I had the fortune of having a wonderful, loving and reliable dog named Beast. As he got older he began to go by Mr. Bea (pronounced “Bee”) or Bea. He was a truly awesome dog and is part of what lead me to become a dog trainer.
Bea was with me for just over 13 years. That is quite a long time for a 60lb dog. I am so grateful he was in my life - Bea got me through a fair amount of rough times with his big dog smile, wagging tail and silly dog antics. Bea was a dear soul that really helped shape the trajectory of my life.
When I went to pick a puppy that February morning in 2006, there were A LOT of puppies running about going absolutely nuts. It was a large litter. Bea was the only black puppy and was sitting off to the side, sizing things up calmly. I knew immediately that he was the puppy for me.
I never could have anticipated all I would learn from him and the journey we would take. I literally grew up with that dog (18-31!).
What I loved about Bea:
I loved how Bea was almost always happy. One friend recalled, “he was always so happy to see me. Made me feel special.” He was an absolutely joyous animal without a mean bone in his body.
Bea was always ready to play and go for adventures. Until the end, he was a fantastic hiking dog and playmate that was up for anything.
Bea was a dog that I could take just about anywhere and not worry, which is a trait any dog owner envies. He did not have issues with other dogs and genuinely liked most people. If he didn’t like you, he’d let you know.
I loved how he would kick up grass with all four paws and do this silly little head shake – no matter who was watching or how nice the grass. In fact, he seemed to enjoy this little dance of his the most when he had an audience.
Watching Bea outsmart other dogs with toys always made me laugh. He’d want what they had, would go get another toy and make it look like it was the best toy ever by tossing it about and prancing. When the other dog would leave their toy to investigate this glorious new item, Bea would happily make the switch.
I loved how Bea smelled, especially when he’d been in the sun. It was an earthy, musty, sometimes cut grass/hay smell.
I adored how his right ear usually stuck up, while the left ear was floppy. Though there were times both ears would be at attention and times they’d both flop down lazily. I really loved those ears.
I loved how if Bea did not want to do something, he would pump the breaks and, if necessary, lay down. At times this could be frustrating, but over time it became an endearing quality and his way of letting me know he was done, wanted to go in a different direction, or that playtime was not yet over. Mind you, he did not run the show, but I usually let him have a say in how things went. This is only fair in my mind and one of the lessons he taught me.
Bea was the kitty police. He loved the cats in his life, but if they were out of line scratching furniture he would do a sort of bottle-nose dolphin move on them. He never hurt them, but he did let them know he was not afraid of them.
Lessons I learned from Bea:
Bea taught me to respect dogs and work with them. I was not always force-free in my approach to dogs. Bea is a large part of why my path has led me here. Your dog should be a team-mate, not a piece of property or an adversary.
Bea helped teach me to be in the moment and not worry so much. I am a reformed worrier because of him.
I learned that patience is necessary when working with dogs, Bea was a big help in teaching me this. Bea helped me learn to be calm and relax. He would not stick around for loud voices or angry people.
There is always time for one more ball throw, one more block to walk or trail to take – everything else can wait. Take the time to watch the turtles. Bea was fascinated with turtles and loved gazing down at them from bridges.
If someone mistreats your dog, they will mistreat you – this applies to all relationships. This was a big and tough lesson, but we came out on top and none worse for wear. It was part of our journey together.
I never knew that I could miss something so much. End of life care for Bea was not easy and I do not miss those days. What I do miss are the good days with my special boy. I would do it all again, the good and the bad.
It has been an adjustment to life without my Bea, but I know he is off to his next assignment and it is not a goodbye. Rather, I think of it more so as “until we meet again”.