I want to tell you a story about Beau.

Beau, a typical Great Pyr,  spent most of his life chained in a chicken shed. He was kept there for no particular reason that I know of, except that perhaps his owners thought he would protect the chickens or something.

He was fed nothing except table scraps.  He had no idea what dog food was.

One day, about a week ago, a hero came into Beau’s life and rescued him.

She’s a friend of mine, this hero. She’s a mom, a wife, and dog rescuer.  She found out about Beau and arranged to get him and bring him home.

It was a wonderful story, the kind that brings you to tears. This dog, about 12 months old, was rescued from the horrible life he had led, all his life, all the life he’d ever known, living in that damned chicken shed, alone, ignored, unsocialized, probably kicked, certainly frightened, and by all means, neglected.

She brought him home.

She cleaned him up. She had the vet out and began the long process of getting him up to date on his shots and checking him out for physical problems.

It looked great.

She was telling me about this, day by day, hour by hour, as Beau was redeemed.

And then she hit a big snag.

She knew going in that Beau was food aggressive, but that was to be expected. He’d never been fed properly in his life.

However, he bit her husband.  He also began chasing his tail and snarling in spurts.

When a dog bites a human, there’s a big problem. When a rescued dog bites a human, there’s a bigger problem.  How can you offer a dog to anyone if you know he’s bitten somebody?

So our hero did something fabulous.

She contacted an animal behaviorist to come out and check Beau out and see if there was an underlying aggression issue.  And he passed with flying colors.  He was terrified, and neglected, and unsocialized, but not basically aggressive.

Her husband, a really super good guy, went and bought Beau some toys and everything was forgiven.

And now I’m going to tell you how it all ended up so great and Beau is just coming around nicely and it will all be sunshine and roses forever.


Well, no.

Two days ago, he had a second appointment with the vet, and during that visit, something just snapped in Beau.  It was all too much for some reason.  He went completely berserk and if he’d not been muzzled at the time, he would have killed the person closest to him.

Nobody knows why.  The vet had no idea. The animal behaviorist doesn’t know why. Our hero doesn’t know why.

But she had to make a horrible decision. She had to figure out what was the best thing to do for Beau.

So, she put up something on Facebook and said, “I have a dog here who has some problems with aggression. If somebody doesn’t come get him, I’m going to have him put to sleep.”

You reckon that’s what she did?

She did not. Somebody else did that, I think, but our hero did not.

Instead, she did what heroes do. She took responsibility for the situation and made an informed decision.

She had the vet come out today.  They anesthetized Beau and took him back to the office where they did every test conceivably possible on him. They did x-rays, blood work, a complete physical from head to tail, looking for any physical explanation for his behavior.

There was nothing wrong with Beau’s body.

There was simply something very, very wrong with Beau’s brain.

And then our hero cried, and made the decision not to wake Beau up.

That is what you do when you’re a hero.  Every story doesn’t have a happy ending.  Many of them do, of course. Every life doesn’t end like Beau’s did, but the occasional Beau comes along and heroes face it.

My hat is off to my friend today.

RIP, Beau.

And in the words of my friend:

People need to realize they don’t need a dog if they are going to make them a yard ornament. I have closure.
A very wise older lady one told me that children and animals don’t have voices. If we aren’t their voices they will forever suffer in silence



38 thoughts on “Beau”

  1. My friend had a golden retriever that was a super sweet dog, but was abused as a puppy and had random triggers. He bit me once because I hugged him from behind (this dog knew me well.) My friends made the heartbreaking decision to put him down, because he snapped at others and they never knew what would set him off. And he was SUCH a social dog, that he NEEDED the human interaction…he wouldn’t be satisfied being an indoor dog with outdoor time on the leash. He needed to run and love up on people. Because he was so amazingly sweet. Except when he wasn’t. And they just couldn’t trust him. It was a super sad thing, but they did the best thing for their sweet boy. And 10 years later, they are still heartbroken; but it was still the right choice.


  2. That is such a hard situation. I think your friend went above and beyond realistic means of helping poor Beau. Mistakes were made with Beau, but they were made long before your friend tried to clean up the mess.

