The Beginning of a Wonderful Friendship
by Serena Beeton***
I had been wanting a dog since I could remember. The day we decided to finally get a dog was thought carefully when I became 11 years old and no longer wanted a baby-sitter for the hour and a half I would have to be alone after school. I remember like it was yesterday when I brought my beloved friend home. We found a breeder who said she had some pups for us to look at. We originally went to buy a Yorkshire Terrier. But when we got there he was oversized and cocked his leg on everything in site. The woman could tell I was not very impressed so she brought out a Chihuahua. I loved that little dog. He was so tiny and gorgeous. He shook all over. But still I had not chosen.
Finally, the woman said she had a male Pekinese down stairs she would bring up. She was gone a few minutes and in her arms when she returned was a small flat faced dog. He had red hair with a little bit of black mixed in. When she sat him down he ran around in circles and jumped in my arms. He stared at my face and would not budge for nothing. I had never seen a flat faced dog before and it kind of frightened me. Something told me it would be fun having a “dustmop” run around and play with me. So we paid 500$ for him and started on our way home. In the car he stared me down. I had no carrier so he sat on my lap all the way. I remember saying “Mom is he going to bite me?” Now that I look back on it I think he was starring into my face to remember every bit of it. It was as if he knew he was mine from the beginning.
When we got home I took him straight down stairs in the den and sat him in a small box. I went into the kitchen to get him some water. I had only been gone a few seconds and he started whining. My dad talked to him to calm him down but he ignored him and only wanted me. I had heard of a Pekinese being attached to one person but I didn’t think it would happen so quick.
It took less than a day to think of a name. My mom wanted the name Mctavish because he had red hair and looked Irish. I said we could call him Mickey for short. And so in a matter of a few hours and 500 dollars I had acquired a large responsibility I never had before.
At the time we had a yellow cat named Whiskers.
For years I tried to get Whiskers to sleep in a wicker bed I had bought
him but he refused. Mickey saw it and he immediately jumped in it. For
the first time Whiskers wanted that bed. It was the beginning of a battle
between the two. Whiskers bit Mickey in the nose quite a few times but
he fought back and won the bed.
Well during these first couple of years I learned through trial and error on how to take care of my bestfriend. We grew very close. He began sleeping in my water bed and at night I would pet him until he went to sleep. I remember laying on the floor with him, and watching T.V. He would want to play so he would bite me very tenderly. I can always tell he is trying to be gentle because his jaw quivers when he bites. He plays so gentle like he knows he could hurt me.
But during these years things were not so perfect. We had a frightening time in our life when Mickey began to take seizures. First they were minor and then they got worst. He crawled up on me one morning very early. He whined until I woke up. As soon as my eyes opened he fell off of me and shook violently.. His eyes rolled back in his head and made me think I would lose him. I was alone that day and terrified. Mickey finally gained consciousness and sat up. He didn’t move from that spot for about thirty minutes. We took him to the doctor a few days later. They told me they could not put him on medication until I wrote down every time he had a seizure. That summer he had countless attacks and then suddenly….they quit. To this day I have no explanation for why he had them so young in his life and then they just stopped occurring. But still I am very happy they quit before something terrible happened.
Not only did I have to learn how to react in certain situations but I also had to learn the basics of being a pet owner. This would include grooming. This is not a difficult task because Mickey had thin hair. I brushed it everyday(the breeder told me to). This brushed out his undercoat and baby fuzz and he had lost all the black in his hair. Not one shred of it was black. Mickey had the most beautiful bright orange-red and cream hair I had ever seen. It shined like gold in the sun. He was incredible. When I bathe him he picks up his legs so I can soap them up. He is terrific to groom.
He also started to show some personality. He pranced around the yard like he was so stuck up and when he gets happy he shows his bottom teeth and you would swear he is smiling at you. He even seems to listen to what you’re saying and understand every word of it. I would say “go put the dirty clothes in the closet.” He would pick them up and drag them in the closet. Of course I would reward him with a treat. And believe me it is no bone. The treats he gets are animal crackers.
When Mickey was two I received a call one morning from the breeder. She told me I could have a female if I promised to breed her and split the profits from two litters. So my mom and I rode down there to pick up this peke. She was very ugly and had a complete black face. She also snorted like a pot belly pig. We were a little wary about bringing her home. We didn’t want them to fight. The breeder told us to put a baby gate between the two and they would get used to each other after a while. So we tried this little act and believe me it did not work. All Mickey did was bark at her constantly. At our wits end we decided to let them outside together. We walked them outside and expected a fight. But instead Mickey sniffed her and ran away. Finally a peace treaty.
This new little lady that we called Wickett because she looked like an ewok was a bit of a handful at first. I could tell she had never been outside because when she walked in the grass she acted like she was terrified. She had no idea what grass was. I knew she had probably been caged the entire year she had been alive. Which definitely meant she was not house trained. Mickey took to her quite well. I think he was lonely during the day when we were gone and his new friend filled his emptiness.
The longer we had Wickett the more beautiful she became. Some people say the longer you know a pet the prettier you think they are. But I don’t agree with this statement. I think the more attention you give a pet the more of a personality and beautiful pet they become. She sure did blossom during a short period of time. She finally got the attention she had been craving.
Wickett had to be taught all of the basics. As I said she had to get used to going outside and having freedom. trust me it did not take long. She enjoyed life outside of a cage and she loved attention. Mickey has always been an easy dog to train. He did everything I asked but when I tried to train Wickett I realized what all the books meant when they said pekingese were stubborn dogs. She absolutely refused to walk on a leash. I tried all the little “tricks” the books say and she would not budge. Even Mickey tried to give a helping paw when he took the leash in his mouth and tried to walk her around the yard. She would not move. To this day she still will not walk on a leash.
