The Beau Diddley Diaries

Did somebody say TREAT?!

Celebrating Beau Diddley van Wyk
21 February 2000 - 18 March 2009


After Beau’s passing, I asked people who knew him to send me some words to celebrate his life. I asked them to describe to me something that made Beau special to each of them. What made them smile, I asked.

It’s been a few months since I made that request. Every time I picked up my editor to start writing this page, I just couldn’t... But some 4 1/2 months later, I’ve summoned the courage to collect these loving words here.

Now, those who knew Beau know he was special beyond words--an amazing dog in every possible way. So I hope these words help bring a smile to all who read them. After all, it’s the memories that count, not the words.

To all who participated here, thank you ever so much.

So, in no particular order (except my own), here’s what Beau’s friends had to say about Beau:

“Beau was truly a remarkable friend to me. He could make me smile with nothing more than a glance. I’d have to say, though, that the one thing that most made me smile was his enthusiasm. He had a zest for life that was awe inspiring. The intensity he’d show at the mere prospect of a tee-are-ee-ay-tee was palpable. His “HELLL YESSSSS!” bark and wag were unmistakable. Heaven forbid anyone--or any THING--got in his way when he was offered a treat. I’d invariably tell him to ‘climb in bed’ to receive his treat, and he’d bowl over anything in his path. The sheer enthusiasm was unbridled and glorious to behold. It would brighten up any day, no matter what. I’ll miss you forever, Mister Beau Beau.”
-- Ken van Wyk, 2 August 2009

“My special memory of Beau will always be the way he waited at the table for his Ouma pancakes.  And like I said earlier, he always spent extra time in the backyard erasing Yorkie smells!
He truly was the first big dog I fell in love with ( I will always like small doggies best).  And most of all, the way that he really adored you!  Anybody who could love my son like Beau did will always be special to me!
We will never forget this special Basset Hound!”
-- Jo Van Wyk, 18 March 2009

“We had been whelping puppies for several hours and thought *maybe* Rosie had delivered all of the puppies.  We were sitting on the couch at 2:00 AM eating cold spaghetti (of all things), listening to our favorite whelping music – country music’s Vince Gill.  I looked over and was admiring the puppies all snuggled up to their sleeping Momma.  I commented on what a great job Rosie had done when all of a sudden there was this beautiful red and white boy – just sliding out of Rosie.  That was Beau – such a sweet and laid-back puppy that he never even woke up his Momma when he was born.”
-- Pat “Granny Pat” Alton, 18 March 2009

“It was late July 2000.  Beau was 5 months old and was making his debut in a Puppy Match in Canfield Ohio.  Ken took Beau into the ring; I took Hoagie, Beau’s brother.  Hoagie had some prior experience playing the dog show game, so he went first.  We thought that Beau would be more likely to follow Hoagie around the ring.  Well, Beau had other ideas.  Beau jumped!  He twirled!  He tried to grad Hoagie’s tail!  Then he did what bassets do best – he went *flat basset*.  No amount of coaxing, pleading, encouraging or even liver treats was going to make Beau move.  He had decided that he was done with this game.  Ken did the only thing a well trained basset slave could do; he picked Beau up and carried him around the ring, following along behind Hoagie. “
--Sandi Wittenberg, 18 March 2009

“From the first time I looked into Beau's eyes, I saw a being that exuded nothing but good.  He showed compassion, love, kindness, friendship, and clearly would not hurt a fly.  In the doggy world, he was a real saint, a tribute to all that is good.  In the silent bonds of really true friendship, he was my pal, and I shall never forget him.  He will be sadly missed...”
-- Peter Van Wyk, 19 March 2009

“I remember when I first met Beau just a few months after he was born (during one of his many adventures to Columbus).  I recall thinking to myself, "Sure, he's cute now, but once he gets bigger and slobberier Ken's gonna have a fun time pinning me to the ground and letting him goober all over my face."  (Elvis and Ken were fond of teaming up and subjecting me to Basset goober torture.)  In the end, Beau only got me once, and it was self-inflicted.  I thank him for exercising incredible restraint in the many times that we shared the floor together after eating and drinking to excess (me, not Beau) on countless Friday nights.
People who know me know that I'm not a dog person.  I'm sure that at some level, Beau knew this too.  He respectfully resisted the constant pressure from others to "give Sean a kiss!" and "go shake next to Sean!".  Still, every time I came through the door he would run over greet me with a wagging tail.  Even a cat person can appreciate that!
Of all the dogs that I have ever known, Beau was far and away my favorite.  I'm gonna miss him.”
-- Sean Eidemiller, 19 March 2009

