of complications from arthritis, infections, and more.
Conversely, Beau, has always been easy-going. He’s so polite in fact, he waits to be invited up on the couch! (Now I have to lift him up on the couch). Up until this year, he wouldn’t remain on the couch when I would get up for a few seconds to grab a drink or something! (I have to lift him from the couch to the floor now). He has never had an accident in the house, unless ill. He never barks. He never scratches anything. (Well, he did a couple times, no idea why). He never begs. Okay, maybe a little! He’s really just the perfect “man”. LOL
Beau has taught me much about life, and continues to. He never sees a stranger. Beau is totally the social butterfly! 🙂 His eyesight has deteriorated now, so his behavior has changed some. He is more concerned with the smell of things than who is walking near us. But he used to make me a tad bit jealous, because he could just take off, go to anyone, and leave me behind without a second thought. In fact, I am quite sure of that. I am the one that superimposes my human ideas onto him.
Beau introduced me to many of our neighbors, some even when they were outside (and did not have a dog)! He’d just go over as far as I would allow (on leash) and stand, until I acknowledged the neighbor, or admonished Beau that it was time for us to go home.
He’s more fond of adults than children but he’ll put up with kids petting him – though he gives me a look sometimes like, they’re not his type! LOL. Of course he’s always gentle. Only rarely does he come upon another dog that he doesn’t like. I always find that amusing and feel it must be a “vibe thing“.
When we had to say good-bye to Lou-Lou December 2012, Beau never missed a beat. He didn’t display any sadness. Perhaps he knew it was just time. I think he’d really known much sooner than I that it was time for her to “move on” to another plane of existence. At any rate, he seemed relieved.
She had always shared food and they ate together well, but she had to get on the shared doggie bed first, get it all ruffled “just right”, before Beau could lay down. When I came home from work, she had to be on my lap first, get leashed for walking first, absorb the most of my time, and grab all the attention (she was a barker) with neighbors and other dogs when we walked. Many of our walks were stressful just because she would bark and carry on when other dogs walked by. I even took her to doggie training to try and curb her behavior. It worked – for awhile.
Now, all the focus is on Beau. And I promised Lou-Lou it would be – on our last trip to the veterinarian.
I had to fight many battles for her with different veterinarian’s over the years as her bladder issues reoccurred. I developed anxiety over even having to take her to the doctor. I had to learn it was never about me. It was always about her and I had to determine eventually that my intention was the same as the doctors we saw – to help her whatever we had to do. Granted everyone has to make money but for the most part, those who I had accused of just wanting to make more money from me, well, maybe they just didn’t know any other way to treat her than do many tests (eventually we did all the tests we could) but I struggled with that – a lot.
In the end sadly, to help her – when on top of everything her arthritis was too much for her to even allow me to gently bathe her – the best I could do for her was to make that final decision.
For a year, I had carried her up and down our steps for every walk because she couldn’t make it on her own. Now, I carry Beau as his eyesight is failing him. But thankfully he is pretty healthy otherwise – no arthritis.
My intention continues to be ensuring the best quality of health and life for Beau and I believe I’ve found the best healthcare providers to partner with me. Thank you so much Dr. Rumore and Lisa at Lake Seminole Animal Hospital. Your “petside” manner and love for animals is heartwarming and so very important.