From the beginning this was a scam. Looking back, we got scammed big time. Firstly, the shelter staff convinced me that I was just going to take this 4-week-old adorable puppy home for a night or two to “get him out of the shelter” because he was too young to survive. So, in 10 seconds flat, they gathered up everything I needed to care for a puppy. Keep in mind, I hadn’t had a dog in 30 years and we had two cats at home.
As I was driving home, nervous about what Lewis was going to do, the tiny mutt (Lewis nicknamed him Muttbrain) started crying in his carrier. That scam by Hero himself resulted in me putting him on my lap. And so it began. He was immediately quiet as a church mouse.
As I pulled into Grand Haven, I called Evelyn to say, “You’re not going to believe what I have on my lap. Meet me in the driveway and walk in with me while I show him to Lewis.” She said, “I’m not that good a friend.” So Hero and I entered together. Lewis was lying on the couch. I put Hero on his chest. Scam number three: I told Lewis we were just fostering him.
The rest is history. Hero was ours the minute I laid eyes on him and the same for Lewis. Hero knew he had a forever home.
We had no idea how to train a dog, but somehow, he learned how to walk on a leash, eat his food, play with toys, sit for treats. He was housetrained and such a good boy, but always had a mind of his own. However, he owned his territory, and STRUTTED when he walked.
Six months into his puppy year, Lewis got diagnosed with cancer and Hero wound up saving both of us. He gave us joy and something to think about other than what was happening in our world.
We thought we had the perfect dog until we went to the dog park. We then realized that he had this “streak” in him that any treats, any toys, belonged to him. He had a “resource protection issue” (look it up) as well as protective instinct for me. Our dog park days didn’t last. He had the heart of a German shepherd in an 18-pound body.
We took him everywhere, on a thousand trips. Long ones, short ones, to Connecticut, Maine, etc. … day trips, overnight trips. After our last road trip there came number 4 scam. Lewis had him certified as an emotional support therapy dog, so we could take him into stores and restaurants. He had a badge and papers. When he wore that badge, he acted the part.
He looked like a hoity toity dog, especially after grooming. People always stopped us to ask what kind of a dog is that? Dr. Tate ran a DNA test. It turned out he was 75% mini schnauzer, and the other 25% was a mixture of poodle, Chinese crested and terrier. ONE OF A KIND.
His devotion and love were unflinching. He was by Lewis’ side through years of health issues. During good periods, he was always happy to get in Lewis’ car and go for a ride. They were pals. Their Waterfront Park 4 pm loop was tradition. Hero sat in Lewis’ convertible like he was in a parade.
He slipped with me. God forbid Dooley, our cat, would try to invade his territory. I knew Hero wasn’t well this week when he let Dooley come near him.
They say that everyone who has a dog feels like their dog is the dog that matters most on the planet. So, maybe I’m not unique when I tell you that Hero singlehandedly saved me and gave me joy these past 11 years.
He completed our family. I am grateful beyond words to have held him, received puppy kisses, raised him, shared him with others. Lewis and I will never be the same.
At the end, his health issues were more than the doctors could “fix.”
RIP Hero Beilman.
Thank you for your service and unconditional love.