Nov 25, 2011

Beau's Buck - A Fitting Tribute for Man's Best Friend

My Beloved Beau

This is more than a posts about a successful deer hunt and more of a tribute to my 14 year old German Shorthair Pointer Beau (Zacharia's Brown Sugar).  Over the past few months Beau had been showing signs of his age and potential health issues.  He was having trouble with his hips and had a few episodes that mimicked seizures and we knew the day would come where we would have to make a tough decision involving our beloved dog.  The day my family dreaded  came this past week and Beau was put to rest in a very peaceful and loving manner.

Beau was our second GSP and our second hunting dog and had a tough job of replacing our previous GSP Zak. Beau did not ask for this challenge but he was the only pup that was accepted for the job by my daughter.  My Daughter Kaliegh was only 14 months old, while my son Brendan was 6 when we lost Zak and we began our mission to find a new hunting partner.  I had promised Brendan we would get a dog that looked exactly like Zak who was a solid liver with a small white patch on his chest but it was a promise I had no intention of breaking, but I did.  We made a trip to Quail Ridge Kennels which was in our home town to look at a littler of puppies and this litter had 4 solid liver pups.  All 10 puppies where in a large pen and we would take the liver pups out one at a time to visit with.  When the pups came up to my daughter she cried at every single one even if they just walked by her and of course my son loved everyone of them.  This was not going as I had planned.  As we continued to discuss each pup and look them over, one pup in the pen kept catching my eye.  This pup would just be sitting in the pen quiet and still just looking up at us at all the other puppies were going crazy jumping, yipping and knocking each other over.  I reached down and took this puppy out and put him on the floor and my son was first to object but I convinced him to be patient and watch the pup.  The puppy came over to all of us and when he went to my daughter, she didn't cry but instead smiled and put her hand out for the puppy.  We continued to watch this pup has he worked his way around the garage with his noise going like made and I couldn't figure out what he was looking for until he stopped, jumped up on his hind legs and sitting 3 feet above him was the puppies food bowl.  I was so impressed with his nose that I started to seriously consider this pup as an option to become our new family member.  Of course I had to convince my son that even though he didn't look exactly like Zak like I promised he could still become a great hunting partner and family member.  After some conversation and few tears, Brendan agreed that he was the one and we put a collar on him and said goodbye and told him we would be back in two weeks to pick him up.

Never far from a comfortable couch or bed

The day came to pick our new pup up, so the family piled into the van and headed up to the kennel to welcome our new friend into our family.  We got to the kennel, took care of the paper work and fought over who was going to carry our new pup to the van.  We had discussed names prior to this trip and continued as we made our way home in the van.  This pup was white with large liver colored spots that looked like marbles blending together and marbles was about to stick, when my son said how about BEAU.  We asked why Beau and he said it meant beautiful in French.  I wasn't sure and had to look it up and sure enough he was right.  We all agreed that he was beautiful and it fit my single syllable requirement and our new pup was officially named BEAU!  We continued our ride home and during that ride poor Beau got sick which almost caused Brendan to get sick.  We had figured he was just nervous and had probably eaten not long ago so we never gave it another thought.  Little did I know that his incredible nose and that ride home would define who Beau was for the past 14 years.

My Daughter and Son with Beau

Beau's nose proved I made the right decision as we began hunting him, but it also caused problems as he became the biggest trash hound I ever met.  He could sniff out the smallest piece of food and had the drive and determination to get it as well.  He learned to open up the garbage cans, shop in the bags from the store or sniff out chocolate in the kids Xmas stockings.  He loved treats of all kinds, that he could find a bag of horse treats in my neighbor's garage or smell the sweet scent of burgers cooking on the grill next door.  Beau would visit the neighbors and had them highly trained to take care of his request for treats and he was vocal about it as well.  As frustrating as this would be for me sometimes, the neighbors loved it and thought it was cute.

The sickness in the van on that ride home turned into a full blown desire for Beau to avoid riding in the car or truck at all costs.  Now this caused many a problems for me as it would usually take me 30 minuted to gather him up and get him in his travel kennel for a trip to the field.  Sure, it was funny at first especially when I would catch him, lift him up and try to put him in the kennel only to have him put those long legs of his up against the kennel making it impossible for one person to do.  This went on no matter if I used the kennel or let him ride on the seat.  All you had to do to get him in his outdoor kennel or in the house was to ask him if he wanted to go for a ride.  Normally after a hunt he was wore out and it was easier to get him back in the vehicle for the ride home.

Looks comfortable to me

Beau liked his comfort and he was strong willed and determined to get his way.  If that meant you had to sit on the floor while he laid his long lanky body across the couch, so be it.  Try to push him out of his spot was useless, even if he got up he was coming back to take you on in a battle of will which he always won.  Even just a few months ago, by son now 20 would be hanging off his bed while Beau commanded the majority of the space and covers.  Normally Beau would sleep on my bed every night where we would even share a pillow a time or two.  When it was time to get up, he would work his way around the rooms to find a warm body to curl up against and then when everyone was up and moving he would find even the smallest sliver of sunshine to lay in.

