Our basset hound Beauregard passed away on January 2nd, 2020. He was a full-blooded basset that my wife and I got from a local rescue back in July, 2010, way before we ever thought having a child would even be a possibility, much less a reality. When we got him, he weighed around 30 pounds, and was so emaciated that you could clearly see his rib cage; apparently, the rescue group had found him in that state, wandering around the city with no sign of an owner.
We never found out the true backstory as to his origins, but our theory was always that he was bred to be a hound dog, and was then let go by his owners for being “defective”…a theory we surmised because he was seriously an incredibly dumb dog. The breed in general is known for being stubborn, and I don’t think “intelligence” is an expected trait in any of them, but one area you can usually rely on a basset to come through is in their senses: they have an extraordinary sense of smell. As hounds, they are excellent hunters, and can track almost anything down using only their nose.
It didn’t take long for us to discover that poor Beau couldn’t even track down half the treats we threw his way, either wandering around aimlessly until we pointed them out, or continuing to stare at us, thinking we hadn’t thrown it yet, even when they were clearly out in the open. He also couldn’t keep up with other dogs, thanks to his stubby little legs, leading to some rather humorous visits to dog parks where he would just run around and bark at all the other dogs that were moving too fast for him to keep up with, before eventually just plopping down directly in the middle of their running path so they would have to go around him.
Then our son came along. We weren’t sure how he would take being #2 in the family, but it didn’t take long for them to forge an adorable little bond. In fact, at the time of his passing, our son had just recently started demanding mama to make him his own little doggie bed next to Beau’s so he could relax and lay down with him. If Beau was jealous about no longer being mama’s #1 son – and after holding that role for 7 years, it would be virtually impossible for him not to be – he never showed it; he was a gentle soul through and through, and the best big brother role model we could have ever asked for.
No matter what life threw his way – the surgery for ingesting something he shouldn’t have after getting into the trash, or the cancerous lump that lead to most of his tail being removed, leaving only a wagging little nub – he was always as upbeat and as happy as can be. It was as if he knew he had found his forever home from day one; the place he was meant to spend the rest of his life, and nothing was going to get in the way of him enjoying every minute of it.
And now, just like that, he is gone, existing only in the everyday sounds we still swear belong to him: the pitter-patter of his paws on our floor; the high-pitched bird-whines that he would emit when excited; the sounds of him moving around and getting comfortable in his bed. He was such a big part of our lives that it’s impossible to remember a time when he wasn’t there, comforting my wife whenever she needed it, and prancing around with palpable excitement at the smallest of things. Even when he wasn’t directly a part of our daily routine, such as the long stretches when he was off sleeping somewhere (a favorite hobby of his, and most bassets), it was always comforting to feel his presence; just to know he was there.
And even though we will never feel his physical presence again, we will carry him with us wherever we go; he will always be a part of our family, running as slowly through our hearts and minds as he did when he was here. I hope that wherever he is, he’s been given the things he was stripped of during his time on Earth: a working nose to track down scents, and faster legs to keep up with the other dogs. I hope he’s telling them stories about how much fun he had while he was here, and that he knows just how deeply he will be missed, and what a void he has left behind.
RIP Beauregard Centi. This place is certainly a lot quieter without you here.