Beau, a Beagle puppy, first saw the light on October 15, 1987.  He was a Christmas 1987 present for 7 year old Bryce Moore of 469 Hot Springs Road, Montecito, California.  From the git-go a life of  confined privilege wasn’t enough for Beau; he was born to wander.   So amazing were his escapades that Bryce’s 11 year old sister, Katie began writing a cartoon “Beau of Hot Springs” for the local Montecito Life weekly.   Some quotes from September 1, 1988 Montecito Life reveal much about one year old Beau’s character:  “Beau has made the summer more exciting,” says Katie.  “He’s a real people dog.  And he runs away real fast.  one minute you see him, the next you’re getting a call about him.”   Katie’s mom Sharon notes that they receive a call about twice a week from various locations where the little Beagle has been found:   “He’s traveled as far south as the Mira Mar hotel and as far north as the as Westmont College.   Beau has also nosed around the dining room of Casa Dorinda, the bar at the Biltmore Hotel and the Chevron Station at 1085 Coast Village Circle.  At Pane E Vinno, an Italian restaurant that recently opened on East Valley Road,  Beau rubbed elbows with celebrity pop singer Michael Mcdonald.  The beagle got to sit in McDonald’s van until the Mores came to pick him up.  He even visited a convent. A nun named Sister Susan called saying that she had taken off her belt to leash Beau until we could come get him”   This caption appears under a photo of Katie writing next to Beau perched atop a fluffed up pillow:  “BEAU the beagle retains editorial control over the cartoon that bears his name. ‘Beau of Hot Springs’ is authored by Katie Moore.

Yes, Beau was a wanderer and a true “peoples dog”.   He ran the gamut from swank bars to rock stars to nuns in convents.   Beau would have it all.  I first became acquainted with Beau when I drove into the Chevron Station noted above.  I’d never picked up a stray before, but I could not resist Beau.  He gazed up at me with his alluring, sad brown eyes, tentatively wagged his tail and I was done for.    I wondered the chance of our meeting at this infinitesimal point in time and space.  My other dog “Underdog” was about 9 years old and I rationalized he would benefit from the company of a younger dog.    I would claim him for Underdog.  So after inquiring around and not finding an owner, I trundled the untagged, mischievous purebred into my car.   Underdog affably abided the errant intruder.  As soon as I got home that February 1989, Friday afternoon I called all the local dog finder locations and left a message that a Beagle had been found.  Part of me wanted him claimed, another part not.

The next day I took Beau and Underdog to Santa Maria to go flying in my 1948 Bellanca Cruisair.  After a bit of apprehension and a little airsickness, Beau finally settled in as my co pilot. His primary job was to look out the window perplexedly for a while, then take a snooze.  Just like a real pilot.

Camping out that night Underdog and Beau were cozily ensconced at the foot of my sleeping bag.   During the night I left my sleeping bag for a moment.  When I re entered the sleeping bag, I was surprised to feel a small furry object at the bottom.  Bo Foo’  had decided to warm up inside the bag, and danged if he was going to come out!  Well, he really wasn’t so big and he kinda kept my feet warm, so I just let him stay .  Thus Beau established the practice where he slept anywhere he chose, including under my blankets.   To enter, he would place himself at the top of the blankets and wait for me to lift them.  Then he would nose his way in while I lifted in advance.   Arriving at just the right spot he would turn a half circle, and flop down with a sigh.

Returning from Santa Maria there was a message that someone had claimed the Beagle.   I called the Moores and verified they were the owners.  I took Beau over in my 1941 Dodge Power Wagon.   Meeting the Moores was a delight.  Bob Moore was amazed that I took Beau flying.  Bob said he used to get carsick just driving a few blocks.    But no more; a few hours driving and flying with me and he was forever an eager voyager.   I dropped Beau off and told Bob if he ever wanted to give him up, I would adopt him.  A few days later Bob called and offered me the dog.  They were worried that Beau  would be run over by a car given his propensity to run away from home.    I picked him up that day and took him back to my ranch where Beau had so much to do exploring the back country, he never again wandered to Montecito.   And taking him with me everywhere fulfilled his strong need to socialize with city folk.  Beau eventually flew co pilot to Lake Tahoe, Oceano, Monterey, Paso Robles, Long Beach and many other California destinations; just like Schultz’s Snoopy.

