Best In Soul

Acquaintances gibe at me when I indulge in sentimental musings about my aging canine companions. It seems, or so they say, that my seasoned veterans develop halos with ever increasing speed in proportion to the graying of their lives. Perhaps this is so; but only because they have earned their heavenly crowns.

Brax is nearing his twelfth birthday, and without a doubt he has a glowing circle hanging askew over one ear and is showing signs of sprouting wing nubs. Brax was one of ten puppies in our first Bouvier litter, and perhaps I was overly concerned about his temperament, for as a wee puppy he resisted being restrained in a bear hug of affection and seemed leery of strange situations. 

So, of course, I kept him. Following a rocky start, Brax matured into a marvelous fellow of exceptional character. Titles are nice benchmarks, and he accomplished his championship and a CD. These certificates, however, do not represent the important landmarks of his spirit.

Great gentility showed through when, at age three and with no previous experience of youngsters, Brax was handed to a young child to exhibit in Junior Showmanship just moments before going into the ring at a match.

 

He performed to perfection and "handled" his child, who had no previous experience in the showring or in dog training, to Best Junior Handler. After awarding the ribbons, the judge went over to congratulate the child who was now, after a few minutes of acquaintance, Braxs' protege. Brax very quietly, but firmly, kept maneuvering himself to stand guard between his little girl and the unknown adult male. Six years later, at nine years of age, Brax again was pressed into service as a training tool for another child in conformation handling classes. He loved going, and once again adopted and helped train another budding handler.

Anytime I go for walks in the woods by myself, Brax is the dog that makes me feel confident and safe. When a stranger approaches, Brax knows telepathically whether I feel comfortable and he should act friendly or whether I am concerned and he should go into his guard dog routine, all teeth, growls, and lunging behavior. I dread the day when he won't be by my side to take care of me. It is these shining moments of true companion dog accomplishments and the quiet moments by my side as he exhibits these qualifications that make Brax top dog. It is in these memories that he will always dwell and never leave me. When his time is up and he makes the final adjustment of his halo and wings, may Brax rest in peace, my BIS, Best In Soul, the greatest dog of them all. 

By Ellen Raper
Published in the 1994 Bouvier des Flandres Annual published by Hoflin

 

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