Like his mother, people often mispronounce Beauford’s name. The irony of this never gets old. Pronounced BO-FORD, he’s named after Carter Beauford, the drummer for the Dave Matthews Band. Much like Carter’s, Beauford’s smile will light you right up, and make you feel love.
When someone that doesn’t know Beau asks about him, I say his personality is a fine blend of some of the most cherished characters in the childhood favourite, Winnie The Pooh. Much like Pooh, he loves to have a full belly and he’d get his head stuck in a honey pot for just one more drop.
He is a retriever that loves his snacks, treats, and meals. When you say ‘Do you want..?’ his ears immediately perk up, and he looks at you as if to say YUP, before you’ve even finished the sentence. Like Pooh, when he wakes up in the morning I have no doubt he’s thinking “what’s for breakfast?” And he even used be chubby, like Pooh, and with his recent increase in treats he is getting his chubby butt back! There has been many a day where I’ve walked behind him and watched that bum wiggle and I say look at that bum…he responds by looking back, smiling and wagging his tail even more. I’m telling you, this dog is proud of the junk in his trunk.
Beauford can definitely channel his inner Eeryore when it’s time to leave somewhere he loves, like the store, and he’s not quite ready. He has the ‘It’s raining on my head’ look down pat. He will lower his eyes, shrug down, tuck his head in chest, and really milk the moment.
He has the nervousness and uncertainty of Piglet. Beauford is definitely shy when it comes to meeting dogs he doesn’t know. He often stops, and waits to make sure they are friend, not foe, before proceeding to say hello. He’s incredibly submissive and if a squirrel looked threatening he would no doubt submit to it too. He doesn’t have a mean spirited bone in his body and is very much a follower or other pooches, always willing to follow the kind alpha’s lead.
And though he doesn’t have Tigger’s all the time BOUNCE, he has these bursts of energy and happiness that come right out of nowhere. He’s also definitely a detective. On a recent playdate at his best buddy Dexter’s he kept (suspiciously) leaving the room. I knew he was up to something, and after a few moments I checked on him. He had managed to sniff out and find a bag with some old treats in the bottom of it!! He was persistent in his efforts, and wasn’t about to give up until he got that bag open and those treats were crunching in his mouth.
Beauford is “the dog that lies down”. Since the day he came home, first position on a ‘walk’ was lying on the pavement. People have stopped, cars, and buses (yes, a city bus) have pulled over their drivers asking if he’s okay. When he gets the attention he knows will come with this ‘method’, he lifts up his back leg expecting an inner thigh rub. He won’t stop there, he will shamelessly roll over in the middle of the pavement, on his back, legs up in the air with a giant smile, daring you to pass without petting his belly. He’s my traffic stopper, and his attention seeking behaviour is charming and often hysterical.
He’s also been known to just ‘pick people’ when we’re walking. He walks right up to them and sits quietly or nudges them a little. Anyone he’s ever picked has gone on to share that they’re going through a hard time (be it recently diagnosed with an illness, suffered a loss, or is just generally having a crummy day). He gives them unconditional love, and the boost they need to keep going. He’s been known to stop when a young baby or child is crying, always wanting to check if they’re okay. If there’s comfort that needs providing, he’s always willing to provide it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told how lucky I am to have such a sweet soul.
His gift for finding those that need comfort and insisting upon giving it is how he ended up at local residence for children, and young adults, doing the job that he was born to do, therapy dog. He LOVED working. He was enthusiastic, showed an incredible level of patience and caring when spending time with these children. Watching the babies giggle, and children smile as he rolled over asking for rubs or sat next them in their wheelchairs smiling while being petted are moments that are forever etched in heart.
Not at all dominant, Beauford`s many kitty sisters have always been in charge. He recently spent the night at a neighbour’s place, and when I asked how the evening went I was told that he whined only once. When I asked why, I was told that Maya, the resident cat had decided to sleep on his blanket. He wanted to sleep there, but would never just tell her to get off. Instead he woke Matt up by whining to get him to shoo her off.
When Tinsley, the kitten, came home after my Maddie cat had passed he was in awe of this tiny creature. But she quickly taught him his place on the totem and wouldn’t walk past her unless she gave him permission. He is so sweet allowing his feline siblings to groom him, but will do the gross dog thing and when they`re done he will sniff, and attempt to lick their bottoms. It`s quite possibly the grossest thing that Beauford does, but he can’t help but love some kitty bum.
