It all began when I was trolling the Oregon Humane Society website looking for an older, more mature dog to tempt Darr with. I'd been wanting a dog and needed a suitable offering to convince Darr it was a good idea. I found two that day, a German Shepherd Dog named Beauty, who was (the vets estimated) between six and eight years old, and a golden lab named Honey, age nine.
I shared the two potential dogs with Darr and later that night we drove to the Columbia shelter to check them out. Enter Beauty…
Beauty was reserved. Calm. Disinterested, really. At one point she sat with her back to us, not expecting much. Darr loved her immediately. I was less enthused.
Then came Honey. The kind of exuberant dog you love to see but don't necessarily want to live with, at least not Darren.
We chose Beauty. But it was too late to adopt her that night so we placed a hold on her and went back after work the next day to pick her up. Beauty had two other holds placed on her in the event we didn't show, but we got her. How lucky we are.
I can't say the drive home was fantastic because, well, it wasn't. Shelter dogs aren't known for their good smells and Beauty was no exception. An anxious dog not familiar with how to comfortably sit in the back of a Mini Cooper breathing and smelling right next to our noses… And then getting lost on the way back to the highway, dear lord. It is sort of a wonder that we didn't immediately turn around and say, "Um, no. Having a dog is apparently not for us."
We eventually did figure out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go - Wiggles and Wags. Immediately. To give this dog a much-needed bath.
Once home, our first concern was that Beauty would eat our cats. We needn't have worried. Beauty was as disinterested in them as she was her new humans. She quickly adapted to our way of condo living. With twice-daily trips to the park and ball play and a crate that came and went rather quickly since she didn't want to use it or need one, she earned the title Beauty the Wonder Dog.
She was our protector and companion and we became members of her pack. It wasn't easy for her to witness part of the pack leaving to go another direction, she was always most comfortable when we were together.
About a month after she came home with us, I took her for an early-morning walk. A man, who may or may not have been homeless but was definitely disheveled, stepped into the path in front of us. I'm not immediately worried in these types of situations but it did freak me out a bit when he mentioned he'd been watching us for a week as he stepped closer. Beauty immediately placed herself between me and the man. He took a step closer and she growled. He advanced again. She barked, the serious kind of dog bark, the one that says, "I mean it. Back off." I don't know if that man had any real desire to do any harm. But it was clear through her actions he'd have to go through her to get to me.
There are lots of Beauty the Wonder Dog stories I could share. She was playful. She was gracious, often sacrificing her own comfort to accommodate the cats and humans in her life. She loved chasing squirrels - and Darr even saw her catch one once. This must have taken her by surprise as she seemed confused about what to do once she had it in her jaws. [It ran away unscathed. -Darr] She couldn't drop the ball on command to save her life. She received many compliments - in the early, middle, and late years of her life. She was the most gentle receiver of treats I've ever seen. She liked to eat bees. (Yeah, bees.) She didn't protest when we put her in costumes or when the kid climbed on her. She helped the dog trainer train us to be good dog parents. She landed a starring role in Hen's Ninjago movie. She had two consistently utilized nicknames - Beautimous Jones and Beauts.
She was just a really great dog. And we miss her a lot.