Your Pet Loss Stories

'Sweet Beau'

by Tessa

I got my dog, Beau, eight years ago from a litter of free pups my in-laws had. He picked me. He was the last one left and he'd always follow me around when we'd visit. My husband, Brad, let me bring him home and he became fast friends with our dog, Belle, who was actually from his mother's litter. He was so pretty. A lab/boxer mix, but he looked like a yellow lab, but with a pink nose and green eyes. He was a funny, awkward dog. He never really figured out his space in comparison to the rest of the world. He'd always run into things. He made piggie-like, grunting noises when he'd greet you. His favorite toys were 20 ounce bottles, so we never got him real toys, but he'd try and get into the cars in hopes of finding a new Pepsi bottle. He loved sticks, running, being patted on the head, and us. Beau always made us laugh.

My husband was obsessed with getting an engine out of a Geo to be sold. He was in such a hurry to get the job done that he left anti-freeze out in his pole barn. I've fussed at him numerous times for careless things like this. I'd gone out to get something in the pole barn and noticed a bucket, but thought, "That can't be anti-freeze. He wouldn't be stupid enough to leave that out." Those were the exact words that went through my head. I closed up the barn and went inside. My husband came home and left the barn open as he and my son went to the lake. Belle chose to hang out in her kennel and Beau was just wandering the yard like always. They never strayed from the yard, so we never worried too much.

Brad came home and put them in their kennels for the night. Both dogs were their usual happy selves. In the morning when he went to let them out, Beau was having seizures in his cage. I knew immediately that this was bad. Brad said, "I left antifreeze out." I didn't know what to do. I couldn't breathe. I was so angry with my husband as soon as those words came out of his mouth. I was sick with worry over Beau. I got on the floor with him and was petting him and telling him how I loved him so. I could tell that he was hearing me. He still had a hold of himself. Brad and I had to hoist his cage into the truck and I remember only being able to touch his nose. Brad immediately took him to the vet, who my family has been seeing for over 20 years.

Then came the waiting. I was so angry. Mad at myself for not covering the bucket, rather than just shutting the barn. Mad for not thinking it could be poison. Mad at my husband for having hobbies that can harm the family and for being so negligent. Mad at the stupid Geo that he was selling because I just hated the vehicle. I was never mad at Beau, though. Brad called and the vet had given Beau a 25% chance of making it through the ordeal with extensive treatment, but he'd never be the same. It wasn't the money because we would have paid anything. He was too good a dog to put him through anymore and have him maybe live, and certainly never he himself. The doctor said he'd always have kidney problems, among other ailments. We made the choice to have him put down. I was sobbing telling Brad to stay with him and tell him he was a good boy and that we loved him.

Brad had always had a love/hate relationship with the dogs. He'd gripe about the money they cost in shots and sickness and boarding. They were always underfoot. They chewed up things and barked in the middle of the night. I'd tell him that he'd miss them if they were gone and he always had a smart comment. But, he'd play with them and pet them, and whenever they needed something, he'd make sure it was taken care of. When he walked in the door, I wanted to lay into him about the times I've told him to keep the barn safe. I wanted to scream at him about that stupid Geo being more important than his family. I have never been in a greater state of rage than I was at that moment.

When he walked in the house, my tough as nails husband was a total disaster. He'd been sobbing since he left with the dog. He stayed with him and told me they looked at each other until Beau's last breath. He could hardly speak as he told me all that the vets had done and what they'd said to him. He said that he couldn't believe how upset he was and that he's always loved all our animals, but complaining about them was easy. There was nothing I could say to this man that could make him feel any worse than he did. He said, "It was my antifreeze. I never thought he'd find it." He told me when Beau passed, his seizures were stopped. He was very calm and just like himself. He said that he died very peacefully and quick. He knew that he was loved very much.

We had Beau cremated. He looked awful when he left. He was too beautiful to be buried looking that way, even though Brad said the vets cleaned him up. The ashes are still at the office. I have to get them tomorrow. We're going to put some in my flower bed, along with a 20 ounce bottle, where he and Belle would dig behind my hydrangeas to lay in the dirt. Some will go in the driveway where he'd always sun himself, and some will go on our bluff. He liked to sit on the bluff and watch the day pass by. I'm going to hold onto the rest and, when the day comes that Belle has to meet him, I'll put the ashes together and bury them in the woods. They got into a lot of trouble together in the woods. We asked the vet to give his cage to an animal rescue group. They were very kind and said they'd be happy to. They told us that they didn't want us to pay for anything that day and have called us twice to see how we are doing. I appreciate that they understand our loss.

It's a process, the sadness. It's still very new to me. Belle is sad, but seems more concerned about me than herself. She follows me around, but is never right under my feet. It's like she wants me to know that she's here if I need something. My kids keep asking about Beau. I tell them he's in Heaven with Uncle Larry. My husband and I have fought and cried and tried to pretend that nothing has changed. Nothing helps too much at this point. But, it is nice to know that we both miss him. He wasn't just a dog and I'm not expected to just get over it. I hate it when people tell you it was just an animal and to get over it. Beau was pure love. Sunshine with a wagging tail. My baby boy before I had any babies.

Beau was sweet and silly. A real good boy. We will love him forever and I'm glad, that in spite of this one stupid mistake, we gave him a very happy life. He sure made us happy, too.

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