    Unfortunately, I think it’s very possible Beau’s lack of socialization with humans and other dogs broke him in a way that couldn’t be fixed without extreme risk to the humans involved….and in a situation like that, rescue just isn’t realistic. The sad reality is that there are thousands of dogs without health problems or behavior problems being put up the chimney or in a hole every day in America. There are limited rescue resources. Dogs that pose a danger to humans cannot be placed, and keeping them is not only a liability to the rescue, it prevents others from being rescued. It’s no win. It’s tragic and sad, but sometimes euthanasia is best.

    “there aren’t enough homes”…. is the BIGGEST LIE ever told to excuse a horrible social failure. The reason thousands of unwanted pets die…is because people make bad choices, they don’t think ahead, they don’t live up to their responsibilities, and they treat pets like disposable toys. And when they have problems, they pass the buck. Just like Beau’s owner did to your friend.

    Don’t want to be responsible for a needless euthanasia?

    Commit to the lifespan of your pet.
    Sterilize them and keep them on your property when not leashed….that’s good citizenship.
    Train, Socialize and train some more.
    Groom, exercise, keep up on preventative health care.
    Only have a pet you’ll love and value daily. 5 minutes of attention and socialization a day is not enough for a social pack animal.

    If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to do all of this….save a life, and DONT get a pet.


  3. My son and his wife rescue Basset hounds, one of there rescues was a old fellow named Ryder. a bit on the food aggresive side but not real bad . I had wtched him a few times and he was ok with me but he had his moments. As time went on he got worse, vet checks showed nothing, they brought in animal behavorioust. nothing worked. It got to the point where he ws lashing out and anyone and anything, his other rescues stayed way from him from fear. Ryder is buried in my yard y son and his wofe did the right thing, he was loved and held until the lsat minute and did not end up on a leash and have child end his life with a .22


  4. I cannot even imagine an aggressive Basset. They don’t have enough energy, do they? LOL Ours didn’t. Wagging her tail was about as much as she could muster.


  5. Well, sometimes we wish. But we typically treat mental illness in human beings.

    Beau wasn’t “mean.” He was literally mentally ill.

    The culprit is the person who did that to him.


  6. Beautiful story, raw, and made me tear up. I love dogs so much. We are the dogs’ advocates. It’s just sad that other peoples’ poor decisions become our heart break. Spay and neuter. My one dog is a rescue and I’ve had a few rescue cats too, so sad. They are incredibly forgiving of human behavior. I use to look at my cat and think often who would just abandon you, closed inside of an empty trailer house for over a month. Who would do that? She was so sweet and incredibly well behaved. She had even been fixed before I ended up with her! Someone, at some point, cared enough to give her vet care. She was so old, maybe that’s why they left her? We only had her for 2 years before her suffering got too bad and we had to euthanize her. She had a beautiful soul. It was so f-ing hard, my god it was so hard because it felt like we didn’t have her long enough. But I just remind myself that those last 2 years she had with us she was loved, happy, and content. That’s all that really matters in the end, was that she knew she was loved. I don’t even like cats but I loved her, she was seriously something special.


  7. It’s funny how we associate different breeds with different behaviors.
    But aggression is SUCH a wildcard. Particularly super crazy dominance aggression.

    I’ve met a metric ton of dogs in my life, through work and volunteer positions. My family has been puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We enjoy a lot of training events like agility trails, obedience, search and rescue, dog scout camp. Dogs are a pretty big part of our world.

    I’ve met aggressive dogs. Was bitten quite badly by a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Have known fear biters and dominance biters. Have attended some interesting behavior seminars at veterinary colleges, and have studies a hundred different cases of dogs that have killed people, particularly children. (FYI, when you bring a new baby home….NEVER leave it alone with the dog, particularly in the first two weeks, because this is when the vast majority of dog/infant deaths occur. At about a month, you’re much safer, but should still use common sense)

    This will blow your mind…because it still blows mine.

    The single most aggressive dog I’ve ever met in my life was a black lab named Alex. He was one of those dogs that doesn’t bark at you. He’d stand on back legs, straining against restraint…with his mouth open…and the noise that came out could only be described as a roar of hellish fury. Alex was the kind of dog that would try to kill you if he broke loose of restraint. He was serious, and he was insanely dangerous.

