“Quiet!”, “That’s Enough!”, “Shut up!” Words often heard coming out of the mouth of an owner of a barky dog. I’ve uttered them myself, usually in exasperation, hundreds of times over the last 8 years. I haven’t said them once in the last two weeks.
Life with a Pyrenees is inevitable punctuated by barking. Barking at the door, at cars, squirrels, birds, people walking by, sounds in the woods, the perception of a possible threat and barking just for the joy of barking. It becomes a defining element in your life. The other elements of life with a Pyr are less annoying (at least for me), the copious amounts of hair, drool and spacial impediments in all doorways. And still other elements of Pyr companionship fill your soul. These are the things that make everything else insignificant. The eyes that speak right to your soul; telling you they know you and love you anyway, the paw that gently reminds you to not stop petting them, the mane of fur that smells like dirt and grass and dog and feels like home, the feeling of safety and courage you have just being near them, the quiet presence that fills your home yet is never intrusive. To me, Beanie was all of these things and more. He was my muse, my willing and trusting partner, my beacon of joy and my teacher. He was, is, my heart.
Beanie was the easiest puppy ever. I mean that in very literal terms. He never chewed on inappropriate things (he wasn’t a big chewer of anything really), we was never hyper (or never for more than a few minutes anyway), he respected my cats, was calm and gentle with my children, slept a lot, excelled in puppy class, and basically spoiled me rotten. He was ready for an adventure or just a long nap at home. He was always happy to indulge my snuggles and never stopped thinking he was a lap dog. Even the Pyrenees hallmark habit of digging was more comical than troublesome. One of my favorite memories is him joyously tearing around the backyard in a rainstorm digging a huge hole that then filled with muddy water and continuing to dig and shove his head into it. He was a filthy mess but he was beyond happy, all I could do was laugh.
As he aged he became more Pyr like; calm, reserved and selective of who he approved of while he was on leash. He helped me raise numerous puppies, accepted, and loved, many foster pets both canine and feline. As life often does, it got busy, and his away from home excursions became less frequent. His life became playdates with friends at home and barking at the goings on in the neighborhood. Often I would go outside to shush him only to find him lying in a shaded dirt hole just randomly barking to see what might respond.
They say cancer is the silent killer, and for Beanie it was, but for me it was also the harbinger of silence. We always said that his only questionable quality was the barking; now, weeks after losing Beanie, the void of silence is what crushes me the most. My day is no longer filled with his predictable tirades. It’s no longer filled with the undeniable fact of his presence. I feel lost and unmoored like I’m missing or forgetting something.
I am a lover of peace and quiet, but this is a peace and quiet forced on me, one I did not seek out or ever want. This peace and quiet is not welcome. Figuring out how to move on in this new, more silent world is unsettling and heartbreaking, because losing him not only ripped my heart out it, it also tore away the soundtrack of my world and I would give anything to have that soundtrack back, on repeat, forever.