Not only was I thrilled to have a new little
friend but I credit Wickett with saving Mickey. Mickey never barked
once but Wickett was a definite barker. If anyone came near the house
all she did was bark. One night close to Halloween we let the dogs out.
Wickett had been barking for a few minutes. Mom looked outside and there
was a man leaning over the fence trying to steal Mickey. She ran out
there with a broom and beat him until he dropped my dog. He got in a
car and took off. It didn’t hit me at first but later it settled in
that I could have lost Mickey for good. The things that go through my
head that could have happened have kept me up at night, I have seen
many broadcasts where animals have been stolen to sell to labs. To sacrafice
or even to tie up to train their dogs how to fight. It disgusts me to
think there are humans in this world that take life so lightly they
could do something like that.
Well I have skipped ahead several years but I will fill in the rest later. I’m so scared I will forget everything I am trying to put in this little journal. Well not too long after Mickey turned 10 year old he started acting different. He started to attack the other dogs for no reason and one day he bit my arm and left a nasty mark. I took him to the vet and Dr. McCorkindale said he might have a disorder like alzheimers. He put him on Anipryl and sent us on our way. I knew for the past several months Mickey had been going through a change but I passed it off because I was scared it was something more serious. He started to not want any attention and after ten years he couldn’t sleep on my bed anymore because he attacked my legs at night if I moved. I felt like I was losing my friend but I was in complete denial and passed it for jealousy.
Mickey was on the Anipryl for several days and I noticed a huge change. He was like his old self. It was a miracle!!! He didn’t act drugged or completely different but normal. He was a perfect dog which is what I did not want. I wanted my old Mickey back.
He was on the medication for several months and everything went fine until one morning in June of 1999. I let the dogs out as usual and saw these beautiful Blue Jays in my tree. My first thought was to go get my camera until I saw what was happening. The birds in my yard, and I mean every bird from Blue Jays to Robins, were swarming at Mickeys head and making loud screetching sounds. I ran over to him and Mickey had found a baby Blue Jay in my yard. He wasn’t hurting it but was just curious but the other birds made him a nervous wreck. I yanked him up and the little birds ran in another yard. I think it was o.k. I sure hope it lived. Anyway not long after that incident Mickey acted different. He refused to go outside and when I forced him he just sat there at the side of the house. I could not believe this was the same dog that I had to chase after with in the snow while wearing my bedroom slippers. It made my heart break to see that Mickey wasn’t doing what he used to love which he knew drove me crazy.
After a couple of weeks I got scared and took him to the vet. The Dr. said he couldn’t find anything wrong with him except he may have a hurt back. He prescribed a muscle relaxer and told me to call if conditions worsten. After 2 days Mickey was a little better. He went outside and even raised his leg some. My concern was that he didn’t do it all the time.
In my heart I want it to be something minor with my sweetheart but I am not so sure that is the case. I can see the changes in him and it makes me sad. I have never had to deal with death of a pet and It seems that when I lose McTavish it will break my heart. He is my pal and I depend on him as much as he depends on me. A few nights ago I stayed awake all night thinking of the past. Most of it was good thoughts like when Mickey was a puppy and he yanked on my hair when I layed on the floor. But some of the memories I had was times I corrected him when maybe he didn’t need it. I just hope he forgives me and knows I love him and will miss him dearly.
Well after 3 months Mickey was still behaving
odd. He seemed paranoid and the slightest sound made him jump. He was
scared of crickets, buzzing noises, soft noises, you name it he was
frightened. The vet was stumped. He told me that Mickey was old and
some dogs behave differently as they age. When I was just about to give
up I noticed Mickey doing something outside. He was eating huge mushrooms
from my back yard. They werent just big white ones some were flourescent
orange. After knocking down the mushrooms so Mickey couldn’t eat them
he started to act as close to normal as he had been in a long time.
I think he was getting high on mushrooms!
Even though Mickey’s paranoia was gone he was still acting like an old dog. He layed around and didn’t want anyone to touch him let alone play with him. He was turning into a grumpy old dog who just wanted to be left alone, and then a miracle happened. I took Mickey and Wickett to get groomed. I told them to shave wickett as I had always done in the past, and to dematt Mickey. Well when I arrived to pick up my dogs they took me to the back and pointed to a cage and said “there they are.” I almost said those are not my dogs!!!! They had shaved wickett like I asked and left her tail long and beautiful. But Mickey, Mickey was a different story. He was completely bald. No hair on his ears, face or tail. He looked like a pug. I almost cried. It broke my heart to see him like that. The only thing I kept thinking was it took ten years for that hair to grow, and I just hope Mickey has enough time for it to grow back before he dies. I was truly upset until I got mickey home and realized that he loved his new hair cut. He started acting frisky again and jumped for joy in my yard. My neighbor said he thought it was just another one of my dogs shaved but when he saw it jumping in the yard he thought there was no way it was an old dog acting so hyper. Mickey sure did change. He was a joy to be around. He wanted to lay in my lap for the first time in his whole life. My pekingese was actually turning into a lap dog.
*** This story was written by Serena Beeton prior to her death on April 6, 2003 at age 25. Date of story was not available when the story was submitted.
© 2004 - May not be reproduced without permission from the author's parents Dennis & Brenda Beeton
Our Other Memorial Pages For Serena & Eric:
Christmas Tribute to Serena and Eric - Page 4
From the Heart: Joann's Poems to Eric and Serena (poetry by Eric's mother) - Page 6
Remembering Serena and Eric - Page 8
Links to Other Memorial Sites for Serena:
Serena's favorite rescue:
Special thank you
to Dennis & Brenda Beeton for sharing Serena's special story.
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