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Big B...

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Big B...
On Monday, August 25th, 2008, I received a phone call from an uncle while I was at work that my father was in stage 4 of esophageal cancer – he told me that Dad had 6 months – 2 years to live. Obviously, I was devastated.

On Thursday, August 28th, 2008, my best friend in the whole world passed away in my arms at the vet. I had to carry him up the steps and through the front door of Savannah Animal Hospital, just as I had dreaded I would have to do for years. Apparantly, he had a bone tumor on one of his back legs that he hid from me and the vet on a visit in June – it spread to his lungs over the summer and was too much to overcome. In June of 08, I took him to the vet to for an extra once over, and to help him deal with some aches and pains... he was getting to be a stiff old man and I wanted him to be as comfortable as possible. I have a feeling he and the vet knew something was wrong, and they both hid it from me to spare me the pain over what would be the last summer I would spend with him. She (the veterinarian) told me that he would not let her get a specific x ray she needed... that he got a little snappy when she tried. She then mystically lost all the other x rays off the computer. She knew what was up and so did he. I went to the docks after that vet apptointment with him and had a couple beers and cried with him by my side. I knew I was losing him in some way, but didn't know why. I was just watching my boy become an old man and it made me so sad. He was still ornery, and still wanted to fetch every minute of every day, but his old body couldn't keep up with his young mind. He didn't take sh*t from anyone or anything (except me), and had actually bitten two people in defense of me - which were both found to be appropriate after the fact.

When I was a freshman at the University of Delaware, I decided that I really wanted a dog. Everyone gave me the standard, “bad idea,” speech… and I took the same stance every red-blooded American boy would’ve taken… I had an answer for everything…
My mother actually supported me in my decision (and helped with the finances) and we went to look at puppies at a breeder in Avondale PA. I was chosen by a 14lb, round mound of Chocolate Labrador that I named Bailey (only because I was whipped at the time and my girlfriend’s mom came up with that name – his name was “Cooter” for the first two days he was home.)

I had never really thought about hunting until a friend of mind found out I had a pup… He asked me to join him on a dove hunt and the rest is history… For 11 ½ years, that dog knew where I was and whether I was alright or not. He was focused on me and my well-being. He was like a grounding rod for me, and helped stabilize my life. I had “something” that was dependant on me and who needed my care, and I made sure I followed through. I can remember leaving the Stone Balloon on a Saturday night at 11:30pm, to let the puppy out to go potty, then going back to the bar for a couple beers before last call. No matter how banged up I was, I never forgot about that dog. He was topps… He knew what I was thinking before I said anything, and I the same with him. There was no need for a leash, no need for a poop bag, or any of that crap. There was no playing with puppies… they were “inferior.” This dog was better behaved than any of my roommates. I remember coming home from class one day and seeing the front door and screen door wide open to the busy street, and Bailey was just laying there in the house with his lips hanging off the doorstep waiting for me. He wasn’t going to dart off anywhere, because he was waiting for me to get home. We both knew my roommates were idiots.

I was waiting to write about my big buddy on here until the one year anniversary of his passing, but today I had a meltdown for one reason or another and felt the need to express my grief. I’m not sure why it was today, but I can tell all of you from the sad state I’m in, that today is the day I needed to take some time to write about him… I'm grateful that he taught our young dog, Gus, the ways of the world, and the ways of the marsh. Gus picked up more than a couple tricks from old B, and it's a joy for me to see some of B in him. My eyes are full, and my heart is heavy. I’ll never be able to simply write all my thoughts and memories, but I just want everyone, including him, to know ( and my wife believes he’s watching over us) I miss my B…

Kev




His last duck retrieve...




His last goose hunt...


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Kevin Beam: Apr 18, 2009, 5:47 AM
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Hi Kevin:
I was sorting thru the mail and came across your recent posting. It struck me that it was six months ago that I lost my "best friend" in a similar way. Dreading the walk thru the vets door etc,etc. My only thoughts were (at that time) how grateful I was to be blessed with a companion like that and that I would never allow another animal to wrench the "guts" out of my life ever again.
How wrong could I be-yet again in my life.
Without going thru a long discourse - another dog was sent and the whole thing starts!
I have found through this that we are meant to have these dogs and each one of them passes on from one to the other - the responcibility of keeping our sorry butts out of some major jams.
Thanks for your posting and helping me to get my thoughs together.
Regards
Ron
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Kevin I know how you feel and empathise with you. When I had to put down Big Jake on Christmas eve it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My Maggie was the greatest gunning dog I've ever seenbut when I put her down at 171/2 her time had come but when I put down Jake at 8 years its killing me even though I just got a new pup. You show great courage in writting your tribute. I've tried several times to post one for Jake and I cant do it. My heart goes out to you
Sportfishing spring thru fall and gunnig Sea Duck, Puddlers, Divers and Geese all season long. Call me at 1-631-668-5741 http://www.windyducks.com