At 3:30 December 26th, Will took our dear old golden retriever, Beau, to the vet to be put down. Beau had suffered a grand mal seizure Christmas evening and didn't seem to fully recover. After a long consultation with out dear, sweet vet, we made the tough decision. I've always been the one to take our animals to the vet since Will works, but I had already made plans with a friend and her children to go see the movie, Enchanted, and take Lydia. Since Lydia was very upset about Beau, it seemed wisest to keep our plans and for her and me to be out of the house when Beau left. Because of that Will had to be the one to take Beau and stay with him. It was very difficult. (Enchanted was a wonderful diversion, btw.)
Beau was over 12.5 years old. We picked him up when he was 12 weeks old in Asheville, NC, where my mom had picked him out of a litter of 8 squirming, roly-poly puppies. She picked him, in part, because he had a tiny black spot on his head, and it was the only way to tell him from the other 7 yellow fur balls. I've said many times since then that God put that black spot there so Mom would choose him. He was the perfect pet for us.
Beau was humble and gentle without being scared or shy. He was exuberant, happy, and loving. He was the quintessential golden. He also "yodeled." That always surprised people! From the earliest age, Beau understood children and that he needed to be gentle with them. Even as a puppy he never nipped or jumped up on our then 18 month old daughter. He obeyed her when she would order him in her best toddler-talk to go into his kennel. He'd patiently go inside, sit down and wait for her to let him out again; although usually she went in with him!
Several times when our youngest child was just a toddler we found Beau sit patiently in front of an open container of dog food waiting for her to feed him one piece at a time. He never tried to go through her to get to the food. About that time we also took a sweet picture of 2 year old Lydia sitting on top of Beau brushing his head with a doll brush.
Beau was never territorial, and willingly put up with a long line of dogs invading his space. A friend of mine used to drop her dog off daily while she was at work. We inherited another golden for several years, and finally we were given a terrier-mix puppy. Beau put up with being a life-sized chew toy for the puppy (named Cookie). Cookie literally used his ears for tug-of-war. From the very beginning he would lay down so she could "wrestle" with him, something that continued for the rest of his life. (Beau was about 64 lbs and Cookie is 14 lbs.)
Beau also loved people. Everybody. He was one of the few dogs I've known who seemed to think going to the groomer's or the vet's was a treat. He seemed to think any kind of attention, even shots and ear cleanings, were a form of love and affection. And no matter how painful the procedure, he never had to be restrained beyond someone holding his head. He was always full of trust and obedience.
The last thing I said to Beau was this: "You got it right, buddy. Thank you."