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