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A Boy's Chow Dog

Milly cupped her hands around her coffee cup while she rested her elbows on the kitchen table. The children were about her playing in the cramped area that was little more than a runway off the small dining area.  She was trying to think about what she was now seeing. Her young son stood just a little inside the door. The winter winds had spread the dust of snow from the night before all over the ground in the back yard which caused him to have to wear a coat for warmth.

The boy unzipped his coat. Peeking out was the most beautiful  ball of red fur Milly had ever seen. When her son pulled the puppy from its hiding place, the mother could see the total size of the dog.  Already he was becoming a sizeable animal. It was looking all about the room in a way to make her believe he was studying the family as closely as they were watching them. He seemed like a little boy who was hitching up his pants while trying to make a decision for which way to run.  The dog didn't run though. Instead he stayed very close to her son.

“Is he a Chow?”  Milly asked her son.

“Oh yes!”  The young boy, of course, did not know about Chows but Milly, his mother, did.

“You haven't bought him have you?”

“Yep!  He's mine all right. I been savin' up for him.”

Milly didn't make any more comments. What can be said about the love a boy has for a dog, even a Chow dog. It was her less-favorite breed of dogs. There would certainly be a challenge ahead of them and she knew this. Little did she know how much of a challenge awaited them.

“What's his name?”

“They call him Bo Bo because of the clown's ruff around his neck.”

“Do you like that name?”   Milly asked the boy.

“No, I really don't.  I don't think he is anything like a clown. He sure doesn't act like one either. He seems so serious and thoughtful.”

Milly thought a moment and asked, “What about Beaujolais?  It is a red burgundy wine. It is a French word. I think it sounds classy just like his majesty of the Chow pedigree. You could still call him Beau.”

So from that day he was Beau, mind you, not Bo Bo the clown, but Beaujolais a sparkling red wine.

“Now children! I must warn you I will be telling you over and over to be very gentle with this little dog. There will be no rough housing, no pulling at him, or not even rough petting. Chow's are a very high strung animal and we must never forget this.”

For every moment of the dog's puppy days he was, indeed, treated like fine China. The children were not allowed to treat him in any other way. As a result he grew up to be a beautiful animal not only in looks but in personality. He was gentle to the maximum with the children. Never did he ever offer to snap at them or threaten in any way.

Only one time did Milly see what was probably meant when they said the animal would turn on its own master or mistress.  A meter reader came through the gate of their tall board fence. He, of course, didn't make any attempt to warn them. Beau was in instant at attack mode. He was all at once the snarling vicious dog Milly knew he could be. When she tried to calm him, he turned  and snarled at her.  She immediately backed away. If this was what she had been told here it was. It wasn't an attack on her, simply a warning to stay out of the way while he took care of business.

Milly looked at the meter reader and said, “Just back out the way you came in here. Once you are out, I can calm the dog.”

Sure enough, as soon as the man was out of their space, Beau was again the cuddly bear he always had been. By slowly working with him Milly led him into the house and pulled the drapes. She was then able to open the gate and let the meter reader into the yard. After that the man always called to her, “Read your meter, Mam?” This gave her time to bring Beau into the house where he or his family was not threatened by an intruder.

Beau lived to be seventeen years old and there were great moments all throughout his life. What had been a guarded decision for his acceptance became a great joy as well as an exciting challenge in dealing with the special breed known as a Chow.

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