Beau lived an ideal life on my avocado ranch in Toro Canyon. .  He had acres to roam, free from traffic.  An ideal haunt for the hound that he was.  He delighted in howling and pursuing hapless rodents and rabbits and chasing me on the motorcycle.  He was clever and wary of coyotes and rattlesnakes, deftly avoiding danger.   He had a funny way of running,  skipping and hopping on one or the other back leg, his long ears flapping like wings, his nose snorting a millimeter off the ground.  Beau was a mellow dog; he never growled or snapped at anyone.  OK, maybe a big menacing dog or two, in self-defense.   He wasn’t a “fetch dog”; he had no interest in chasing balls or sticks; leave it to the retrievers.  He avoided water like it was toxic; leave it to the Labs.  (though he was known to roll in bear poop or worse).   Doing tricks, rolling over, shaking hands, etc. was way beneath his dignity; leave it to those fru fru dogs.   When Beau lifted a leg it snapped up like a military salute.   Sniffing around, his slender loins quivered with excitement.

Some of Beau’s favorite things:

Lying in front of the electric heater, gazing wistfully at me.
Sleeping on my bed with his head on my pillow, pretending he’s me.
Standing inside the house with his head sticking outside the dog door, surveying the outdoors.
Playing keep away from Steve.   Come here, Beau!!  meant it’s time to head for the  chaparral.
Getting mad at me (for occasionally being left behind) and tossing my reading glasses or coffee cup into the weeds.
Being carried like the Holy Grail while looking “I’m Special and Important”.
Hunting and howling over the country side.  Snuffling and digging at holes.   Beheading rodents and rabbits.
Hanging out in the car looking forward to me to showing up.
Dashing and weaving, hither and yon,  while deciding if and when he would get in my car.
Having his face or wide little feet tenderly massaged.

Sometime around the beginning of April, 1998, I noticed that Beau was developing a persistent cough.  After waiting about 3 weeks  to see if his cough would clear up, I took him to White’s Pet Hospital in Santa Barbara.   Expecting that he probably had some minor illness, I was stunned when Dr. Kathleen McFarlin informed me that Beau had heart disease and that his cough was due to fluid building up in his lungs.    Unbelievable.   Beau had seemed so strong, agile and invincible.   He was still capable of keeping up with me on my motorcycle traveling around the ranch.   I was convinced he would live to be 18 or 20 years old and now he was having heart problems at barely 9.  I asked the  Dr. if she didn’t think he would live at least another 4 or 5 years.   I thought I was being pessimistic giving him so little time.   When she said she did not think so, my heart sank.   The doctor prescribed pills to get the fluid out of Beau’s lungs, and thus began the final days of Beau.  Over the next two months and one week I did everything I could for Beau.   He had many good days with practically no symptoms of disease.   My hopes were raised at times he would last a few more years.   Then there were some bad days and even worse nights.   It was devastating for me to hear Beau cough.  Two or three times I took Beau to the vet in crises fearing they would advise euthanasia.   Each time he would rally and reignite hope.  He never once seemed concerned about his own condition.  He yielded no ground and made no compromises.   He seldom appeared sad.  He strained at his leash, following his nose.   He pursued rabbits.  He was amazingly quick and light on his feet…he could nimbly sprint some distance in defiance of his disease.   I spoiled him more than ever those last days.   His appetite was spotty and he lost some weight..from 26-28 pounds down to 21 pounds.   I tried all kinds of food on him:  hamburger, chicken, ribs, costly canned products, etc.  Sometimes he would eat, sometimes not.   I resorted to hand feeding him in order to “prime the pump”.   Sometimes it worked, sometime not.    I took him on lots of extra walks.   Each one seemed so important as I knew his days were numbered.  Downtown Santa Barbara, Beau was always an attraction.   Children were especially drawn to him.   Clustering around him they would tentatively touch his tail, pat his side or his head.  As was Beau’s wont, he paid little attention to human affection.  He would ignore the fuss and strain at his leash to check out a bush or a post or some other object of doggie interest.   Perhaps Beau’s maddening indifference to affection was due to the fact that he was so thoroughly loved by me.   Beau knew he was absolutely safe, secure and adored.   Flattering to me, but more likely his indifference was due to his own strong, hound dog sense of independence.

