Beauregard. Beau. Beauperoni. Beau-Bearingtons. Beaudy. Beaupy. Beauby. Beau Bear. Beau Berry. Boo Magoo. Beau-Beau McGee. Beaupy Dopey. Beau Man. Beau Monster. Little Beau Peep. Brown. Brownie. Brown Bear. Brownie Bear. Bear-Bear. Beau-Beau. Bear-Bee. Beau-Re-Guard-Dog. Beau Boy.
Too many nicknames to list them all.
And he responded to each one.
In August 2005, I drove 35 miles from my apartment in Burbank to Glendora with my threadbare Thomas Guide opened to a dog-eared page and tossed in the passenger's seat of my blue Dakota.
Those 35 miles, despite what MapQuest suggested when I logged in via Netzero DSL prior to departure, took me roughly an hour and a half to complete ... past Pasadena, past Arcadia ... to the foothills and into a nice, nondescript subdivision lined with cookie-cutter houses and freshly-trimmed, green lawns. It was in stark contrast to my studio apartment on Hollywood Way where all my neighbors were starving artists and actors with lawn furniture and thirsty ferns on their forgotten 5-foot balconies.
Actually, this Glendora neighborhood was the closest thing to home I'd seen since moving across the country from Georgia nearly two years earlier. It seemed ... almost normal … not at all like the SoCal I’d come to know where green grass was found only at Griffith Park and homes on Coldwater Canyon.
What I was looking for would not necessarily remind me of home, but it would hopefully help me feel more at home in this nearly foreign part of the world where my accent and my request for sweet tea drew unsought attention and at times unfair scrutiny.
With my left hand, I rolled down the window and with my right I shifted gears as I slowly drove through the neighborhood looking for the address I had scribbled on top of the page I’d printed from Craigslist.
I wound through a maze of streets and then I saw them. Seven tiny puppies bouncing around the front yard while two children and their parents attempted to corral them. The kids were giggling, delivering each puppy to a circle defined by their parents’ outstretched arms, and of course each puppy, one by one, escaping the parental arm fences, the kids chasing again … a giant loop of happy.
I pulled along the front yard and walked across the lawn.
“You must be Doris,” the woman said smiling.
Minutes later, I was sitting on the grass as puppies crawled across my legs and climbed my torso to deliver the ultimate gift - a lick to the chin.
I could see Mama Dog in the fenced backyard (a lab/boxer mix) who lounged next to a water bowl, seemingly thankful for the break. Across the street in a nearly identical backyard, a standard dachshund barked occasionally as if insisting we pipe down - Daddy Dog.
The accidental meeting between these neighbors’ family pets resulted in the most wonderful pups who, at least at this time, seemed to favor their Daddy most (the dachshund). There were two dapper longhair pups, two brindle wirehair pups, two black and tan smooth hair pups … and one blue-eyed, red pup with fur that looked like a lab.
Twenty-five minutes and dollars later (to help cover the food and care he’d received for the past seven weeks), my new little bud was sitting on the raised center console of my truck watching the world with huge blue eyes as I drove to Burbank.
I called my mom in Georgia with the news. She demanded a photo as soon as I could get home and email one from my digital camera. In the meantime, for the entire ride back, we talked names.
Initially, I was certain he would be called Sinatra. Those blue eyes … but, Mom thought maybe the blue would change as he aged. Knowing she might be right, I ditched Sinatra and we brainstormed names.
Even though I wouldn’t admit it at the time, I was homesick. I longed for something familiar. A brownish dog that was part lab made me think of our family pet Todd, a lab still with my parents back in Georgia, an incredible dog with a beautiful soul. This pup next to me was the right color, he had a little lab in him and now he just needed a name that exuded Southern charm.
Beauregard. He would be called Beauregard … Beau for short.
Two months later, Beau had learned to walk on a leash. He was making weekly visits to Runyon Canyon to learn to walk off-leash and socialize with other dogs, people and kiddos. He knew verbal and hand-sign commands for sit, wait, gimme-a-ruff, kisses, howdy-do and bang. He chewed shoes any chance he got. Between walks, he went potty in box I built for him on the balcony using 2x4s and grass squares from Home Depot. He stood atop the dining table every time I left the front door.
He weighed about 25 pounds and showed no signs of slowing down. Thankfully, my apartment’s 30-pound pet policy was only loosely enforced.
