Burton's breeder asked how he turned
out. This is how I responded. My message was emailed on Sat, Dec 13, 1997.
from John Sullivan of Boston Bouviers, Burton's breeder:
I want to know if he maintained his socialization as he grew
out of puppyhood.
I want your opinion of him as a Bouvier, and your opinion as to how he measured up against
other Bouvs. I want to be sure he maintained 'Type'.
I want to know if you were happy with him and if he was a happy dog. How old was he when
he passed away, and from what. What maladies did he have as a dog.
everything. I want to know how he turned out, his personality, his size, his head, his
brains, his body, his color (I knew what he was as a pup).
to John Sullivan's Questions:
Let's see... everything.
Well Burton was a character all unto himself. He grew tall, probably over 27" &
weighed 110 lbs. @ maturity. His coloring was grey brindle. You may remember that I got
him to be a companion for my older Bouv who was 10 & slowing down. Burton, much to my
delight, kept Bogart going for another 2 yrs &
Bogart taught him many things. They used to go off for walks together daily and
strange as it sounds, in 8 of the 9 yrs that Burton was with us, I never ever saw
him go to the bathroom on our property. Go figure.
He had a delightfully clever personality which always surprised us.
The doors to our home have "L" shaped door handles -- rather than round ones. To
open the door, one pushed down on the handle & pulled the door open. Our home is
alarmed & a couple of times we were called by the alarm service to say that the police
had responded to the alarm going off.
When we'd rush home we'd find that all was well except the back door was not totally
closed. Since we live in a very safe community, we thought we had been careless &
nothing more. Then one day I was reading in the kitchen & Burton walked past me to the
door, jumped up, pushed down on the handle, pulled the door open & went out. He
returned 5-10 minutes later. So much for our alarm system.
He loved to play ball and when friends were visiting he would entice them to play. He
wouldn't take "no" for an answer & developed very clever routines to get the
game going. First he'd drop the ball at someone's feet. If they didn't respond, he went on
to the next person. If that didn't work, he would drop it in their laps, again first one
& then the next & so on. This behavior escalated until one day, sitting by the
pool, I watched as he went to the side of the pool & tossed the dirty, yucky, ball
into the pool.
Forgetting who we were dealing with, one of my friends got up for the net to fish the ball
out of the water and so Burton had figured out how to get the game going. It was his first
"stupid human trick" & we all had a good laugh.
He was all kinds of fun to have around.
Burton loved to ride in the car & he was very athletic (never fat) & agile. At
times, particularly on the weekends, my wife would go to her car to do errands only to
discover that Burton was in the back seat waiting for her. He had gotten in by
jumping straight up & through the open window without putting a single scratch on the
side of the car. If he determined that the ride was too short for him, he stayed in the
car. We left the door open for him, not wanting to encourage a window exit from the car.
Sooner or later he would join us when he had had enough.
Burton had friends; all kinds, shapes, colors,
denominations. He had no prejudice. Frequently the group would stop by to pick
him up for a short walk on the wild side. I don't know where they went or what they
talked about as the toured the neighborhood but within a half hour, Burton was always
There were two friends who stood out amongst the many -- Patti & Tony's Cagney & Lacy, a couple of white, West
Highland Terriers. Burton was fully grown when he met them as pups. For the
introduction, they were put in their carrying case & placed on the grass. Burton
strolled over, looked in the case, smelled it for a second or two & lifted his
leg. So much for social graces, but they became the best of friends.
Burton never let Cagney & Lacy off the property, always herding them back to the front
lawns when they strayed too far. He took them down to the stream & pond to show
them how to have fun in the water & mud. They played together, ate together
& rested together. Before subsequent trips, when Cagney & Lacy were
asked if they wanted to see "cousin Burt", they would jump around wildly &
bark knowing exactly where they were going. It was a funny sight to see.
Never once did Burton raise his voice to Cagney & Lacy nor hurt them in any way.
He was their jolly gray giant.
There are many other stories like this but suffice it to
say, these few illustrate his intelligent, clever, distinctive, gentle & charming
Conformation wise I would say Burton probably would have done pretty well except, perhaps
for his height. His head was well proportioned to his massive chest and athletic build.
His bite was fine. I never showed him, John, not for any particular reason, just lack of
time. But whenever we ran across another Bouv he stacked up well against them.
Burton was a love & we loved having him. When he died we were heartbroken so much so
that we couldn't deal with having another dog for a couple of years. I had been raised
with dogs all my life & I, too, couldn't get over him enough to get another dog. We
still have his ashes & before we move from our home, we will scatter them in the
stream that he loved to play in most days. For the moment, he sits in a marble vase
in our bedroom.
During his lifetime, Burton was as healthy as a horse. He had a slight prostate problem
early on & we had him neutered to avoid further problems in that area. But in his 9th
year, Burton wasn't feeling well & it was determined by x-ray that he had a large
internal infectious cyst. We tried all kinds of antibiotic therapies to no avail. Weeks
went by. While Burton remained at the hospital we visited him every day & I even
tried to bring him home to see if that would make him feel better.
Finally it was determined that the cyst had to be removed surgically. It was in a
difficult position right under his spinal cord. The surgeon operated and, although it has
never been confirmed by the vet, I think he nicked the cyst & some of the infectious
matter leaked into Burton's system. We spent months trying to fight that systemic
infection to no avail as Burton got weaker and weaker.
Finally unable to stand, I gave Burton a hug goodbye and asked that he be put to sleep. I
didn't ask for an autopsy but during surgery it was determined that Burton was a
hermaphrodite, that is, he had the internal organs of both a male & a female. This is
the first time that I've related this story and I'm crying as I write it.
You want to know if we were happy with him? I don't think I have to answer that question.
Was he happy with us? I hope so because we loved him dearly and he seemed to feel that way
about us. We cried when he died and all our friends who knew him, cried too. He was a
wonderful fellow, John and you should be proud of his breeding.