Friday June 26, Beau was well.   Stopping at the saddle to visit with Kerby Spicer, Beau dropped out of the car and caught a rabbit.  Sunday night, June 28, was a horror.  Beau was coughing so often I could not sleep for worry.   Monday I took him to an alternate Vet in the afternoon where, by the time we arrived, he was doing better.   His X-Ray’s looked improved; with little fluid on his lungs.    I went home feeling much better.   I gave Beau his evening pills and tried to feed him from any of 6 varieties of canned dog food.  Nope, he wouldn’t eat.   Then  I tried to feed him some ham, and he went for it.   He stuffed himself.   He ate some dry cat food that he hadn’t touched for a couple of weeks.   Then he drank and sated, went to sleep.   About 2:30 Tuesday morning I awoke to Beau’s coughing.   He was in terrible shape, not breathing at all well.  In the morning I took him to the alternate Vet again and the Dr. was surprised at how quickly he had declined from the prior afternoon.   As this Dr. was new to Beau’s history, I wanted to consult White’s again.  White’s would not open for an hour.  So I took Beau to East Beach for a look at the ocean.   He got out of the car and went a little ways toward the ocean, but seemed to want to go back to the car.   His coughing and labored breathing continued.   I went to the East Beach Grill and ate some breakfast.   Then I took Beau to White’s.   Beau’s Dr.’s, Dr. Posch and Dr.  McFarlin, were not available, much to my frustration.    I made an appointment with the only other Dr. available for 12:30 PM and went over to a friend’s house.   Arriving there, Beau had some difficulty climbing the stairs due to heart lung dysfunction.   We watched a World Cup soccer match while I waited for my appointment.   Beau’s condition was painful to witness.   I decided to go back to White’s in hopes that Dr. Casau (White’s reputable heart specialist)  would have a cancellation and I could get in earlier.   Good news:  the cancellation occurred and I got an 11:15 appointment with Dr. Casau.     While waiting for my appointment, Dr. McFarlin came in wearing her civvies and pushing a bike.   Turns out she was there on her day off to see another patient of hers.  I was glad to see her, as I had great faith in her abilities and appreciated her compassion.  She offered to be with me when Dr. Casau examined Beau.   Finally, Beau and I went into the exam room.   Beau was weighed and he had gained a couple of pounds (the ham and cat food)…good news.   Dr. Casau read over the charts for a few minutes, then spoke.   He said Beau’s condition had dramatically worsened.   He had deteriorated from merely having heart disease to having heart failure.   He was in respiratory distress due to all the fluid in his lungs.   His heart rhythm was out of whack.  Dr. Casau indicated the best case scenario for Beau was three more months, maximum.   He would need to be stabilized and if that worked he would then have to go on digoxin and other medications that would toxify his body.  Beau could have other heart valve problems that would make any effort to save him futile.  It would be a short, roller coaster finish for Beau and for me.   He said as a doctor he would like the challenge of sparing Beau.   But he added that the right thing to do would be to euthanize him.  It was an ambiguous answer.   I wanted to be told what to do.   Playing God is hell. This was the worst dilemma  I could imagine.   But I wanted it over with.   I couldn’t bear seeing Beau suffer anymore.  Feeling like Judas, I agreed to have him euthanized and signed the paper.   Dr. Casau left the room to get the syringe.  I began to sob while I frantically hugged and stroked Beau.     Beau sat trustingly passive while a fresh white towel was placed beneath him.    I have never felt more anguish in my life.   I wept and stammered  “you are a good dog, I love you, I’ll see you again, I love you, I love you…  Dr. Casau returned.  I watched the needle go into his left foreleg at 11:40 AM.  The plunger went down.  Beau shifted then sat still for 15 or 20 seconds…longer than I expected, then quietly slumped onto the table, lying on his left side.  