The Adoption

Beau became a member of the family. He went to baseball and soccer games. He sat beside Troy during supper—and ate scraps. He slept in the kid’s bedroom. He played hard. He spent summers laying beneath an oak in the backyard.

There was a funeral in Troy Fitzpatrick’s backyard a few afternoons ago. It was under a live oak. It was a well-attended service. Troy’s kids, were there. His wife, one neighbor boy.

Troy said a few words. Something to the tune of: “Dear Lord, we ask you to welcome Beau into heaven with open arms.”

Beau. He was a good boy. A rescue dog.

Eight years ago, Troy had just lost his job as a salesman for a window company.

“I was a mess,” he said. “So depressed, you know, I’s thinking: ‘What the hell are we gonna do?’”

So the Fitzpatricks did what any normal family does during moments of heartache. They went to the animal shelter.

“Must’ve played with a hundred dogs,” said Troy. “Didn’t find just one, we found tons. And then we met Beau.”

The dog had already been named. It was the name that struck a chord with Troy. It was his late father’s name.

Beau was reddish with a gentle personality. He’d been born in the shelter, then adopted as a puppy.

Beau’s first owner left town and took Beau with him. A year after, the shelter got a call from Nashville, Tennessee.

Someone had found Beau in the woods without a collar. The microchip under his skin led to the shelter where Beau was born. The shelter called Beau’s owner.

The man admitted to leaving Beau on the side of a country road—for dead.

A shelter volunteer drove seven hours to get the dog. He stayed in the shelter for one year after that.

Until Troy’s family visited.

Beau became a member of the family. He went to baseball and soccer games. He sat beside Troy during supper—and ate scraps. He slept in the kid’s bedroom. He played hard. He spent summers laying beneath an oak in the backyard.

Beau loved apples, fish, and snotty Kleenexes. He hated smoke.

“Whenever my wife cooked,” said Troy. “And something made a little smoke, Beau would freak out. Learned to let him outside whenever we used the stove.”

One day, Beau wandered out of the yard and trotted along the highway.

Someone called Troy. They said they’d seen a stray on the interstate. A reddish dog.

Troy went to find the animal. Four hours later, he saw a carcass on the shoulder. It was stiff.

Troy admits he can’t talk about it without tears.

“He was my family,” he said. “As much as my kids or wife. Felt like someone stabbed me in the stomach.”

He brought the body home and wrapped it in a fitted bedsheet. He dug a hole in the same place where Beau parked himself on hot days.

They tossed a few toys into the grave. The kids painted a rock for a headstone.

“Woke up the other morning,” said Troy. “There wasn’t anybody at my bedside, needing to go outside and pee. Nobody prepares you for that.

“Hey, thanks for listening. Guess I just needed to tell somebody about Beau.”

My life is better because you did, Troy.

Rest easy, Beau.


  1. Lisa Egstad - June 12, 2017 12:51 pm

    Speaking of adoption, wondering if you and your wife had considered adopting a child. I can tell you would be a great Dad and you know first hand how difficult it is to grow up without one.

    • Sandi - June 12, 2017 2:48 pm

      I’ve wondered the same thing, Lisa. Hopefully Sean will respond to your inquiry.

      • Diane Rinaldi - February 3, 2018 3:57 pm

        We fostered in Florida and adopted 3 beautiful kids – my husband was 49 and I was 46 when the adoptions were finalized, and our children were 5 (twins) and 2. Some people thought we were nuts to get into the family game that late in life, haha! But we are SO GLAD we did. Kids n dogs are a great combination, Sean! ?

  2. Jill Shaver - June 12, 2017 1:15 pm

    Loved this sweet story. I lost my shepherd Daisy, in Feb. She was the sweetest dog, and always by my side. Once I stepped in a hole , in our yard and fell. Daisy rushed over to me, licking my face. I was fine, and knew she genuinely cared.
    I have forwarded your story to a friend who lost her little Pixie last year. Your stories touch our hearts. Jill

  3. Sharon - June 12, 2017 4:41 pm

    We live in the country, so, it is not unusual for a stray to turn up at our house. Over the last few years, we have had to say good bye to my 4 legged babies. I am very fortunate to be married to a man who feels the way I do about critters. Last year, I lost 2 of my babies within 6 months. They lived to be 15 years old. I have one baby left and I dread the day that she will not answer when I call. God bless all who take these babies in and give them a loving home.

  4. Janet Mary Lee - June 12, 2017 6:09 pm

    Thank you for the beautiful remembrance of Beau. I will be surprised if this story does not attract more comments than most. There is something about pets, something about animals, well, you know. I have one 19 year old border collie, and one 2 year old hound. My border collie is the last of a group of four rescues and unwanteds that were about the same age. Nothing prepares you for losing 3 almost at once, though they lived to be pretty darn old. I remember every dog I ever had, and all lived the good life, and every one was special. I dread losing my border collie, as it is coming, and I fear I may not be with my youngest as I age. They are all love and loyalty, honest and true. Bless Beau, and all our friends we love, especially our four leggeds.

    • Cyndia - August 4, 2017 4:05 pm

      Oh, that made me cry! I’ve had several rescues, and three of them have been border collies. I lost my last, most beloved one last summer. She was 14 and peppy as could be until her last week. I still miss her with an ache that I think will be with me forever. I couldn’t stand the silence, so a few weeks after she died I brought home a new pup. She is part border collie, I think, because her behavior reminds me so much of Bella’s that first couple of years. I know she will be a good dog one of these days. But she will never be my Bella.

