(Beau was a real-life pet; the best imaginable. After his loss, I penned this little tribute.)
It was a pleasant summer day in Florida. Sally and her husband were just coming back from a dog breeder. In a small pet carrier rode the teeny, tiny, runt of the litter, eight-week-old puppy. The beige coloring of the Cocker Spaniel was completely to Sally’s liking as she sat in the back seat along with her newly adopted treasure.
The “buff” color pup was the runt of the litter and the natural choice for Sally. She held the little pooch in her loving arms, planting little kisses on his soft little head. For Sally, it was a match made in heaven.
Sally named her new adoptee, “Beau”. Once home on the four-acre property, Beau would have plenty of room to run and explore. The new pup took to his new surroundings like a fish to water. The house-breaking training started immediately and the new pup caught on within a week as to where to make his toilet, namely, outside.
The pup took to Sally immediately, being sure to follow her, indoors and outdoors; right behind her wherever she went.
As Beau grew and being a perfect gentleman when it came to his potty runs, the two were soon inseparable. Sally’s husband Carl took to the new pup also but it was clear from the beginning, Beau was Sally’s new “son”.
On the recliner, Beau would jump up and wiggle himself a place on Sally’s left side. When Sally got a small pet stair, Beau found himself welcome in the family bed at night.
Each morning Carl awoke before Sally, he would see Beau glued to Sally alongside her on the bed. Sometimes he would be resting his head on her pillow right next to hers.
It was obvious to Carl he had been somewhat replaced as the man in Sally’s life.
After some time, Beau had acquired another demonstration of his love for his new parents. He would walk right up to where Carl laid on the bed, look him straight in the eye, then, rest his head sideways on Carl’s chest.
Nothing could have better demonstrated Beau’s affection for Sally and Carl.
He was a big help when one of the two cats in the house, Harpo and Chico, would cross the line as to where and what they were allowed to do. A harsh word directed at either of the cats would cause Beau to come to his feet, adopting a stern pose at the feline transgressor, or just chase them off to another room.
It was Beau’s house now and the cats would just have to accept the new pecking order.
Things went along marvelously for the couple and Beau. But, as is so true in life, tragedy struck just a year and a half after adopting the buff-colored Cocker Spaniel. While doing yard work, Sally’s husband suffered a massive heart attack.
With the loss of her lifelong mate, it was a good thing Beau was around. He served as a comfort to Sally, often times perhaps wondering why his mistress held him so tightly while sobbing.
Two and a half years went by with the bond between Beau and Sally continuously strengthening. Sally loved it when the staff at the pet clinic oohed and aahed over the amazingly long eyelashes Beau sported. He was quite the attraction whenever being given and exam or receiving his standard yearly shots.
It was one day when Sally realized Beau might have gotten past the fence bordering Sally’s property. Sally could find him nowhere after she saw him sitting and looking towards the road that ran along her small farm.
She started to worry some and considered going to find her beloved pet. It was then her heart rose into her throat as she saw her neighbor, Mr. Garrett, walking along her driveway toward her house. In his arms was the inert Beau.
Sally expressed fear and thankfulness as Mr. Garrett helped put the still alive Beau into her SUV. With tears in her eyes, she drove as quickly as possible to the veterinarian’s.
With sadness overcoming Sally again, the greatest companion she had ever besides her husband could not survive the injuries when he had obviously been struck by an automobile. For the second time in two years, she had lost a close and dear friend.
It took time for Sally to adjust to now being alone on the farm. She tossed and turned at night, wondering whether she should look for a new four-footed companion – perhaps a larger dog for security purposes anyway.
It was some six months after Beau’s passing that Sally was just wrapping up some back yard gardening. She had collected some fresh vegetables from the small plot in back of the house. But, Sally was no longer a young woman.
When carrying the small basket of vegetables, Sally lost her footing on the step just before the porch level. She lost her balance, instinctively trying to hold onto the veggie basket. This was her undoing.
She slipped on the top step, stumbled to her left the catapulted over the stair rail, falling some seven feet to the ground below.
Sally screamed out in pain, realizing she had probably just broken her hip. The pain was excruciating. Here she was, injured badly, in tremendous pain and crying out, in spite of no one being able to hear her.
She agonized that maybe this was the end for her since the shadows of the day were lengthening and dust would soon turn to darkness.
Several times she attempted to move by the pain was too much. She again began to cry; crying for her lost husband and her lost pet.
The darkness came.