    A lab. A freakin lab. The world’s easiest push button pre-packaged family dog. The dogs they use in almost all service arenas because of their mild temperament and willingness to please everyone….and one of their rank was the most terrifying dog I’ve ever met. It still shocks me.

    Over tens of thousands of years, people perverted wolves into all sorts of shapes and sizes to suit them. Breeding for horrible cosmetic traits, useful behaviors, heartiness for jobs.

    They’re still wolves, though. Canis Lupus Familiaris. You can put sperm of almost any breed of dog in a lady wolf and have viable offspring that can reproduce. (This is a terrible idea, incidentally…will save the hybrid rant for another day) My point is….that fuzzy couch potato…is still a wolf. A really weird wolf, who wants to chase balls and take car rides to get cheeseburgers at McDonalds, and hides sticks of butter under your pillow.

    We’ve been perfecting this relationship since long before the early people figured out how to record history. We started breeding for traits we liked…submission, silliness, dependence……we liked the infantile behaviors of baby wolves, and we avoided the adult pack power struggle behaviors that would cause us problems. Over time, guess what we got? Infantile animals who literally have half the brains of their wild cousins. Perpetual wolf puppies that never grow up. Peter Pan Puppies.

    We essentially made deformed, developmentally disabled wolves. And for the most part, it’s worked out really well.

    But once in a while, DNA lines up just right to slip in a wildcard from the past…and we end up with an individual animal who believes he needs to challenge the power hierarchy, because it’s true to wolf instinct to do so. He’s still an intellectually challenged wolf…who is now conflicted between the domestic part of his brain that wants to stay an infant, and the emerging wild card urge to take charge of the pack, or die trying. This makes him unstable and impossible to “fix”. It’s not super common, and it’s certainly not the animal’s fault, but it can be pretty tragic for all involved when it occurs. Think Lennie in Of Mice and Men.

    But yeah…these weird throwbacks happen in about any breed you can imagine. Again, not very often…and there are certainly other ways dogs can be aggressive…guarding behavior of food, prey-drive, fear….but the really weird ones, the ones that are incredibly dangerous and make a decision to challenge the social structure of the pack? Those animals are bad news and it just never ends well for them or the people who insist that “with enough love they can be made whole”. If they were whole? They’d live in the woods and disappear at the first smell of a human.

    The history of how dogs came to be is absolutely fascinating. For anyone who’s interested, there’s a hell of an interesting article I love. An oldie, but a goodie from Discover Magazine called Ascent of the Dog. You can read it here:


  8. I have a friend who rescues Rotties. Recently, she took one in similar to this story, just different details. Similar ending. Sad that the humans who try to help, and the dogs that have suffered end up being punished for the wrongs of irresponsible animal owners. Just be a decent human being in the first place. How hard is that?


  9. Is food aggressive, just as it sounds? They get aggressive when they are trying to eat? I guess I can google it…ha!


  10. It is so sad what an neglectful/cruel idiot can do to an innocent animal. Your friend really is a true hero and though loving intervention wasn’t enough to be able to help Beau he got to experience a good life whilst he was with her. The suffering he would have endured had she not intervened is not to be thought of. Please pass on my respect to your friend.


  11. Beau was lucky. He died but he was given every chance to live. Difficult as the decision was to make, your friend was indeed a hero. Please extend my sympathies to her and her family. Sometimes making the right decision isn’t the easy decision.


  12. We have Great Pyrenees. They are so loyal. The one we had when my oldest son was born decided my son was his responsibility. He slept under his window & never left his side when we were outside with my son.
    There was one strange thing…our electric co-op changed meter readers & the new guy came out to read ours. Our dog would not let him out of the truck. Now mind you we had people come to our place all the time…mail carrier, UPS, Schwann man, etc. They were never growled at or even really paid that much attention to, but the new guy had something about him that our dog sensed. He had to read our meter from his truck with his binoculars which isn’t unusual out here in the country. Come to find out later he was arrested for robbery. Our dog knew not to trust him.
    Your friend went above & beyond.
    My hat is off to her & her husband. She is a hero, although I suspect she will never accept that term for herself.
    Because real heroes never do.
    Please thank her for me.