  5. Jean O'Neal - June 12, 2017 6:48 pm

    Good story……I miss you, Bailey.

  6. Sandy - June 12, 2017 8:03 pm

    I still keep the rubbish bin in my room up on something from when Pepper used to eat snotty Kleenexes. Too afraid she would get a string in her neck from my sewing.
    Holly is my friend, but only when the men are gone to work. I still expect her to come running like Pepper to ‘kill’ the plastic milk jug I am rinsing out. But that’s not her foible.
    Sandy in the UK

  7. Jack Quanstrum - June 13, 2017 12:08 am

    What a wonderful story! Poor Beau, Poor Troy. My heart goes out to Troy. Loss is a difficult thing to deal with. What a special dog and special relationship. Thank you Sean for sharing his story with us. Peace be with Troy and his family. And blessings to you for writing it!

  8. Sam Hunneman - June 13, 2017 4:38 am

    Just so damn true. Every time.

  9. Dave Parre - June 15, 2017 4:18 am

    Dogs aren’t our whole lives. But they make our lives whole. RIP Beau.

  10. Deanna J - August 4, 2017 12:29 pm

    RIP sweet man, thank you for out for being a friend!

  11. Steve Winfield - August 4, 2017 1:31 pm

    I buried Jack about this time last year. 20 year old coon hound. Truth be known, probably the best friend I ever had. Made a real nice cross for his grave in the back yard. Part of me is in that hole with him.

  12. G.mitchell - August 4, 2017 4:34 pm

    Troy, so very sorry for your loss. We lost my Oliver Jan 31 of this year. He was almost 12 and raised along with my son. He was truly my 2nd son. Oliver was 110 pounds. My son called him his big brother, until he grew and outweighed him. At times he was my ‘favorite’ son. Never backtalked, argued, or left his clothes lying around:) Oliver was always ready for a hug or a snack. Never complained about anything I cooked for dinner and was always ready for a taste. He thought every doorbell ring was meant for him, never barked or jumped, always expected a scratch and a cookie esp from the UPS man. This boy traveled with us everywhere, Washington DC, SC beaches, Ohio and Minnesota to visit family, Pensacola, Williamsburg Virginia. I think his favorite was Atlanta. We went several Christmas ago and planned on staying at the Ritz in Buckhead. (Marriott points used or I’m too cheap to stay at such a fancy place). I saw online that this hotel was pet-friendly so I called to make sure. My human son was in the room when I made the call. The hotel staff said the weight limit for dogs was 35lbs. I told them that I didn’t want to lie but my Oliver was slightly over that limit. I said he was just over 50lbs. The human son rolled his eyes. The hotel said no problem. Figured I’d press my luck and asked if we could be on the club level ( think food and drink from 7am-10pm for free). Hotel said sure just no dogs in the club. No problem, he still enjoyed a little liver pate and goat cheese, on a lovely plate in our room. He was a joy and loved by all who met him and I miss him profoundly. Troy, I like to think that Oliver is in heaven chasing squirrels and eating all the cheese and broccoli his heart desires. He has no pain and can run all the heavens and never tire all the while making new friends. I hope he was there to meet Beau. Blessings. Thanks Sean

  13. Linda - August 5, 2017 12:18 am

    Well that sure put a lump in my throat. My beautiful Bo is a Great Pyranees. He’s the sweetest and most gentle baby on this Earth! We adopted him as a 6 wk old puppy in Mobile Alabama. We now live in Tennessee. Our Sweet Bo is 10 now and has developed bone cancer. Unlike most Pyranees in this area he’s never been a working dog. Most farmers here keep them in lots with goats to protect from coyotes and such. Not MY Bo, he’s always been a house baby. He goes out when he wants and lays under the shade tree to bark at ” Intruders ” . He never stays too long though. He loves his air conditioning! We adopted a tiny Maltese a few months back. He’s 5_8 yes they say. Bo sometimes tries to play with the little one and I see that spark of long ago in his eyes. He’s on pain meds that keep him comfortable for now. When the time comes He will tell me and I will respect his wish. Until then he’s my beautiful Gentle Giant with a heart as big as Texas.

  14. Annette - August 5, 2017 2:10 pm

    I had to say goodbye to my beloved Lab mix Maddox last December, on the 9 month anniversary of my mom’s funeral. He’d been my baby for 9.5 years and was 10.5 years old. It broke my heart. I feel Troy’s pain. Good dog, Beau. Rest well.

  15. Melissa Mikkelsen - February 3, 2018 8:58 am

    From my earliest memories I have always had dogs and cats and other assorted fur babies. I currently have three dogs and three cats. They keep the house full and my heart full. All are rescues and I am proud to share my life with them. Maybe Beau’s parents will share their life with a new rescue. Nothing like a dog to make a family.

  16. Kathy Grey - February 3, 2018 1:30 pm

    I’m sitting here with my dog Bear cuddled up next to me. He was a stray who showed up at my house almost 10 years ago. He was in bad shape, but now he’s spoiled rotten! I hate to think about him dying because it’s just the two of us, and he’s great company. He loves snotty kleenex, too. I don’t understand that! Our pets are family. Unconditional love.


Leave a Comment