Sally made a few more attempts to move without success. She began to resign herself to the thought that this is where she would die – alone and without anyone or any animal to help.
A few times when moving the pain caused her to pass out. It was after one of these events she laid in the darkness, now looking up at a star-filled sky above. If this was to be her end, so be it.
She made peace with her God and waited.
It must have been close to midnight when she again awakened. She heard someone calling out, “Sally?”
The voice got nearer and then a moment later a figure approached her in the dark.
“I just might live today” she thought happily.
By this time a man had reached her side.
“Sally, Sally!” came the voice. In the dim light of his flashlight Sally made out the face of Mr. Garrett leaning over her.
“My, God, Sally,” the man cried excitedly. “What’s happened here?”
Mr. Garrett tried to comfort Sally but then ran to the inside of the house. Sally could soon see her kitchen lighted up. Then she heard Mr. Garrett, apparently on the phone to emergency personnel.
After some minutes Mr. Garrett returned to Sally’s side.
“They’re on their way, Sally. Don’t try to move”
The ambulance seemed to take forever to reach Sally’s rural location. The people on the ambulance got her secured as gently as possible on a stretcher. They then walked her to the front of the house and into the ambulance.
It was the first of two weeks that Sally would be away from her home as the doctors put her hip back into working order but the rehabilitation would take a month or more.
It was nearing Christmas time when Sally was able to get back to her home. In spite of the medical patch job, she was still moving around with two canes, just to help the healing process. Sitting on her porch, bundled against the chill winds of the season, Sally sat and contemplated her life.
What would she do out of loneliness now?
While wrapped up in the emotion of her situation, she saw a vehicle come onto the property. She recognized the aging pick-up truck as that belonging to her neighbor, Mr. Garrett.
As the two shared greetings, Mr. Garrett had a small bouquet of flowers in his hand, carried them up the front steps and giving them to the smiling Sally.
“A little bit of spring time in the winter, Sally” he said.
For a while Sally poured out gratitude to Mr. Garrett. First, for finding Beau injured and bringing the injured pet to her. Secondly, it was his coming to her aid that one fateful night.
“You are indeed a blessed neighbor, Mr. Garrett” Sally said to the 70-something older man.
“If it hadn’t been for you I probably would have passed away right where I fell”
“Well,” came Mr. Garrett’s response,
“don’t thank me; thank Beau”
“Thank Beau?” Sally asked.
“Yep,” replied her neighbor, “if it hadn’t been for Beau I never would have found you. You know, after he got hit on the road out there, I didn’t know if he had come out of it, since we haven’t seen each other in a while”
“Wait, Mr. Garrett,” Sally said, “what do you mean if it hadn’t been for Beau?”
The neighbor let out a belly laugh.
“Well, you read about how smart some animals are. I never would have known you were hurt if it hadn’t been for Beau. That night, while you must have been laying out back with a broken hip, Beau showed up outside my kitchen door – wailing away like a stuck pig. Just kept barking for so long I finally opened the door to see what was bothering him.
I gave him a look and asked him what was wrong. Of course, he couldn’t answer, just kept barking at me. I took a step towards him to pet him a little but he turned away, then ran off some dozen feet or so – then came back, barking again at me, then turning and running again a short distance.
It seemed he wanted me to follow him. Didn’t know why. So, I grabbed my flashlight and followed him through the dead corn patch. By the time I reached your property and saw you lying there he was suddenly gone. Pretty smart pooch though, I’d say”
Sally was just silent for a few minutes. Then looking at Mr. Garrett, said, “Mr. Garrett. That day you brought Beau to me after being hit on the road out front, I took him to the Vet”
“And, so, he got better, huh?” asked her friend.
“No, Mr. Garrett. No. Beau died from his injuries the next day”
Mr. Garrett just stared at Sally.
“Are you telling me, Sally, that it wasn’t Beau that came a yapping at me that night?”
“That’s what I’m telling you, Mr. Garrett” was the somber answer.
For a while the elderly neighbor stared at Sally. Then he looked off into the distance as the impact of her words hit him.
“Well,” he said again, with a furrowed brow, “they say the Lord works in mysterious ways”
A little more of talking about it and Mr. Garrett made his way homeward It was then Sally vowed to herself she would call on the man more often in the future.
After some months, Sally found a new pup to raise, naming the boy dog Beau, just like his predecessor. Sally even felt that when she looked into the eyes of her new companion, it was Beau’s eyes that looked back.
The Real Beau