Last week Beau had another episode and even though I wasn't ready to let him go I knew it was time.  My wife was the rock here making me realize it and finding a way to do so that allowed Beau to be comfortable and peaceful.  Knowing that Beau always got worked up when in the car and at the vet, my wife did not want his last memories to have him in panic mode so she contacted Kristen Klie, DVM from Final journey LLC to inquire about her in home services.  We schedule an appointment for  a Friday afternoon giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy Beau and say goodbye.  My wife and I were with him to the end as he laid comfortably on the couch and in my wife's arms.  Beau was comfortable the entire time and it was the most peaceful experience I had ever witnessed.  Dr Klie made our tough and painful decision very respectful. compassionate and loving and I am thankful that we found her.

The last time I ever let my wife dress Beau in a costume

So where does the buck come into this story?  Well our firearms deer hunting season was underway and with everything going on I had zero ambition to be in the woods, I was in no mood to take an animals life knowing what I had to do and did.  I was emotionally drained and hadn't slept in days so Friday night I had planned to sleep in and skip the first Saturday of deer season.  But my well laid plans Saturday went the same way they did just over 14 years ago.  I threw them out the window and adjusted.  I was up as the first hint of sunrise started to peak out letting my lab Hannah out to do her business and when she was done we sat together on the couch and all I could think about was Beau.  I started to relive some of those hunting trips Beau and I had been on and I thought to myself that on a very cool crisp fall morning like it was this morning, Beau would want me to be in the place that brings me the most peace and that was the woods.  So I hurried about getting dressed and decided to hunt just down the street from my house where Beau had worked to put pheasant on the table.

I had to come to know every single inch of this small piece of state land over the past 16 years and I knew where most guys would be hunting and where the deer would be headed so I decided to slip in along the swamp and try to cut them off.  I was late to the woods as it was 15 minutes after sunrise, but found the forest floor very quiet allowing me to sneak down to the edge of the swamp and to slowly still hunt my way around it.  I had heard 3 shots on the far side of the swamp which was  definitely a sign of deer and  and that I made the right choice.  The cloud cover kept the sun hidden  but just before 8am it started to fight through the clouds providing that wonderful warmth that Beau loved so much.  As I stood against a tree enjoying that warmth I couldn't help but think about Beau and how much I missed him and hopped he was out in the woods enjoying the peaceful fall morning.

Beau's Buck - State Land 6 Pointer

I had realized at that moment that my wife had no idea where I was so I took out my phone and sent her a text message and as I reached to put my phone away and looked up, there was a deer coming my way at a nice clam pace.  I quickly knelt down and got my Remington 11-87 to the ready, the same gun used to shoot pheasants over Beau but this time I had the slug barrel on and my scope attached.  The deer continued to move closer and would eventually pass behind two large trees and stepping out into the opening for a clean 30 yard shot, or so I thought.  Once behind the trees, the deer disappeared and never stepped out.  I knew what was happening as the wind was swirling all over the place and that buck knew something was up.  I peaked over the gun to see his back end slowing backing up so I quickly shifted for a shot on the other side of the tree which offered little room for error thanks to the brush and smaller trees against the swamp.  The buck took two steps and turned to walk away the way he had just come as I settled the crosshairs on his chest and the Remington sent a Brenneke slug his way.  The slug connected and the buck dropped in his tracks.  Normally I would be so excited and grinning from ear to ear and sometimes even letting out a loud whoop, instead I calmly walked over to the buck, knelt down and as I rubbed his winter coat, I looked up and thanked Beau for such a wonderful gift.  The buck was a small 6 pointer and only weighed 107 pounds dressed, but he is by far my most memorable deer I ever harvested and will truly have a place in my heart and mind for ever.

I remember the day we brought you home and how you made the hurt go away. You brought so much laughter and love into our family and no matter how bad a day we had you were there to love and comfort us and make everything good again. We spent time chasing pheasants in the field and curled up together on the couch. We shared breakfast with each other as well as the same pillow some nights. 14 years makes for loads of memories and even though I was not ready to let you go, I could not stand to see you hurting. I am sure that you will find the fields full of birds , the bed as comfy as clouds and the treat bowl never ending. I love you Beau and miss you more then words can describe. I will never forget you.


  1. A beautiful tribute.
    Your feelings are shared by this guy.

  2. Wow Jim that was beautiful. Beau was an awesome dog and I know how much you all loved him. Your tribute brought tears to my eyes and memories of being at your home and Beau on the couch. Smiles and tears at the same time - your words said it all - your memories will always be there and Beau was with you for your hunt for sure! An amazing tribute to an amazing dog. The Johnson Family

  3. I know how you feel and a man's best friend means more than can be explained.
    Congratulations on a beautiful 6 pointer.

  4. Hey Jim that was a great tribute, and Beau was a great dog.Oh how i will miss having to keep an eye on the butter at our pinics for fear he will eat it. Never will he be forgotten.

    Pam S

  5. Sorry for the loss of your friend and family member. Great story!

  6. Thanks for all the comments and kindness. I still miss him daily but I smile more then I cry now when thinking about Beau.

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