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A Tribute to Beaucoup
Wed, 11 Sep 2002
Beaucoup was euthanized on 9/10, at age 10 years 5 months. Please help me celebrate her life. These are some of her contributions to the Bouvier community.
++ If you have ever been on a BouvWalk, thank Beaucoup. She started the very first one, with just one other dog and four people, here in Philadelphia. From there it grew, and grew and grew - to over 70 people. And then inspired Bouvwalks all over the United States and Canada.
++ If you have ever supported Rescue through the purchase of note cards or holiday cards, thank Beaucoup. Without her impressive dignity and her deep, expressive eyes - the eyes of an old soul - I never would have started painting and drawing dogs. Beaucoup has raised thousands of dollars to help Bouvs in need.
++ If you have ever cared for a loved one in a hospital or life care home or AIDS facility, thank Beaucoup, and think of her. She brought joy and healing to hundreds and hundreds of people in her visits over many years. If you take your Bouv on therapy visits, think of Beaucoup and invite her spirit to join you.
++ If you love good food, think of Beaucoup during your next great meal, and invite her to have a taste. She was a gourmand of the first order, savoring her food - morsel by morsel - with immense discrimination and thorough enjoyment. She would moan in anticipation of an exceptional culinary meal.
++ If you know dogs who are dogs, and dogs who are half human, add Beaucoup to your list of the latter. Thank them all for being in our lives.
++ If you count me as a friend, thank Beaucoup. Because of her I have met dozens of Bouvier lovers through dog events, dog shows, and the internet. When I think of how much all of you mean to me, I thank Beaucoup.
Beaucoup was the ultimate Ambassadress of the breed - a Bouvier of great judgment, great beauty, extraordinary dignity, the ultimate minimalist, and trustworthy any time in any place with any people, if their intentions were honorable. She is the best friend I've ever had, other than my husband.
Beaucoup, you walk in my heart.
Fri, 13 Sep 2002
How to Sniff Like a Dog
Beaucoup loved to lie on the back deck, facing into the woodland of trees and steeply dropping land. I loved to sit there with her, my legs dangling over the deck, my hand on her shoulder, and I would say to her, "Beaucoup, tell me what it is like to be you, you lying here, enjoying life and this place through your dog being. What is this place like for you?"
Tonight, sitting on the deck, after her death, I thought of this memory.
Beaucoup said to me, "What I smelled with my nose, you can see with your eyes."
I looked around to smell with my eyes. This is a little of what I
Intense luminous yellow green, all over,
spots in such unexpected places.
Leaves in breeze, others still.
Dead tree, great beauty of shape.
The flitting bird.
Sun hitting limbs, glory of shadow.
Stillness, life, the rushing creek.
Beaucoup, you could hear that too.
Another breeze - bringing more life
to smells and eyes.
Pale pale blue of sky against
the pale yellow gray green
Of trees on the other bank.
Blue of sky deepening ever so
gently as it rises.
Sun glowing now, in the
pale blue by the trees.
A gentle time as the sun lowers.
Fri, 27 Sep 2002
Several of you asked me what happened, why did Beaucoup die. It remains a mystery, but I will recount for you the events.
In mid-August, she began to limp, something about her right rear hock. We gave her aspirin, and after a week with no improvement, saw the vet and she was xrayed and put on Rimadyl. It seemed to be only inflammation of the hock tissue. After a week there was still no improvement; in fact, her pain seemed worse. We were referred to an orthopedic specialist.
On arrival for that appointment, and she was weighed: 86 pounds. I was alarmed. A few months earlier she had been 90 lbs, which had caused the vet to ask some questions, as she had been 100 lbs the year before. She had full bloodwork done, xray of chest, xray of hock, and biopsy of hock. She came home on a Thursday in a wrapped leg with more Rimadyl.
She was in considerable pain. John and I took turns sleeping next to her on cushions, in the room with her on the sofa, and in bed. Not much sleeping was happening for any of us, including Angus, as the waves of pain would hit her. On Saturday she actually had a reasonable day, and we were hoping now for an upturn. On Sunday she was much worse -- so bad that we asked for, and got, much heavier meds for the pain and a sedative. None of these seemed to have any effect whatsoever.
Monday night she didn't eat. Tuesday morning she didn't eat. Her cries of pain, I was later told by the woman we kenneled her, were the worst sort she had ever heard, comparable only to those of a dog she once had whose leg had snapped off from bone cancer. John insisted that we take turns getting out of the house, just for some relief from those screams that would pierce right through us. In the afternoon, I went out to get food to cook for her. When I got home, John was sitting on a box in the driveway. He said, "I think it's time to put her down."
We still didn't have the biopsy results. We knew nothing except the extreme pain. When we arrived at the vet's, she wasn't screaming -- which left the vet with a bit of a question, needless to say. But we were certain.
When we did get the biopsy results, there was still no
explanation for her pain. It is possible that she had bone cancer and that
it was simply not picked up in the biopsy. In any case, we'll never know.
We do know we did the right thing to end her suffering, however.
BEAUCOUP, ON THE BURIAL OF SOME OF YOUR ASHES AT THE MILITARY CREST
Beaucoup was taught, at an early age, to ring the bell - a sheep's bell, I guess -- at the foot of the front door to signal she needed to go out. This became, in time, a needed or wanted to go out, sometimes hard to tell.
After a few years, most especially during the ice storm of 1993-94, when we could not ourselves leave the house more than a few feet, she was trusted completely on her own in this fenceless and un-fenceable place.
Beaucoup speaks now:
"I never left sight of our front door,
Not that I couldn't have, or gotten more.
Free I was, and free to choose.
I chose: 'I don't travel much, I don't move -
Not from the sight of the door of my home
Farther than that, I don't roam.'
(Except for Rosina, down the hill,
In the morning I got a bone, and her love.)
I sat on the hill, above my house and you -
A hundred-some feet, on a rise, perfect view,
Surveying the estate, yours plus mine,
Yours was my home, but my spot is divine.
Heaven on earth I found on this crest -
I smelled the breezes, and protected the rest.
These are such things only a Grand Bouvier knows.
In fact only me, with my sense and my nose.
Thank you for laying part of me to rest
On the grassy green rise of my military
Beaucoup, as written by Carol
Sun, 3 Nov 2002
We got Beaucoup buried, and I can see her stone from the computer and also from the living room and also as I go down the stairs in the morning and of course when I get in my car. And we buried a little of her ashes on the "military crest", complete with a poem about it.
The completion feels very good, and I'm certain she knows about it too.
|Carol is a lady & she is my friend. So was Beaucoup. Not wanting to intrude on their space, I offer this tiny tribute w all my heart. Jan|
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