Beau's Page

Mom & Beau (roll cursor over photo to see another image)
Sophie, Beau and Ranger in the Tour Bus
At 1:30 AM on Monday, January 29th, our three dogs began a frenzy of excited barking. As I dragged myself out of bed I wondered what could be alive out there at almost 20 degrees below zero. When I opened the inner door and peered out I saw the huddled form of a frightened, small dog, surely half dead from cold. It held one of its paws pathetically in the air and emitted a desperate sounding bark, and I realized that this was an emergency. During this cold snap all of our dogs had experienced a strange kind of lameness from frozen paws within minutes of going outside. In all my years of living with dogs I have never seen anything like it. I could only imagine how cold this poor animal must be. He was hovering around the edge of the car, tentatively showing himself, a little head leaning to one side, and then he would growl and disappear. This wasn’t going to be easy as he was clearly terrified, but his need to survive was overriding his fear. Rob threw on a jacket and went outside to rescue our little visitor.
Beau checks out his new surroundings

After extensive coaxing Rob managed to get him into the mini-van where he turned on the heat full blast and I brought blankets, food and water. Still growling and showing his teeth, he devoured a large bowl of kibbles in no-time. It was obvious that he had been on his own for a fair amount of time to be so famished. After that he calmed down and Rob was able to get a collar on him. We brought him into the house where we made him a bed in the cellar with everything he might need for comfort including a marrow bone that he accepted instantly. He went right to sleep and in the morning we began the process of slowly introducing him to the other dogs. First Sophie, our little alpha female, then Chester, the alpha male, then Ranger, and all seemed to be willing to get to know each other. At this point we were able to get a better look at him and found that he appeared to be just a puppy, we thought well under a year old, a pretty hound mix in brown, white and black. We called every possible number to find out if he was someone’s prized pet, but in the weeks which followed no one called and we heard reports that he was thought to be a stray that had been seen running up and down the side of the road since summer.

A week later:

Although it appears that he hasn’t had much socialization, he has responded wonderfully to attention, and has made it clear that he is extremely bright and wants to learn all about being a “good boy”. He is also incredibly playful, practically like a kitten, tossing chew toys and sticks into the air and chasing them, plopping his big front paws down and looking up, begging for a little fun.

Anytime is play time at the Dog Ranch
In just days he has become quite transformed, affectionate, willing to learn, and eager to please. There are occasional growling sessions with Sophie, who is not interested in his advances, and attempts at posturing with Chester. As a puppy he attempts to chew everything, but we are working with him and he already understands that teeth are not OK. It’s clear that his nature is entirely affectionate. He comes when he’s called, gives kisses and seems to listen incredibly well. It makes no sense for us to have four dogs, but the alternative is probably a lonely, joyless life in a crate somewhere, and I couldn’t live with that.
In the short time he has been with us we have already had one deeply bonding experience... Beau almost died. One evening he was not his usual active self, but seemed a bit subdued and listless. By the next morning he didn’t want to rise from his bed and required urging to go outside. By afternoon it became apparent that he was extremely sick, and by evening he was at the vet’s on intravenous fluids and antibiotics, unable to lift his head. At first it looked like Parvo, the deadly disease that can kill a puppy sometimes within hours. Although we had already innoculated him, the doctor said that his immune system needed more vaccinations and time to cope with things the older dogs could handle. It was a horrible night knowing that the dreadfully ill little dog we left at the doctor’s office only hours before could bleed to death overnight from the ravages of the disease or die from dehydration. I guess we hadn’t realized how much we loved him, but I don’t think I slept at all that night between weeping, praying and hurling myself on the floor in agony. It just didn’t seem fair that our bright and happy little friend who’s life was so recently saved could now be swallowed up by such a painful and lonely death. I wondered how he felt alone at the doctor's office in a metal cage with tubes in his leg, barely able to move. I wondered if he thought we had betrayed him, left him at the roadside, abandoned him again. Would the trust we had formed with him be completely gone now, would he now see us as cold hearted strangers?

I never actually went to bed that night but napped on and off in a chair. By eight the next morning I had reached one of the vet techs, and the voice on the other end said, “Wait a minute, let me go check...” It seemed like an eternity, and I fully expected to hear “We’re so sorry, but he didn’t make it- there was nothing more we could do”... but instead I heard the voice say, “Well, he’s wagging his tail and standing up...” It seemed like I had received a brand new life. Beau was still alive! From that moment forward it just got better. The tests came back negative for parvo, as well as for several other diseases, so we treated him for a severe intestinal infection. Since the other dogs were all fine, we decided that in all likelyhood he had encountered a strong strain of some virus on the road to which his young system had no resistance. Clearly, his health was compromised when we first found him, but that would all be changing now. Within a few more days we were able to bring him home and he gradually got back to his enthusiastic, turbo charged, puppy self. What had changed forever was a far deeper connection to this beautiful “little man” who had come to us, perhaps so we could be together and continue to learn yet more about the power of love and connection between living things.

Now Beau is learning to trust humans, is becoming socialized, and is developing a sense of routine and structure that comes along with family living. It now seems that each of the dogs has become more precious to us through various experiences which have increased the love and deepened the bond. All of them are my “miracle dogs” in one way or another.

Mom tries to nap in the bus, but is interrupted by special visitors
Dear Friends,

Since Beauregarde (Bo) came to us in January it has been one adventure after the next. From a stray dog without a collar or a friend, Beau has become pretty much the center of our lives. Chester, Ranger and Sophie have not been particularly pleased (in fact they were downright disapproving at first), but I’ve talked with them about the situation, explaining that mommy couldn’t just let Beaux die in the cold, that he had to be taken in, that he had no home and needed a family, and though it meant lots of inconvenience, posturing, irritation and adjusting, they all seem to be figuring out that at least for the time being this new energetic pup is in their space.
Beau tries to interest Sophie in his squeaky, green chew toy - Sophie is not impressed
Although we assumed that Beau would be adopted in no time, amazingly, no one has claimed this handsome, intelligent little guy and in the time he has been with us we have grown to love him. Beau is a hunting breed, mostly hound, quite good looking, has a nose that can sniff a kibble through a cement wall, and is now in wonderful shape and growing.
The nose that can sniff a kibble through a cement wall
Daddy says he has “big bunny feet” and that means he’s getting larger. He weighed 47 pounds when we found him and was thin and obviously underfed. We took him to the vet, had him neutered, de-flead, de-wormed, innoculated and examined, and after one close call (described above), he is now thriving. He is incredibly savvy, can open a door with his feet, can leap straight up into the air and land gracefully on a fence rail or counter top (not always such a good thing when food is out), and has a bag of tricks bigger than the state of Nebraska. He has a puppy’s insatiable appetite for playing and has no end of charming poses and interesting verbalizations which he uses to challenge and incite.
He has large hound eyes that can soften the firmest resolve when he’s asking for forgiveness or can strike fear in your soul when he wrinkles his brow with the junk yard glare. He has a huge, deep throated bark and a flawless eye for activity around him. If something’s up, Beau knows it even before Sophie, and that’s saying a lot.
Beau's favorite perch on the dash