Beauford is as smart as he is stubborn. He learns tricks quickly, though when it comes to ‘circle’ he will only spin in one direction. If he wants to go left, because we always go left, getting him to turn right can be challenging. I have often wondered how ridiculous I look trying to reason with this dog in the middle of the street.
Given that I have to hand feed him his meals (he eats his meatballs like a seal — sitting in front of me, swallowing them whole) I taught him how to tap his paws. He’s always tapping in anticipation for each meal, eager to fill his belly with home cooked food. At the end of his meals he is allowed to lick his bowl out. I can’t tell you how many times I wonder how he manages to get the glass more gleaming than it looks when it’s washed. He gets every morsel of food, as to him it’s good to the last drop.
On days when I cook, he’s always ‘helping’ READ: lying in my tiny kitchen so I have to step over him. But when the time comes to clean up he is the most excellent spoon rinser ever! He also makes sure I don’t have to wash out the yogurt or cottage cheese containers. He will lick those so they’re absolutely polished.
Beauford has a fun side. You see it when the elevator opens and he runs down the hall to the door, smiling with his tail wagging waiting for you to let him in. If it’s my dad that’s taken him out he will barrel through the front door and run into the living room looking for a treat.
He’s a dog that doesn’t bark, unless he wants something or his ball is under the furniture out of reach. If someone knocks on the door and I am not in a room where I can hear it I’d have no idea. Beauford simply picks up a toy and walks to the door waiting. He never lets me know that anybody is even there.
From the moment he came home he has loved to sleep in the bathroom. As he grew he continued to wedge himself between the tub and toilet. Anytime I shower, since he was just a wee thing, he’s had a snooze in the bathroom. There isn’t enough floor space in there for both of us in the morning, but somehow we make it work.
Not a big snuggler, we have a quick night-night cuddle right before bed, but he often sleeps on the 3-seater couch that quickly became his that I had to move to the bedroom. Though when we do share the bed, I am often surprised by my own flexibility when I wake up in a cirque style pose because he’s decided to sprawl out and snooze. My spot seems to be wedged between the mattress and the wall on those evenings! One of his sweetest sleep sounds is when he stretches and groans, like he’s saying , oh that feels good! And mornings aren’t mornings without our morning snuggle, but once he gives you ‘The Beauford’ you know he’s done.
Beauford loves when we have company. Somehow he seems to know, despite the fact the ring is the same, when someone has buzzed up to let me know they’re here. He goes and waits by the door with his tail wagging to see who might be arriving. Though he truly does have good manners, you know he loves you when he climbs up on the chair for a cuddle and kiss (he sometimes will stand up on you and give you kisses — not allowed, but it’s how you know you’re definitely one of his favourites).
He’s also quite good at making himself comfortable in other peoples’ homes. If there is a resident dog, that’s a buddy of his, he will check out their toy bins. And if there’s only a baby or cat he’ll check out their loot too. He knows he’s loved, and he knows he’s cute, and he knows that so long as he turns on the charm, and has decent manners, no one will give him too hard of a time.
He adores my best friend Kitty (Katherine), and she loves him. One of his puppy moments that I wont ever forget is him coming quite close to peeing in her very expensive pink sparkly shoes. She was SO excited to see him, and him her, that he started to tinkle. Oh…those puppy days. I taught him when he was young how to behave in the local stores, and he’s grown up to love shopping. He has his few favourites where he insists on stopping in just to check out what’s new and to say hello.
It’s not all smiles and I’d be remiss not to mention his health challenges. Beauford has handled everything with dignity and grace. He is patient and cooperative, and he is strong. People are shocked to learn of his high needs, and special restrictions. On days he has gastric seizures he hides his symptoms so well almost no one knows he’s having them. He always puts on the bravest of brave faces when he’s out on those days, eager to distract himself from his health failings. At home with me whenever he feels crummy, he seeks out my comfort and support. He will cuddle a bit more, and gets what I call mummy-itis, where he doesn’t want me to go far. We have an incredible bond because of all he’s been though, and those that know us know we’re joined at the hip.
Beauford is an old sweet soul, wise beyond his years, and will capture your heart within moments of meeting him. Not a day goes by that I don’t consider myself lucky that I am his mom. As we continue on this golden journey, I wanted to give you all a chance to get to know him better, see him through my eyes, and know just how incredibly special this dog is.