His eyes never closed and he never looked more beautiful in quiet repose.  His labored breathing ceased, his sweet joyful life finished.  It was hard to believe he was gone..he was still looking at me with his loving soft brown eyes.   But the light was gone, and I was no longer a star.  Filled with despair and crying helplessly, I hugged Dr. McFarlin.   I told them I wanted to bury Beau at my ranch.  She brought in a cubical box that looked too small.  She said he could be curled up in there.  I helped lift him into the box and he looked adorable in there.   On the way home I stopped to get gas at a self serve.   I forgot to take the gas hose out when I left and ripped it out of the pump.   I went in  and apologized then went home.  On the way back I thought of everything I was going to do when I got there.    First I would bury Beau, then I would get rid of everything that belonged to him.   I didn’t want any reminders around.    I drove down to the pond and parked.   I was going to bury Beau next to Spanky in the shade of the oak tree by the little cabin we used to live in.  Beau would be OK with that.   I started digging a hole and Osiel came down to help.   Since Osiel first got to know Beau, he had earned his trust.  Beau loved the Mexican food, tortillas and chicken Osiel would so generously share with him.  Eventually, Beau allowed Osiel to carry him; a privilege granted to few others   On the way to vet this morning Beau and I ran into Osiel coming to work.  I told him Beau might be gone soon and he tenderly hugged and kissed Beau for the last time.  I got the box out of the truck and it was warm where Beau was lying.   He was giving up the last of his body heat.  I felt sick.   I asked Osiel to leave then and wrapped Beau in a clean, faded blue towel.  I placed his limp body into the hole and arranged him in a comfortable position; his nose pointed toward Spanky’s tail.   Then I quickly covered him up.  I placed a small wooden cross and two roses over his  grave.  I went up to my cabin and walked over to see my dad.   Weeping, I told him what I had done.  Then I called my mom and bawled a message onto her recorder.  I started with the trucks removing Beau’s leashes, water bowls, medicine, and pillows.   Then I went into the cabin and threw out the open dog food cans and placed the unopened cans and the new fleece lined bed I had recently bought him into my truck to give to Corey’s dogs.   I closed his doggie door for the last time.  I saved Beau’s chain leash that had belonged to Anne Hayden’s Basenji,  “Boota”.  There was another leash I wanted to save and I had it in my hand to hang up…but it vanished.   I was not thinking clearly.  I also will save the Beagle book that the Moores gave me when they gave me Beau.  Inside it says:  “for Beau 10-15-87 to Bryce Dec. 1987”.    I will keep the September 1, 1988 Montecito Life article by Michelle LeJeune, about BEAU.

I have so many memories of Beau.   I cannot stop thinking he’s still here.  He went everywhere with me.  Approaching my truck I expect to see his little head peering out the window looking for me.  Then getting in and seeing him give me that half hearted tail wag and flopping down on the seat next to me with a contented sigh.  All is right in Beau’s world.   It’s hard to believe but just looking at Beau’s cute little whiskers could make me smile and feel good.

Do this for me and Beau:  Please be kind to your pets.   They don’t last long.  They are innocents.  Feed them and give them water.  Give them lots of exercise, attention and love.  Keep them cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.   Give them something soft to lie down on.  If they are in your car,  park so the car will remain in the shade as the sun moves.   Windows open sufficiently for good air circulation.  Let them out often to relieve themselves.  Don’t ever let them get loose in the street!  Consider neutering your pet..too many are destroyed because they cannot find a home.  Your pet will mirror your treatment of them.   Let it be a reflection of love and gentleness.

— Steve from Carpinteria, CA