June 19th, 2021

abstract butterfly

Canis Major

Our canine friend Beatrice came to live with us on January 8, 2006. We adopted her at the McKinney SPCA. The McKinney SPCA occupied a very good building. We met Beatrice there. She was a bit like a black labrador mix puppy.  But soon we realized she was not a puppy. Beatrice was a full-grown small dog. We decided to adopt her. We brought our other dog, Teddy, to see her. They got along fine. We later learned that their relationship would always be a little distant. Beatrice acted as if she were an only dog.

The shelter had called her "Momma,", as she had had puppies. But we could not imagine calling her "Momma."   I envision shouting into the back yard "Momma! Come inside!" We named her Beatrice instead. Rather than being Dante's Beatrice, she was named with a story from the novelist Charles Willliams' life. He had had an office crush on a woman he called his Beatrice.

When we adopted her Beatrice was 16 pounds, a bit underweight. She proved to have hypothyroid, one of numerous maladies for which we medicated her over the years. We learned she was a puggle by chance, when someone at our vet's office told a vet assistant her breed.

The vet at SPCA and our vet both thought Beatrice was six at the time of her adoption. Fifteen years later, we said goodbye to Beatrice today.
She experienced a dose of maladies and losses of control too dreary to recount. We finally reached the point in which we felt her life involved pain and discomfort. I feel both guilty about making that decision, and guilty for not making that decision sooner.

I never see pets as children or child-surrogates. I see pet dogs as friends. Beatrice was certainly a friend to my wife and I. I will miss her all my remaining life.

When we first saw Beatrice, her cage had a note on which someone wrote "very sweet."  People experienced that sweetness. Local rabbits and mice did not, but that is another story for another day.  I faced a rough patch personally with a health issue some years ago. That little dog helped with my morale.

We feel grateful for 15 years with Beatrice. I recall one 4th of July in 2014 in Bonham State Park, an hour away, with Beatrice. Workers were painting our home, so we had to be somewhere else. Beatrice and I had never been to a state park hiking, but she immediately hit the trail. Perhaps she had been hiking in the six years before she came to us. Perhaps she knew the park. She and I went back there years later, and had a good time once more.

Perhaps the next time I have an afternoon, I will drive to Bonham State Park, walk the lake loop trail, and think of Beatrice. Tonight I am immersed in memories of a small black dog I love.

from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice