Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


2005(?)--February 7, 2011
Gotcha Day--January 14, 2006

Big beautiful Boone passed away around 4 a.m. on February 7. His leaving was not peaceful, but he died in his home, with those he loved around him.
After a very good day, filled with chewy treats, special meals, a short stroll and hanging out and sleeping restfully in front of the fire, he suddenly took a turn for the worse around midnight.

At first I thought he was experiencing an upset tummy, but as time went on, the seriousness of what was happening became obvious. As the initial symptoms came into play, they were mild and not too worrisome. By the time I realized that he was not having some sort of upset from the meds, it was too late to load him in the truck and make the 50 mile trip to the emergency clinic. Instead I sat with him and tried to comfort him. I know in my heart that this would have been his choice, rather than to end his days away from his home. The very end was easier for him, and Ashley and I held him folded up in a blanket of love.

A little over five years ago, my life changed dramatically on a simple trip to town. I encountered a very desperate Boone standing in the road on my way home, and once our eyes locked, there was no other choice but to welcome this new creature into my heart.Life with Boone was a bit like getting swept away in an avalanche. After the initial early weeks of getting 'back on his feet' he never looked back and had enough energy for five or six dogs.

Never having had to deal with a 'bully' breed, I took it to heart that if I didn't make sure he had lots of exercise and interaction he would turn out to be a very bad dog. To that end I nearly ran myself ragged that first year or so.Boone was never a very bad dog, and didn't have the makings in his soul to be that way. Boone was always a very good dog, or at least he cared enough to try. After I calmed down and started to understand him we had a much more mellow time.

Boone had one goal in life--to be with me. His intensity was a bit overwhelming at times. If I didn't want to go out and walk or stay outside and play, then he would just sulk. Nope, it's no fun without my person.

His biggest fault those first years was cat chasing. As a home that already had several established cats both inside and out, this was distressing on all levels. I was told by breed advocates that he could never be trusted with cats and would likely kill them even if he became used to them. So for the first several years he had to stay in a large pen with a large shed in the backyard when I was gone. He gradually graduated step by step to supervised yard time and then the full run of the yard. He never caught a cat and he never harmed a cat.

He chased lots of cats, and I usually was chasing right behind him screaming my head off. As the years passed one day it finally clicked for him that certain cats were 'his' cats and he stopped chasing them. They even got bold enough to walk near him and around him, but never were really relaxed in his presence. The six-pack kitties never had any sense about anything and adopted Boone as their big brother. He was very tolerant of them. When they were still outside and Noah was going through his initial seizure activity, the dogs were very kind to him. Because Noah couldn't keep up with his sibs during that time, he would follow Boone and Ashley around.

Over the years I had Boone he killed two skunks. He tried to take out two 'possums, but their 'playing dead' only got them a mauling.

Boone never, ever, ever had a mean bone in his body towards humans. He was gentle and kind and always open to new friendships. Everyone was a potential friend in his eyes. 99 percent of everyone that met him in person or online loved the big slob. Despite all that he went through before he came to live here, he still trusted people to be kind. That didn't mean he was stupid and he was very watchful of things that looked fishy in his eyes. With Boone 'watching' the place I have felt very safe over the past five years. It feels very strange not to have my backup boy taking care of things.

Like many dogs of his breed, he was potentially dog aggressive. I never gave him a chance to interact with other male dogs, and the few girl dogs he met, he would try and dominate at first, but became quickly accepting of them. When I got him I had two collies--Jody and Ariel. Jody was very quick to welcome him into the pack, but she passed only five or six months after he joined us. In his exuberance as a youngster, he managed to bowl Ariel (and well, me too) over a few times and so she had a bit of fear of him. They forged a friendship over the years they were together, but Ariel was older and fragile and couldn't play with him.
When Ariel passed, Boone was very sad. Boone loved his 'pack' and mourned heavily. Another dog was needed even though I didn't feel quite ready. When I got Ashley a year and half ago, at first he was going to take her down and tear her little furry heart out. That lasted about two minutes and with many laps around the property with both on short lead, and then later visiting through a barrier Boone was ready to welcome his new buddy within hours. Ashley and Boone became very fast friends.

What a silly pair they looked, but they depended on each other and enjoyed having each other as a buddy. With Ashley he could play and run and steal each others bones and toys.

The other day Boone was in the house and I had put Ashley out because she was restless and needed some 'air'. Boone became very concerned after a time and insisted that he had to go out or she had to come in. How could I refuse? Ashley is very sad now, and was laying on the front step when I came home, whining and depressed. At first I couldn't figure out what the noise I was hearing was from, but it was from Boone's sad little girlie.

If you have read my blog very long, you might remember Boone's addiction to stuffed toys. He rarely pulled the stuffing out, but he would drag them around and maim them in other ways. At times my yard looked like a stuffed toy graveyard. When it came time for periodic cleanup of the various toys, he would get very upset when he saw his bits and pieces of stuffed animals disappearing into the trash sack. If I didn't watch him he would go and pull them back out! I always refreshed his stash with new bears, monkeys, balls etc, but he still mourned those thrown away.

Boone's favorite thing in the world was to come in the house in the evenings and crash on his bed and snore his heart out. Not great aspirations but very important to him! He was in the middle of his little pack and happy as a clam. It's very quiet here tonight.When he was younger that first year we played lots of fetch. He loved to have me throw his monkey toy or one of his many many other stuffed toys. He quickly learned manners, like drop it, wait, sit, down and shake, and never jumped on people--although getting dog slobbered was always a huge risk. He was always easy to work with and it was fun to play toss the toy with him. It was pretty scary though when he would run full bore at you--only twice did he miscalculate and send me flying, but that was enough. I don't think he ever understood how massive and strong he was. His tolerance for pain was amazing.

And of course we can't forget his love of his swimming pool! My how that boy enjoyed cooling his toes on a hot summer day, even if he did look rather comical. If I was slow in changing the water or putting the pool up, he could really pull out all the stops on 'abused dog face'.

Perhaps his very, very favorite thing though was micro-managing me. He was constantly trying to run the show, especially when it came to me going out in the pasture with the sheep. Up and down the fence, up and down the fence he would run. Sometimes he would bark obnoxiously (he rarely barked!) because he was left behind. Anything to get my attention off those dratted sheep and back on him. Lambing season, especially the first one for him, was very depressing, as my attention was focused on those stupid lambs, instead of him. We had lots of 'discussions' back and forth while I was doing chores, because he knew I couldn't do much about him hysterically barking and running the fence when I was in with the sheep.

As he got a little older and especially after Ashley joined us, he got a little less possessive and watchful of my every move.

But he was always glued to the back gate keeping an eye on me while I did chores...even when he wasn't feeling well last week. Even the day before he died. I will really, really miss his watchful eye and intent expression. His face was so very expressive and it was easy to see what he was thinking. He was almost human at times.

To be honest, I can't even think of him not being here, as he was such a powerful and constant presence. Somehow five years ago he inserted himself squarely into my heart and has made darn sure he kept himself front and center ever since.

I remember when we had the big ice storm in 2007---I was out in the night after the first round, trying to get the rams gate shut, so they would be safe, wading under downed branches and listening to more cracking overhead. But I wasn't out there alone, as big Boone was right on my heels trying to help. Sometimes in the evening or early morning, when it was still dark, if I felt creepy doing chores I'd send him out ahead to check the garage. He was a good guard.

Last week when I was snowed in and Boone had his first episode I was besides myself because I couldn't get him to the vet sooner. Then Friday I finally got him out and he seemed to improve a little each day on the meds, and I grew hopeful. In my heart though, I have sensed this day approaching for months. I'm not sure why, but I always knew the time with Boone would be shorter than I would ever want.

Now as I look back on that last week, it seems to me that it was a blessing in disguise. Boone was not well, and he had managed to hide most of his distress from me, so that it seems he was much sicker than he appeared. Why a blessing? Because I was snowed in, and couldn't go to work for four days, Boone got to stay in the house all day and all night....right where he wanted to be--with me. Church was canceled on Sunday so in all Boone got to spend six very good days with those he loved near, stretched out in front of the fire, instead of having to stay outside and wait and wait for me to get home from work. I am very glad that his last week was spent in this way that was special for him.

When he passed Monday morning, it was so incredibly hard, but I'm very glad I could be with him and not have come home and found him gone alone. It still doesn't seem real.

I know this is long, and I might add to it, because it's important to me to capture the spirit of that mighty dog with the big, big heart. I can say with all truth and in all respect for my dear friend--He Was A Good Dog. And I can also say he was a dear friend and a fun buddy and my heart will always have a special memory of Boone-dog.

Boone and I would be honored for his existence and his story to inspire others to open their hearts to a new furry friend. Maybe one that challenges you and one you might not pick on your first thought. I would say take a chance because you never know the friendship and devotion that will come your way, by a mere act of kindness.

For now it's at times unbearable that he isn't here, snoring obnoxiously and stretched out in front of the fire. With time I hope to be able to remember silly, goofy, intense and loyal Boone without this deep sadness.

Farewell, my big friend. Thanks to God for seeing fit to place you in my life. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Love you, big goof.

I have tried all week to get this post together, but it has been a struggle. I know that many of you will be very sad to hear of Boone's passing, but your love and sweetness towards a big dog you have known only from afar, has always touched my heart.


Vicki Lane said...

I was afraid, when I saw the title, of what this post would be and I'm typing through tears. I loved Boone too.

How wonderful that he ended his time on earth at home. My love to you, Tammy. You were the perfect person for the big guy.

Kathy said...

Clearly, Boone was sent to you for special reasons. I know the Big Lug will be watching over you and his "pack" of Ashley and the cats until you meet again, Tammy.
Your post is a great honor to the dog no one wanted - and as much as he did for you, you did for him as well. You gave him a very good life, my friend...and he gave the same right back to you.
My heart and thoughts have been with you all week. Just know, Tam...Boone is at peace and no longer hurts. Blessings on the Big Lug's heart...
and yours.

Christine said...

I am so sorry to hear this. But I am also grateful he was able to spend that precious time with you and you were there when he passed. Ir couldn't have been any better to him I am sure.

Laura said...

I'm sitting here in my public library, sobbing. I so understand. Four years ago, my boxer, Ceili, bloated and had to be put down. I was inconsolable. I took the next day off work. I cried at my desk. Through it all, I remembered how much I loved her, my first after divorce dog. We had some really, really good times - running on the beach, chasing other dogs, and getting them to chase her.

I've always loved the "smushed-face" big dogs. When I first read your blog, I was so happy to see Boone. I will miss him, too.

Donna said...

This was a hard one to read...I have enjoyed your posts about Boon from the get go...he truly was a character. Bless you for opening your heart and your home to this big wonderful lug. I need to go hug my dogs........

janna Edrington said...

I am so very sorry. You were both very fortunate to have each other.

Michelle said...

Even knowing he was gone already, this post has brought rivers of tears. For your loss, for my own in the past. I had that same pre-loss heartbreak with Rosie; I just KNEW I wasn't going to have her long enough and even mentioned it to my sister. (She has told me not to tell her if I have a premonition about HER!) I hope Ashley has puppies to help occupy her mind and yours; how are the cats taking Boone's absence?

Donna said...

I am so sorry that he is gone. Your post is a great tribute to him, and I am so glad you took the time to help us know what a great dog he was. I love him, just because you loved him so much in your sotries about him. I am going to miss him too.

Tina T-P said...

Boone's story has always been an inspiration - and he loved you so much - his time on this earth with you was truly his heaven. Hopefully he didn't chase Sinda when she met him at the Bridge.. :-) T.

Pat in east TN said...

What a wonderful tribute you wrote for Boone. I always enjoyed your comments about him over the years, and your pictures of him also.

How blessed you both were to have each other in your lives.

Louise said...

I think that all of us who followed your blog loved Boone. He will be missed by many people who never met him in person. Boone was a very special dog, and, in your tribute to him, you have captured his essence.

So, farewell, Boone. You were a good and loyal friend, and you will live in Tammy's heart until you meet again at the Bridge.

phylliso said...

My heart is breaking for you & Boone.I believe everyone who has read about his adventures with you have been in love with the big goofy dog.God placed him in your life for a reason,He will fill your void now too with happy memories of all the fun you both have had together over the years.I love this tribute to him & know how hard it was for you to write.May God place His comforting arms about you & hold you close,phylliso

corinne said...

Oh, Tammy, I am so sorry to hear about Boone's passing.
His story touched all of our hearts right from the beginning, and your tales of his life there with you always brought a smile to my face.
As Kathy said, he will be watching over you all.
You were so lucky to have found each other.

Nancy K. said...

I can't even say anything

I need orange said...


I am so sorry.

He was such a GOOD dog.

How lucky he was that it was you, that day, who saw him in his time of need, cold, hungry, wounded......

Thank you for sharing him with us. He was surely one of a kind.

kristi said...

My heart breaks for you as I so understand what you are feeling right now. The lose of a big dog is like no other and the feeling helplessness just aches at ones emotions. The emptiness in the house will take time and the memories will gradually fill the house with laughter over time. I am sending you huge hugs to let you know I am thinking of you!

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I came over from Nancy's blog (A Shepherds Voice) because she'd mentioned in a comment about Boone. I'm so touched by your beautiful tribute to him and I feel like I know Boone just a little bit because of what you've written. What an amazing life and how lucky he was and you were to have found one another. I'm so sorry for your loss of your friend and companion. I hope you will find comfort in your memories of him that no one will ever be able to take away...

Karen Anne said...

I am so sorry. What a wonderful dog.

I have always had cats, but I would have been honored to have a dog like Boone.

Dreaming said...

I have just come across your site from a link on A Little Farm With a Big Heart's site. I was enamored with the picture of Boone and had to find out more about him. How sad to learn such a noble dog has passed on, but how wonderful that he had such a loving family and a good last week. Your post is a fabulous tribute to him. Just from that one post I felt like I knew him, and I cried, big tears for big Boone.
Thank you for telling me about him. Thank you for rescuing him. He certainly was put in the right place so he could connect with someone to love and care for him.
Losing fuzzy friends is hard. They just don't live long enough. But, wonderful memories of them stay with us forever. God Bless you!

thecrazysheeplady said...

I think I started reading your blog because of a link to Boone's story. Might have been your beautiful collies and THEN I met Boone. I can't remember anymore because it just always seemed like Boone's blog. He was a BIG dog, not just in physical size. I had something weird happen the other day. I did a quick, over the shoulder glance at my sheep and saw, clear as anything, Esther standing out there with them. Just for a split second. You can take from that what you want - maybe I'm crazy - but it made me happy to even at least think about it. {{{hug through Boone tears}}}

Rae said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about Boone. He truly was an ambassador for his breed and all "bully" dogs in general. Of all the dogs I've known and loved, bullies seem to demand a huge piece of your heart, and deserve every bit they win. He was incredibly blessed to have you as his person.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

oh my, I'm just now reading about Boone's passing. So very sorry, I now he had a wonderful life we you. Actually you're going to heaven because you rescued Boone, and loved him so.

marie said...

He was a magnificent dog and he was so very lucky to have found you. I feel very sad for you and for me because it makes me think of the dogs who were in my life and passed away.
Bless your heart to have rescued him and sending you courage in your time of mourning.


Nancy K. said...

I want to thank you for sharing your big, wonderful Boone Dog with us. He will live on in all of our hearts.

I have to admit, I can't remember ever crying so much about somebody else's dog dying.

But I miss Boone!


Just know that you are not alone.

lynnm said...

I've been visiting your site for a while, after finding it linked to a blog from a fellow dog-rescue volunteer.

I enjoyed your blogs, your writing, and reading about your little piece of rural heaven - but I have to admit that what really kept me coming back was that big, beautiful dog. I would click in periodically and be disappointed if the kitties were getting the air-time instead of Boone, who seemed so obviously the star of the show.

I am so sorry that he is gone - both for you, and selfishly, because somehow I will miss him too. I have a special place in my heart for the bully breeds, and am happy that Boone found such a wonderful home with you.

It's funny - my mother just lost her 6-yr old Bullmastiff without warning or identified cause. But the episode that lead to his death - his legs went out and he was in obvious distress - really reminds me of how you described Boone's first episode.

Mom rushed Gus to the vet around 10pm where they ran multiple tests. All came back negative, and he seemed to be doing just a little bit better.

They left him to stay overnight so the vet could monitor him and perform a heart ultrasound in the morning. Unfortunately, he had another episode during the night and could not be saved.

Gus died about 4am on Monday, Feb 7 - just like Boone. I hope they've become friends up there, and can be big, silly red oafs together.

Thanks for going out on a limb and saving that big, scary dog. I hope that the hole in your heart mends soon, and that your memories of the big guy are a comfort to you for years to come.

Lynn, St. Louis MO

SouthernHeart said...

There are tears in my eyes as I finish this beautiful post about an incredible dog. I just today found your blog on Desert Peach Farm. I'll look forward to catching up on back posts. My heart goes out to you for the pain losing Boone has caused you. Obviously, he was meant to be yours all along...


Nancy K. said...

Hi Tammy.

I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I think about you (and Boone, of course) every day. I am so grateful to you for sharing his story (and your courage, strength and sense of humor!) with us over the years. I truly think Boone's story should be made into a book. And can think of nobody better to write it than YOU...

When it doesn't hurt so much.

God Bless You and I hope you find peace and joy in Springtime and the new life that comes with it.

Even though we will always miss Boone...

Penny said...

I am so very sorry. After reading your many posts that included Boone I felt he was very special and a dog I would have enjoyed meeting.
Take care.

RiverBend Farm said...

Tammy, I'm just now getting to read updates on my favorite blogs and came across the death of Boone. I am devastated for you! There is nothing I can possibly say to make the hurt go away. I know you will miss the big guy..I think God blessed you both when He crossed your paths.