  13. I think children can tern ” mean ” or mentaly ill depending on the the inviroment they are raised in. Some are just born that way,I call it the bad seed.


  14. Hi — I’ve been lurking forever and just had to post because I have a similar story with another basset hound. When I was stationed in Japan I became involved with an animal rescue group and ended up with a 7 year old basset hound that had been kept in a closet, in his own feces, for his entire life. He had so little exercise in his life that he could barely walk. I was in the military and the rescue group was hoping I could find a military family to rehome him to.

    The first sign of trouble was he bit the person who was interpreting for me when they reached for his bag. We took him home, and he LOVED me and followed me everywhere. He was not even able to walk around the block because of years of not being able to move, in fact he had growths between the paws on his feet that the vet said were probably atrophied muscles that dropped (or something like that — I can’t remember really well, this was 15 years ago). We tried to rehome him, and he bit the man at that home. Brought him home and he was okay for awhile (although he had a stink that would NOT wash away) until finally he became aggressive with my husband to the point that he would try to bite him if he even walked near him (luckily he was very slow)

    We had to make the painful decision to put him down as well, as the years of neglect had warped his brain to the point that he wasn’t safe to be around people.

    It was very sad.. I will never forget him <3

    I just had to speak up that yes, a basset does have the energy to be aggressive and I have also experienced a basset that was unable to rehabilitated.

    Thanks for this blog by the way, I really like the direction you've taken it recently. You have a lot of insight to share and I enjoy reading about your life experiences.


  15. Yes a basset can get aggresive, at the end Ryder showed nothig but teeth if you went near him,
    It was so sad to see such a nice dog just lose his mind I see NN is all about posting about Great Pyrs tody,, nah she dont read here. NN, such loser


  16. @3boysmom, my Pyr/Rott mix was the same, I miss her so much she died of old age last February. She kept anyone sketchy away from my Mother and Me, itinerant barn painters, the guys who sell meat out of the back of trucks. If she accepted someone we knew they were ok, she loved our UPS Guy and the guy who delivered our propane.


  17. I just had to speak up that yes, a basset does have the energy to be aggressive and I have also experienced a basset that was unable to rehabilitated.

    That’s such a sad story. I despise people who are cruel to animals.


  18. Don’t hate, but off topic again. Have you listened to S-Town, the new podcast from the Serial and This American Life producers?


  19. *Tangentially related to the topic of Beau*

    I got my pamphlet in the mail today from the KY Sheriff’s Boys & Girls Ranch. We ARE getting a little refund this year and they will be receiving some money for us.

    I don’t know if they track it or not, but I always write a letter mentioning this blog and write “Blessed Little Blog” in the memo section. I want to believe that one or more of the kids who go this year will be “ours”.


  20. They generally send me a note telling me that a donation was made in the name of the blog. They do not tell me how much or who gave it.

    And yes, I think at least one kid this year will be “ours.”


  21. As it happens, I was just reading a bit more in Temple Grandin’s book about animal behavior and saw something that may help explain why dogs raised in isolation can be bitey. Puppies are little roughnecks when they first start playing, but as soon as the other puppy makes sounds that mean “ow,” the puppy doing the biting nearly always backs off–even if Mom doesn’t come over and make him back off. In other words, biting is instinctive, but no-bite appears to be an instinctive response to a stimulus provided by another puppy.

    Besides play-biting, this process may also explain why dogs that are in pain or upset may snap at their masters, or do a hold-with-teeth, but seldom actually bite.


  22. I keep thinking to myself:

    When is the horrible accident going to happen?

    Where a kid squashes himself with a tree, or falls and breaks a leg, or has a horrific accident with the horse, or a terrible head injury…or hell, brings home a case of whooping cough to shed full of babies…

    Or maybe it’ll be Joe and a case of undiagnosed diabetes causing him to black out driving a van full of kids, or Nicole’s bad mouth setting up an infection in her heart. Or a birth injury or accident with a worn out uterus or a medically fragile infant. Who knows what it will be?

