Some days it’s really hard to write this blog. And today is one of those days. After suffering from cancer for several months, Clark and Amanda’s sweet 12 year old black lab, Beau, was put to sleep this afternoon. He’s been in so much pain. Last night he wouldn’t get off his bed to eat, and his breathing was labored. They did the only thing they could do. The vet came this afternoon and stopped his suffering. Growing up, we never had dogs that lived longer than a couple years at most. The busy road running past our house made it impossible. We never had time to become too attached. They would die, we would get another dog. We’d move on.
But Beau was a wedding present they gave to each other in 2002. I remember when they brought him over to show us at mama’s house, a shiny black puppy with big brown eyes. They were married that weekend and moved to St. Augustine, Florida to begin pharmacy and physical therapy doctoral programs a few days later. Beau ate the baseboards and furniture out of 1 apartment and 1 house before he was 4 years old. They took him on long walks around their neighborhood, surrounded by marshy Florida swamps and cul de sacs. They took him on boat rides and on the 5 minute drive to the Atlantic and Beau was a bonafide beach dog. He could swim and fetch all day long. They could hide his rubber chicken toy anywhere in their house and ask, “Beau! Where’s your chicken?” He’d look frantically until he found it. He always found it.
Beau is the paterfamilias of dogs in our family. He was the oldest and wisest, and in recent years you’d find him lying at Clark’s feet when we’d have cookouts and parties at their house. He largely ignored all the other family dogs in his older days. His jet black fur turned into a grey beard and chest. He was such a very good boy.
After church we got to go over to their house and say goodbye to Beau. He didn’t move or wag his tail when he saw us, and he didn’t lift his head from his bed on the living room floor.
But we loved on him and rubbed his back. We held his silky ears in our fingers and told him he’d feel better soon. We tried not to talk about it. We visited a couple hours, and we gave him a scratch on the head when we finally went home, just before the vet arrived. I’m so glad that he’s not hurting anymore and I’m so glad we got to see him one more time. What a very good boy he was. Chevy and Baker have big shoes to fill.