Monday, December 1, 2008

Missing Beanie

In June 2003 my husband and I happened upon a family giving away kittens in a Wal-Mart parking lot. For free!

We're suckers for animals and for good deals, so you can guess what happened next.

My husband had always wanted a gray kitty, and before our eyes was a beautiful one. It didn't take too much discussion.

We took Joey home to meet his new housemates: Mimi, our grumpy old cat who wanted nothing to do with him, and Ruby and Beanie, our two big, rambunctious boxers.

Joey was a perfect fit and loved playing with the dogs, even when they got rough.

Joey and Beanie had a very special connection. She treated him like he was her puppy, and he treated her like his mama. She would bathe him and even let him try to nurse. They really loved each other.

For three years Joey and Beanie were two peas in a pod. I'd never seen a dog and cat who loved each other so much.

But there was a little problem. Beanie had a scary aggressive tendency. She gave no warning, and when she would attack, it was awful. I don't want to get into all the sad details here, but when I was pregnant we decided we couldn't keep her anymore after a particularly scary episode.

We talked to two vets about her behavior and they both told us she had probably inherited this characteristic and that it wasn't something that could be trained out of her. And even if we did our best with training, we could never be sure she wouldn't act on that instinct.

It was one of the hardest, saddest decisions we ever made. It's 2 1/2 years later and it still makes me weep to think about her. Looking for pictures today makes me miss her so much. She was an incredibly sweet and gentle dog 99% of the time. She was so affectionate, loyal, obedient... a perfect dog in almost every way. But it was that scary 1% of the time that we could not ignore and we had to make a very hard decision for the welfare of our child.

We cried for days, wondering if we had really made the right decision, knowing we couldn't change it. We missed her so much and wondered how long the sadness would last. We couldn't even talk about her. We put her collar high on a shelf in the garage. We wanted to save it, but couldn't bear to see it.

Ruby wondered where her pal had gone. She spent days at the bottom of the stairs waiting for Beanie to tromp down them and wrestle with her. I can only imagine how lonely Joey felt without his Beanie.

That was in 2006. It's almost 2009 and we have been considering getting another dog. Our son loves animals and Ruby doesn't like to play with him, so we wanted to find a dog that would be good buddies with our son and with Ruby.

We found Tyson, a boxer, through an online classified ad. He was 3 years old and needed a new home. We decided to take him in.

Imagine Joey's surprise. In walked a reverse brindle boxer who looked remarkably like Beanie. Joey was cautious, but not afraid. He inched closer and closer until he was rubbing faces with Tyson, within a minute of Tyson's first step into our home. We think Joey must have thought Tyson WAS Beanie.

Unfortunately, Tyson had not grown up with cats. His only exposure to cats turned out badly, as the cats fought with him and scratched him up.

Tyson wanted to kill Joey.

So Tyson went back to his old family, and Joey has to be the most confused cat in the world right now.

It's been a long time since I have written anything about Beanie. It's still hard-- heartbreaking-- to think about her. She was one of the family and she's gone. We hope we see her in Heaven someday and that she will understand our decision and love us again.


Kristina P. said...

Oh, Emily! That is so sad!

Dick and Jacque said...

It was so sad. She could be so sweet, but you don't need to worry about your decision being right. You really didn't have a choice. You couldn't have ever been able to relax and trust her with Charlie. You and Dave were very good to Beanie.

**nicke said...

oh, em. i am so so so sorry! i just cried and cried. we went through a similar situation. we had a male german shepard puppy, hugo. he had a severe food aggression. he was almost 6 months old before it got out of control. we also had to make that decision. i am so so sorry but i am so glad you got panda! i love him already!

artsy ann said...

I remember this and I remember how sad I felt too. Beanie was a nice dog, but I understand your decision completely!
Joey is such a cool cat by the way and Mimi was so funny when she'd sit on you with her very cute fat body!