While my mom was visiting from Georgia (you know she had to come see her granddog), Beau gave me a scare I’ll never forget.
We’d just walked him around the block and returned home to begin cooking dinner. As was usual, he stood behind me in my small apartment kitchen watching, waiting and hoping for me to offer him a sample.
I turned around and noticed his eyes, which normally would have immediately met mine with a hopeful stare, were downturned and he appeared to be staring at the floor. I reached down to touch his face and ask if he was okay when I felt his his mouth. His lips were tight, hard and felt stretched. I lifted his chin and screamed out for Mom to come help. His entire mouth was swollen and he looked like a platypus. When I released his face, he head once again fell downward and he began to wobble about.
I grabbed my purse, Mom grabbed Beau and we ran at top speed to my truck parked in the garage beneath the apartment complex. As soon as we reached the truck, Beau vomited on the ground. I was already dialing 411 when Mom sat in the truck and began singing loudly as she shook Beau gently to keep him from falling asleep, a battle she fought the entire truck ride.
“I need a phone number and address to an after hours emergency vet near Burbank,” I told the operator.
“What is the name of the vet you want?” she asked.
I explained that I had just gotten a dog and I didn’t know the names of any emergency vets and I just needed any of them and fast. The operator kept insisting that I must first give her a business name. She said she wasn’t allowed to suggest any locations as it would be considered unfair to the others. In a hurried and loud demeanor, I demanded she give me any of them. Now. I was looking for an emergency vet because it was in fact an emergency. It wasn’t a casual call, it was a necessary call. I was driving, but I had no idea where to go. I just knew I needed to be on the highway and fast.
Meanwhile, Mom continued bouncing Beau as he tried to doze off.
Finally, in a last-ditch effort, I asked the 411 operator if she was ok with knowing her refusal to break the rules would result in a 4-month old puppy’s death.
Ten minutes later, I rushed through the front doors of a very busy vet’s office. The lady up front was expecting me and immediately took Beau out of my arms and rushed him to the back. Mom and I took a breath and a seat and waited.
After several minutes of waiting, worrying and getting quickly annoyed with the barking dog, I said to Mom, “I’m so glad Beau doesn’t bark like that. Geez. He’s so loud.”
Mom listened and then said, “I think that’s Beau.”
And it was.
A tech came out to see me and explained that Beau had a severe reaction to what was most likely a bee sting which would have occurred during his walk. She said he’s recovered (after getting a shot) and angry and ready to go home.
I received instructions to keep children’s Benadryl with me at all times. Though he’s never needed it since, to this day I have a bottle in my car and in my medicine cabinet.
A HOLLYWOOD DOG
He might have worn UGA jerseys as he trotted through the streets of Burbank, but he was California-born. And any Cali dog worth his salt has his own headshots, right?
Just kidding. He happened to be on hand with me during a photoshoot and the photographer snapped a few shots of Beau’s handsome mug.
And, though his appearance was brief and not as prominent as I had hoped, Beau did appear once with me as an extra in a television show. Season 3 of Entourage, episode called Dog Days Of Summer. I was actually booked because they were specifically looking for a girl with a cute dog. The camera really only showed him as we walked away in the distance, but he was there even if for a brief, blurry second. :)
MEETING HIS FAMILY
In 2007, after spending several years in California, Beau and I moved across the country and landed in Florida where we soon met Kira and Rob.
Side note of truth, if Beau had not liked either of them, Rob and I would not be married today.
At the time, Rob and I lived in the same condo building. From her third-floor balcony, Kira often spotted us playing the grass fields outside and asked Rob to take her out. Slowly but surely, Rob and I let the dogs play together. Their friendship grew and so did ours.
On December 10, 2011, Rob and I married and we became a family of four.
ART IMITATES LIFE
Beau and Rob established a strong bond early in their relationship. Beau often stood watch (or more often napped) while Rob stood at the easel and painted. And more than once, Rob found inspiration in Beau and painted his adorable little mug. Shortly after Rob's collection Friends Along The Way was born, Rob decided to name his leading frog character after Beau.
On June 16, 2019, we lost our Beau Bear to a senseless accident after he ate a foreign object which his body could not pass or regurgitate. After emergency surgery, we had hope Beau would recover and return home with us, but the damage to his small intestines left his body weak and worn.
For days now, Rob and I have wandered the house feeling lost, empty, missing a piece of our happiness.
