He was born on August 29, 1995. He died on Thursday July 17, 2008 not many days
shy of his thirteen birthday. He was the perfect dog. He had the papers and breeding
of an Elkhound, in later years the physic of a sumo wrestler, and always the soul
of a saint. He came into our lives at about the time we played host to a contingent
of French visitors from a sister city in Roanoke and was named Beaucoup, thereafter
ever to be know at just Bo or Bo Bo. He was everybody’s dog. His arrival coincided
with the start-up of the winery and there are very few if any guests he did not consider
his duty to meet and greet. His last days of greeting consisted of lying in front
of the handicapped accessible sign which he thought had been put up for him and thereby
blocking the entrance for anyone.
Bo was always a bit weight challenged and in his younger days his response to being
put on a diet was to go get a tender young groundhog or lie under a fruit tree and
eat to his heart’s content. Figs were his favorite but he never tired of apples
or cider. He was never sick or injured, quite a record for a farm dog, and was smart
enough to obey all his commands in English or Spanish.
As we recognized age and its toll were inevitable, we wanted to breed him so that
we could have some part of him continue with us. He had no problem “falling in love”
but the act of consummation was by artificial insemination. Of the offspring, we
kept the puppy that had the difficult start to life and were rewarded with what could
be the closest clone to Bo ever. We named him Howard Beau Johnson and call him Ho-Jo.
Bo was formerly my companion in riding my horses but to the very end he would go
to the tack room while I prepared to ride and patiently wait until my return to make
sure that all was right and well and a safe return was assured. Bo attended the
festival here on July 12 to hang with my sister at the guest house. We worried how
he would get back home but before we had a plan he was back at the house. She always
brought him Little Caesars porterhouse and he seemed to know when I told him she
was coming. He tolerated well all other dogs but had two special friends Molly,
and Sparky who would visit on occasion and would remind him of his younger and stronger
Death can be good and he deserved and died the good one. He was fine that morning
and early afternoon. Danny spoke to me and Shannon later and said, “I think Bo is
dying”. We sat with him for a couple of hours, told him it was Ok to leave and kept
hands on. Shannon came by to say a last good-bye. Bo lifted his head, looked at
him, and stopped breathing.
Pierre has passed. He was a miniature poodle, very black until his muzzle turned
gray, some years ago but had the statue and mentality of a rockweiler crossed with
a grizzly. He has taken many a fierce wild beast away from his domain which was his
He went to work at the packing house whenever Vicki showed up and stayed until she
closed before coming home. He preened and enjoyed the affection of adults but little
people made him uncomfortable and he woud avoid them at all costs and try to hide
from them in his little bed in the office He had been run over at least four times
in his life but survived them all, credit for that goes to “Auntie Nell” the best
friend and vet any one could have. About a year ago he had an occasional “spell”
but would recover nicely.
He really was never our dog. He belonged to the grandchildren, most especially,
Joshua. When they moved away from the farm, he was not happy and expressed his displeasure
by trashing their apartments, running away, and ending in the dog pound more than
Upon return to his paradise he lived a grand and glorious life. He was my constant
companion thru the debilitating stages of cancer and chemo. He lay at my feet in
the only chair in which I could be comfortable and he would sleep only with one eye
closed so that he could walk me to the restroom or refrigerator which were pretty
much my range of motion for months. He wasn’t an assist dog in the true since of
the word but a psychological and spiritual guide for the healing of things broken.
Danny would fix him a special breakfast each morning and at night he would share
my plate. At the last I had to place bits of food on the white tiles because his
cataracts were so bad. Her hearing wasn’t all that good but he listened when he
Pierre will go down in infamy as “Pee-Air”for his trick of standing on his front
two legs to urinate. Many guests from Elmo’s have spent much time photographing
such an event.
He stayed in the house a lot but never slept with any one but “Aunt Cindy”. They
had a thing about sleepovers and Little Caesars filet mignons. He could run like
the wind until the great god of dogs took down the sails for the last time.
July 14,2005-July 14, 2011
He was as irascible as he was adorable. He was as unique as his name was ordinary.