“Beau was a wonderful little creature.  We all loved him so much.  One of my favorite memories of him is the one from the Outer Banks.  Normally, he was pretty laid back, but this day, we all went down to the beach, and Beau ran and ran.  He was so happy, running with his boy and Maggie along the surf.  I will always remember the laughing expression on his kind little face.  I hope he has a beach to run on.”
-- Ingrid Van Wyk, 19 March 2009

“Just wanted to add my notes about Beau. He was such a lovely and fun puppy to be with and I will really miss him. I have to share the story of when I was staying at your house and watching Beau and Maggie. I was on the couch and apparently in his spot. So he was barking at me for a while and I just ignored him. Then he went over to the door and rang the bell to go out. So I felt so bad because I thought he was barking at me get off of his spot on the couch, but he wanted to go out. So, I get up and open the door for him to go out and he jumps up on my spot on the couch. He was a pretty smart dog.”
-- Patricia Zechman, 25 March 2009

Over the past few days I have struggled with putting words together to convey what Beau has meant to me, and to describe those “things he did” that made me happy. Part of the struggle is the fear I won’t capture them all and describe them well enough. The other struggle is dealing with the pain his loss has brought, and triggering yet again, the tears that so quickly appear. While tears are associated with sadness, (and there will always be sadness over the loss of Beau), they also indicate how much something or someone has touched our lives. I knew that when he’d leave us all I would be heartbroken, but was totally unprepared for the reality of what that meant. Beau didn’t just touch my life; he was part of my life.
As I wipe my tears away, the following is my attempt to put into words as best I can, memories that I never want to forget, and for me, characteristics that made Beau…….. Beau!
Since meeting Beau for the first time as a puppy, he charmed me with those warm eyes and soft fur and quickly found his way into my heart. As he grew, his warm personality emerged, and his drool knew no boundaries! We all had fun teasing Sean about the drooling – even gifting him with his very own jar of “Beau Goobers.”
The last few years of memories are especially strong and endearing. I suspect partly due to his illness, but mostly because of the years together and experiences shared that made our relationship a bonding and trusting one.
The memories are many, but here are my favorites:

  • Beau’s Ears – They were “Spots of Softness” I enjoyed petting. In later years he loved when I would rub his ears, turning his head into my hand requesting more whenever I’d stop.
  • The singing – The deep baritone of the voice, and how his mouth would wrinkle up while singing.
  • Beau’s chin on my knee just after eating dinner, breathing warm air on you in quiet anticipation of any leftovers.
  • The enjoyment of sharing a cup of tea with him, literally.
  • Beau draping himself over my feet while I was sitting in a chair in the living room, or at the dinner table.
  • His welcoming bark, and how he promptly rolled onto his back exposing his belly for a belly rub.
  • The “thump, thump, thump” sound of his tail against the floor as he wagged it in greeting when I walked into a room.
  • Watching him leave after an evening in my home with his “bling on” flashing for all to see.
  • The morning last April when he’d been ill, I awoke and he stood up on the bed. Instead of wanting to go out back, he walked closer to me, laid back down, resting his head on my arm. It was a moment where I was convinced there was no human or hound more relaxed than the two of us.
These are all precious memories, but his eyes probably top the list. I could look into them and get lost. He had the warmest, and most expressive eyes, and used them to talk to me – especially last April when he gave me a look that I know in my heart meant “thank you for taking care of me.”
I found great comfort in going through photos I have captured of Beau over the last few years. I realized that these captured many experiences and moments of happiness he brought to those around him, and that many of them might better explain what these inadequate words are trying to convey. While I could fill a book with these pictures, I am enclosing only one here. One that clearly stood out as it shows those beautiful warm eyes of his. Eyes that I will miss getting lost in…..”
Lisa Blanchard, 21 March 2009