    But it’s not a matter of if, anymore. It’s a matter of when. It’s one thing to fly by the seat of your pants and take reckless stupid chances when you’re in your 20’s, young and healthy…and have a handful of kids….the odds are on your side.

    Every added child means that much less attention and supervision for all the others. Every added child means fewer resources, more diapers, deeper poverty. Every child born to parents over 40 brings increasing risks. Every year spent in those conditions…brings more risk.

    And every year over 40 brings you closer to middle age health problems, aches and pains, gray hair and lost teeth. All that ambition to do everything yourself and live like pioneers…starts to settle into your bones, and you feel it when you have to haul the water in. And you get tired of sharing a shit bucket with a dozen other people in a close space. And the winter gets longer, and the kids get older and have opinions.

    Sometimes I get so frustrated, because there is no justice…the Naugler’s gross neglect goes unchecked, and their asshole antics get overlooked.

    it’s easy to get mad about it.

    But then I remember….

    Justice is coming. They will have consequences for their piss poor decisions. Potentially ugly ones.

    It probably won’t be handed down by a court or by strangers they’ve abused.

    It will arrive organically…a product of their own choices. Oh, they’ll try….but ultimately? They will have no one to blame but themselves as the long term consequence of their piss poor ideas plays out.

    It’s a matter of time. Ten years? Two years? Two months? Two weeks?

    Time will tell.


  23. How does one go around hating on the cops so bad as she does ? and the sad part , Her kids were (unschooled) to feel the same way


  24. Okay, this isn’t on this topic (which makes me too sad to think of a reply), but it is on the topic of LIVING WITHOUT RUNNING WATER SUCKS!!!!

    My neighborhood streets are all numbered with lots of terraces, lanes, roads, and courts along with streets and avenues. Lots of addresses are nearly identical. This usually just causes the occasional mis-delivered and maybe a wrong turn. Until today.

    Today, the water department was supposed to turn off the water to a house the next block over. They made a mistake and turned off my water. Worse, the county didn’t have a system in place to fix it immediately. It took over 12 hours of tons of phone calls to finally get my water back on. 10 hours after my neighbor paid their bill, too.

    The neighbors who were supposed to have their water shut off were awesome. They simply forgot their auto pay needed to be renewed. They let us bring some laundry to do at their house, fed us there, and even let all of us shower. Thankfully, the water was put back on about 20 minutes ago. The county worker brought us 5 giant chocolate bunnies as an apology.

    No running water sucks. Fortunately, we ended up making new friends and getting chocolate out of it.

    Also, the government conspired to deny me my coffee! They disagreed with my caffeine fueled life style!


  25. I will second the emotion that living without clean running water is lousy! For a number of year, I lived in a small privately owned housing development in my community. The city had grown up around this piece of property, and so the zoning was kind of funky. We were still considered as being in part of the county, rather than the city – so if we needed law enforcement, we called the Sheriff’s Dept., not the city police dept. The property was also on well water, and every once in a while, something would happen and suddenly – no water coming out of the taps. The owner/manager lived off site, so he’d have to be roused if this happened during the night or early morning hours, and then he’d come over to see if he could fix it, and if he couldn’t, finally he’d call in someone to service the well.

    Being without running water for even a few hours, when you are trying to get ready for work in the morning, or just want to rinse your hands because they are dirty, and having no running water – is absolutely not pleasant. I can’t imagine living that way permanently, which is what the Nauglers must do.


  26. Miss Dani- A day without coffee sounds AWFUL! We went almost a month without water when we bought our house a few years ago, we were waiting for the test results to come back. We could shower and potty though! We just couldn’t consume it, we wasted a ton of money on bottled water that month.
    Last summer our power got knocked out so many times. It’s not uncommon to be without power for a day when a storm hits. But one of those storms knocked out power for a whole week! No water, no functioning toilet, no showers for us. In the dead heat of summer. We did a lot of swimming. It wasn’t so bad at all. Except the coffee bit. BECAUSE not only was our power out but so were the 2 gas stations closest (8 miles), other than those 2 gas stations it’s a half hour to town. I told my husband years ago that I wanted one of those camp fire percolator things and I kept putting it off putting it off and just look where that got me! Coffee less for a whole week!
    We invested in a generator, still not camp fire percolator though.