Beau had a morning routine. He woke me at 6:45am, waddled down his ramp off the bed and led me downstairs to the front door and then to the grass just outside to potty. In my tired state with bare feet, wild hair and coke-bottle glasses, I followed him back up the stairs to the laundry room where he patiently waited for me to scoop two bowls of Acana Gasslands. He sat by his bowl waiting to hear his release word. “Ok!” I said in a high pitch letting him know I was finished and he could begin eating. Then, I woke Kira (who could sleep ‘till noon like a tween on Saturday) and told her to join Beau for breakfast (neither dog ever tried to steal the other’s food). After breakfast, Beau and Kira both returned to the bedroom and took an extra half-hour nap with their dad Rob while I started my day by checking email.
This routine was daily. Without fail. Like clockwork. Expected. Enjoyed.
And this week … this week was the first time in nearly 2,746 days that the routine wasn’t routine.
His dryer balls are still on the floor (he loved those more than tennis balls). His dragon is still in the bed (if you don’t already know about his dragon, you’ll see more of it below). His bowl is still next to Kira’s in the laundry room. His snoogles (wet nose trails) are still on the back window in the car from his last trip to his grandpa’s.
Just last week, while popping around at Target, I spotted stars and stripes bandanas in the dollar section and bought them for Beau and Kira to wear on 4th of July.
In the garage, there’s a box marked Dog Christmas containing a brand new set of dryer balls and a new stuffy I was saving him for Christmas this year.
In May, Kira turned 14. In July, Beau would have turned 14. For months, I’ve had plans to celebrate their birthdays together in June (this month) with a trip to the dog beach. Beau absolutely adored swimming.
I have some regrets - Why not give him the toys now instead of waiting for Christmas? Why not take him to the beach in May instead of waiting for June?
And though I’m struggling with those regrets, I also recognize that I was gifted with 14 amazing years with this absolutely perfect animal. I think it’s only fair to remember those 14 years of good times. So please, take a few moments to get to know Beauregard.
He loved LOVED toys of any kind, but especially footballs.
He loved hiking at Runyon Canyon. He loved playing, running and rolling in grass while growling.
He understood every single word that came out of my mouth. I firmly believe that. Proof.
Beau loved riding in the car and, from the time he was a 7-week-old puppy, he claimed his version of shotgun … the center console. It was ALWAYS his spot.
Tug-of-war was his favorite game to play with Kira.
His dragon. When Beau was a pup still in California, his grandma (my mom) came to visit and brought him a long 5-foot dragon. He immediately took to the dragon and began toting it everywhere with him dragging it along side him from room to room. At some point, the dragon met his final days and I tried to replace it with other long toys … a long snake, a long dolphin, a shark … nothing would do, until the day I found a 5-foot alligator at Ikea. The gator (which we to this day still call his dragon), became something he couldn’t be without at bedtime. If he was tired or needed a nap, he would find his dragon, carry it to wherever he wanted to rest, hold the dragon’s snout in his mouth while nodding off and eventually fall asleep (at which point the dragon’s snout would fall from his mouth). Throughout the years, Beau has had at least a dozen Ikea dragons after some got too nasty, some sprung holes in the laundry, etc. I bought a bunch from Ikea and stock-piled them in a drawer rotating new ones when necessary. When Ikea stopped selling the dragons (gators) and I ran out of fresh ones, I began buying them second-hand on eBay and cleaning them. Whatever it took for him to have his dragon.
He hated hearing anyone talk through cardboard tubes (wrapping paper tubes, mailing tubes, paper towel tubes ...
And, we most recently learned, he hated stampers.
And he most certainly did not like seeing his dad pack luggage because he knew it meant he was leaving for a work trip.
But sometimes that luggage meant Beau was going, too! He LOVED our trips.
Beau was a born swimmer.
But this was my absolute favorite way to be nudged out of bed each morning.
There are soooooooo many more I could share. And if I could, I would. But hopefully you've got a good idea of the kind of amazing animal Beau was. He will ALWAYS be in our hearts.
Though Beau the frog keeps his name alive through Friends Along The Way, Rob wanted to bring Beau's big nose and pork-chop thighs to life in a new characters that we're calling Bear, one of the many nicknames we had for Beau.
Please help me welcome Bear.
Just for good measure, and if you can stand any more dog photos, here are a few more.