He did have a black spot on his side and the wiriest hair imaginable even for the
rough coat Jack Russell that he was. He came to live on the farm as a puppy and became
Shannon’s most beloved animal of his life. The love and loyalty between the two
was palpable . Spot may have been Shannon’s dog, however Shannon was Spot’s person,
Spot was loved by very few, respected by more, and feared by some. He was never
easy and has been known to bite indiscriminately and on at least one occasion decided
to rip a gentleman’s Bermuda shorts into shreds. The gentleman was wearing them
at the time. He was threatened at gun point for protecting Shannon’s space. The
farm family loved him because they love Shannon and took the responsibility of keeping
the public safe from his unpredictable behavior. He showed his affection by licking
faces although the warning was always issued that “he is just cleaning you up before
One never had to look for Shannon or wonder where he might be if you could see Spot.
He would be within feet if not inches. Lately he had begun spending much more time
at home with Donna, finding the air-conditioning and her companionship less stressful
than the traffic around the packing house. When Shannon went home, he lost interest
in everything but his “Daddy”.
He loved to ride on the four-wheeler with me, sit in my lap, give me dog kisses,
but this had to occur when Shannon was on vacation. Regardless of the number of
nights of vacation, Spot would go back and check his house to make sure his real
family had not returned.
Yesterday Spot and Pepper, the smooth coat Jack Russell companion, were running and
playing in the driveway and a farm truck hit and killed Spot. He was rushed to our
friend in the neighborhood who is a vet but he died within five minutes of being
hit. A lung was ruptured. Shannon treasured he had the last five minutes with him
to talk with him about getting his ball, his baby, going fishing and Daddy loved
His favorite toy was a stuffed dog that was his baby given to him by his Granddaddy.
He would spend hours nitting and cleaning his “baby”. He also loved to fish. Spot
would spend hours watching the gold fish and diving underwater with eyes open and
chomping at the gold fish. Occasionally he would catch his snack.
Although his Dad offered, Shannon insisted that he dig the grave. So he did partly
with the tractor and painstaking deep with a shovel. His son Joshua worked alongside
with him to bury him deeply in the farm soil where many pets have gone to their final
resting place as well. I held him, he looked just asleep, Shannon wrapped him in
a favored t-shirt, placed his favorite toy and ball in his bed with him. The funeral
cortege sang “happy birthday” to Spot and the Bedford County soil removed his physical
presence from our lives but he will always remain in our hearts.
She came to me as a wriggling, swiggly, puppy. She was brought to me by a friend
and neighbor who had learned of the death of my loved dog, Missy. She was the result
of a night of coon-hunting with a red bone hound and a blue-ticked hound who apparently
were not as much into coons as a night of romance. She looked like a black and tan
with lovely coloration around her muzzle and paws.
I named her, Sally Mae, after a hard-drinking, hard cussing, hard smoking great
aunt in my past childhood. What was I thinking? She felt obliged to live up to
her name sake and thus earned the nick-name Snake. As you might discern, it was
because she was a mean as a snake. Although though to my knowledge, she never actually
connected with man or beast, the threat was always imminent. One day in the barn,
I tried to remove a can that had contained cat food to avoid the sharp edges hurting
her mouth. She came up my foot like a revved-up chainsaw and only heavy work boots
prevented a permanent limp for me. When she would become aggressive, usually over
food, my husband he would grab her by the ears. By measurement, she probably had
the longest ears of a coon-hound and would qualify for the Guinness World Record
She had the instinct and desire for hunting but never left the farm acreage. She
ran night lines and hunted ground hogs, squirrels, and anything that had a scent.
Although I hunt with a pack of hounds and have for many years with the Bedford County
Hunt, the best hunts ever have been with Snake while riding my horses. She never
lost that desire and continued it for 12 years, 9 months, and 26 days. On Thanksgiving
day, day number 27, she came into the house, laid on her blanket, and never got up
She is now at rest on the farm along with so many beloved pets during the last 50
plus years. I will always miss her distinctive howl as it echoed thru the hollows
and sometimes under my window if she was late coming in for the evening.