  27. A couple years ago we lost power for about a week in the middle of December. We heat with wood and can use the surface to cook surface type stuff. For that matter we also have a wood cook stove that could do the job if we decided to bake a cake or pizza (we use that very rarely; usually when it has been well below zero for several days and are sick of frozen kitchen pipes). We have a hand pump on the well in case we lose power, although it has been broken for a couple years.

    Anyway, even though we have the ability to rough it for at least a week, the very very worst part of it is having little or no water. The dishes pile up, the body feels gross, and it just has an overall grimy/camping feel about it. I always rush to take a long shower whenever we go more than a couple days without power. That and flush all the toilets. We will get buckets of water to do the non electric flushing, but the bathrooms always end up smelling like pee. That is with just six humans, and spread over three toilets. We have lost power a couple times since following the Ns and every time, I think of them and how much harder life is without electricity. It is doable, but harder.

    On the original topic, I appreciated the story of Beau and your friend. Thank you for telling it and her for living it.


  28. Dear Nicole,
    Get your kids a mirror. A full length one is like 6 dollars at Walmart. Then they won’t have to make faces at the phone when you are trying to make a video. Most kids enjoy discovering their faces in a mirror at about age 1 to 3. It kind of seems like your kids haven’t had that childhood experience yet.


  29. When we go camping, we always pick a totally unimproved site. We save those flat-sided 64-ounce juice bottles, wash them well, fill them most of the way with tap water, and freeze them. We take pounds and pounds of ice with us, because we can have a good time while sleeping in our clothes, eating in a pavilion if the wind drops because of the flies, cooking over an open fire when the wind is apt to put the smoke into our eyes no matter which way we face, and having an outhouse made from a bucket inside a contraption of poles, tarps, and duct tape–but we cannot, absolutely can not, stand even a couple of days without plenty of clean water.

    Going without for years, because your dad feels like it’s easier to steal from the neighbors (when he can be bothered to put down his doobie) than it is to move some buckets from a junk pile to a spot a few yards away under the eaves of the thing he calls your house…


  30. I live in an area that commonly gets hit by hurricanes, so no power or drinkable water is no huge deal to me. No water at all? Nope, nope, nope. Thankfully the neighbors who were supposed to have their water shut off had all of us come over to their house to dirty their dishes and abuse their bathroom. LOL

    I made a huge mistake and drank a cup of coffee at 11 pm. Big mistake! The saddest sight was my cats meowing at the faucet. Poor babies had to drink out of a bowl like commoners!


  31. I used to work at a vet hospital, and sometimes this happened. Sometimes dogs are abused to the point that it’s simply too dangerous to allow them to be. Sadly, these dogs are suffering too much, traumatized too much, that letting them peacefully go can be far kinder than waiting until they’d killed someone, and then live confined to a cold, concrete cage until a decision is finally made by a judge.

    I really wish it was legal to beat the snot out of people who abuse animals and kids and other living beings.

    Jenny Islander, you’re right. This is why pups (and kittens) removed from their litters too early often have behavioral issues. There’s so much they learn from being with the litter and their moms. I’m sad that there are no states mandating they stay at least 12 weeks. In my state, I think the minimum is just six weeks old. Anyone taking an animal so young (and many idiots think the younger, the better, though those extra weeks will pass quickly anyway, so may as well leave the animal where it needs to be) needs to know how to replicate natural litter behavior. Due to an emergency, I got my oldest dog when she was barely a month old, and I sent the next two months treating her the way a mother and litter would, complete with ear pinches to replicate nips and small yelps if she gave puppy bites. I had a few people side-eye me, but this is how animals naturally learn, and humans trying to do it the way we think is “kind” can really fuck up baby animals for life. And then the animal is blamed. 🙁 My girl is one of the sweetest dogs you can imagine. She’s pretty old now, but I try not to think about that too much.


  32. I’ve had to do the same exact thing with a neglected dog I rescued. I tried like hell to help him. And then he was aggressive toward one of my grandchildren and I had to make the decision to have him put down. It broke my heart and still does to this day. The way some humans treat their “pets” is sickening.


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