(Shenandoah Moonbeam)

January 1991 ~May 2006

On May 9th 2006, in our loving arms and with the caring aid of our veterinarian, our little Beamer crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be with his brothers. Beamer's life is a triumph of matter the challenge Beamer kept fighting and found something to enjoy every day. In the end...he decided to lay his head down and rest. We lovingly assured him that after over 15 years of being our special "B-Man" he had earned it.

Over the last year or so Beamer began to face the challenge of several "senior" health issues. His vision was impaired due to dry eye syndrome...we treated it daily with cyclosporine drops and he adjusted to his reduced vision. Not trusting his vision to take him safely down the steps I began carrying him each trip...we called it the "Beamie-Express". When hypothyroidism set in, he began daily medication. An auto immune disease frequently erupted on his mouth and even his paw...we kept it clean and medicated and Beamer for the most part ignored it. His hearing would seem to come and go and arthritis made climbing the steps difficult. But despite all of this, he adapted and kept on going. Everyday Beamer found something to enjoy....rolling in the grass, begging for treats with his house-mates, or just curling up on Maureen's feet. He was alert and interested....especially when the smell of popcorn was in the air.

On Saturday May 6th.. after his usual morning routine of food, water, medication and a stroll around the backyard, Beamer became ill. As Saturday became Sunday we could see he was becoming dehydrated and there was evidence of a gastro infection...a type he had several times in his life. We made the trip to our vet where IV fluids and antibiotics were started. His blood work indicated that his kidney's were failing....everything seemed to be shutting down at once. After 48 hours of IV fluids and antibiotics it was clear his little body had endured enough. As Beamer lay in Maureen's arms he was motionless...he wouldn't even open his beautiful black eyes. As Maureen stroked him and kissed him his breathing became shallower and shallower, even stopping and restarting. With tears rolling from her cheeks Maureen asked our vet to please help Beamer "go home". It was the right choice. He was asleep and at peace after a life very well lived. While sad that he is no longer with us, we know how fortunate we were to have shared his life for over 15 years.  

Beamer resting before going to the vet...

    Beamer joined our family in March of 1991. He was our only non rescue canine companion, having been purchased from a pet store. It was a moment of weakness that would reward us many times over with a life of joy and playfulness. We just couldn't resist his personality and those beautiful "black" eyes. He had all the character inherent in a West Highland White Terrier...he was playful, loving, highly self confident, determined, independent ....and grumpy. He was the fourth member of our original "Pack"

Hector, Dickens, Beamer and Scout, April 1991

In his youth he was Dickens main playmate.

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As he reached adulthood he remained playful but preferred to play by himself or a human companion. His favorite toy was a small latex ball with a silly face manufactured by Hartz Mountain. At any one time there were 6 or 7 "B" balls as we called the house and yard. When his "brothers" were outside he would run to Maureen or I with one or more '"B" balls in his mouth wanting us to throw them. He would then chase them at high speed all over the house. He loved to sleep on the sofa next to Maureen. When we lived on Cherry Valley Rd he would wait in the evenings at the backyard gate for Maureen to arrive home from work. As soon as he saw her car he would run to find a "B" ball and of course she would throw it for him to chase. He was his Mommy's little boy.

Maureen & Beamer 1991

Beamer with his "B" Balls

Beamer joins the play...carrying a "B" ball.

Always....he was with Maureen

Through the 1990's Beamer along with Scout, Dickens, Hector and later T.J. were our little "pack".
....they were part of our everyday lives giving us laughter and loving companionship.

Any evening at our home in the 1990's...Beamer, T.J., Maureen, Dickens & Scout

One of Beamer's greatest traits was his supreme confidence...He never shied away from a challenge or new experience. Despite his small stature he was sure he could jump as high and run as fast as the other boys. Beamer loved to join Dickens on our bed to spend the night. He would stand on the floor at the foot of the bed and rock back and forth... from front legs to back legs...and then in one intense motion propel himself on to our bed. It was quite a feat for such a little guy! Another example of his confidence was his eagerness to ride in the car...especially with Maureen. He would press his nose against the window, ever alert to the cars and people around him. He also enjoyed "traveling" the neighborhood. Every once in long while someone would leave the gate to our fenced back yard open... and out would pour our pack. Always cautious Dickens was usually found first...only a few houses down the street with T.J. always close by. Scout was an adventurer and would travel further. Beamer...the smallest of the group, never worried about traffic, finding his way home or other minor details. He often would travel the the end of our street. After a while we learned there was another "Westie" living in the vicinity that Beamer always headed it made finding him a little easier;-) Fortunately the escapes were infrequent and never lasted longer than an hour or so. We look back now with humor, but it wasn't funny at the time. 

We often joked that Beamer seemed to think that as an A.K.C. registered "Westie" he was special. But he was never meant for show...he hated being groomed in any form. We could only find one groomer that had the patience and skill to groom him. And afterwards he would "grump" around the house and yard for days, growling at any of his housemates that dared sniff him. 

Through the years we would learn that as the product of a Missouri puppy mill he seemed the perfect example of why not to buy a dog from pet store. The fact that he is an A.K.C. registered West Highland White Terrier in no way insured a well bred, healthy dog.  To the contrary this poor little guy suffered illness, after illness and allergy after allergy most of his adult life. The experience taught us valuable lessons about the WHWT breed and how to care for some of Beamer's "breed specific" medical issues. But we wouldn't have traded a moment. Beamer was always a very special friend and a deep source of love and enjoyment.  

Beamer was the last of our original pack...the last of our original foursome...Hector, Scout, and Dickens having all crossed the "Rainbow Bridge". As our friends have crossed over we have always tried to open our home and hearts to new companions...a new opportunity to save a life. We will miss Beamer deeply....he was a very special friend....all those who truly share their lives with a companion animal understand that this "sharing" is spiritual...and so it was with our Beamer. We learned so much from sharing his life...

We know there will be new challenges and opportunities that...thanks to Beamer...we will be better prepared for. We thank God everyday for our boys... T.J., Lionel, Radley, Jake and Zack...they are a special group, all adopted from shelters and most saved from "death row".

Beamer now rests next to the playmate of his the Rolling Acres Pet Cemetery It is peaceful in the wooded glen where they lay, together... Maureen and I have learned so much from both of them....our lives so much richer for having shared so many years with them....we look forward to the day we will all be together again...Cayce, Hector, Scout, Dickens, Beamer and all our companions....across the
 Rainbow Bridge in paradise.   

While Beamer is no longer with us in the everyday, visible world, we believe he lives in us, around us and through us. Just as all our departed companions do. Their memories and lessons they taught us are gifts that charge us to care for the boys whose lives we share and to contribute in what ever way we can until there are no dogs, cats or any companion animal neglected, abused, or dying alone and unwanted.


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