FROM JOHN SULLIVAN OF BOSTON
BOUVIERS, BURTON'S BREEDER:
I want to know if he maintained his
socialization as he grew out of puppyhood.
I want your opinion of him as a Bouv, and your opinion as to how he
measured up against other Bouvs. I want to be sure he maintained
I want to know if you were happy with him and if he was a happy dog. How
old was he when he passed away, and from what. What maladies did he have
as a dog.
everything. I want to know how he turned out, his personality, his size,
his head, his brains, his body, his color (I knew what he was as a pup).
TO JOHN SULLIVAN'S QUESTIONS:
Let's see... everything.
Well Burton was a character all unto himself. He grew tall, probably
over 27" & weighed 110 lbs. @ maturity. His coloring was grey
brindle. You may remember that I got him to be a companion for my older
Bouv who was 10 & slowing down. Burton, much to my delight, kept Bogart
going for another 2 yrs & Bogart taught him many things.
They used to go off for walks together daily and strange as it sounds,
in 8 of the 9 yrs that Burton was with us, I never ever saw him go
to the bathroom on our property. Go figure.
He had a delightfully clever personality which always surprised us.
The doors to our home have "L" shaped door handles -- rather
than round ones. To open the door, one pushed down on the handle &
pulled the door open. Our home is alarmed & a couple of times we
were called by the alarm service to say that the police had responded to
the alarm going off.
When we'd rush home we'd find that all was well except the back door was
not totally closed. Since we live in a very safe community, we thought
we had been careless & nothing more. Then one day I was reading in
the kitchen & Burton walked past me to the door, jumped up, pushed
down on the handle, pulled the door open & went out. He returned
5-10 minutes later. So much for our alarm system.
He loved to play ball and when friends were visiting he would entice
them to play. He wouldn't take "no" for an answer &
developed very clever routines to get the game going. First he'd drop
the ball at someone's feet. If they didn't respond, he went on to the
next person. If that didn't work, he would drop it in their laps, again
first one & then the next & so on. This behavior escalated until
one day, sitting by the pool, I watched as he went to the side of the
pool & tossed the dirty, yucky, ball into the pool.
Forgetting who we were dealing with, one of my friends got up for the
net to fish the ball out of the water and so Burton had figured out how
to get the game going. It was his first "stupid human trick"
& we all had a good laugh.
He was all kinds of fun to have around.
Burton loved to ride in the car & he was very athletic (never fat)
& agile. At times, particularly on the weekends, my wife would go to
her car to do errands only to discover that Burton was in the back seat
waiting for her. He had gotten in by jumping straight up
& through the open window without putting a single scratch on the
side of the car. If he determined that the ride was too short for him,
he stayed in the car. We left the door open for him, not wanting to
encourage a window exit from the car.
Sooner or later he would join us when he had had enough.
Burton had friends; all kinds, shapes,
colors, denominations. He had no prejudice. Frequently the
group would stop by to pick him up for a short walk on the wild side.
I don't know where they went or what they talked about as the toured the
neighborhood but within a half hour, Burton was always back.
There were two friends who stood out amongst the many -- Patti
& Tony's Cagney
& Lacy, a couple of white, West Highland Terriers. Burton
was fully grown when he met them as pups. For the
introduction, they were put in their carrying case & placed on the
grass. Burton strolled over, looked in the case, smelled it for a
second or two & lifted his leg. So much for social graces, but
they became the best of friends.
Burton never let Cagney & Lacy off the property, always herding them
back to the front lawns when they strayed too far. He took them
down to the stream & pond to show them how to have fun in the water
& mud. They played together, ate together & rested
together. Before subsequent trips, when Cagney & Lacy
were asked if they wanted to see "cousin Burt", they would
jump around wildly & bark knowing exactly where they were going.
It was a funny sight to see.
Never once did Burton raise his voice to Cagney & Lacy nor hurt them
in any way. He was their jolly gray giant.
There are many other stories like this
but suffice it to say, these few illustrate his intelligent, clever,
distinctive, gentle & charming personality.
Conformation wise I would say Burton probably would have done pretty
well except, perhaps for his height. His head was well proportioned to
his massive chest and athletic build. His bite was fine. I never showed
him, John, not for any particular reason, just lack of time. But
whenever we ran across another Bouv he stacked up well against them.
Burton was a love & we loved having him. When he died we were
heartbroken so much so that we couldn't deal with having another dog for
a couple of years. I had been raised with dogs all my life & I, too,
couldn't get over him enough to get another dog. We still have his ashes
& before we move from our home, we will scatter them in the stream
that he loved to play in most days. For the moment, he sits in a
marble vase in our bedroom.
During his lifetime, Burton was as healthy as a horse. He had a slight
prostate problem early on & we had him neutered to avoid further
problems in that area. But in his 9th year, Burton wasn't feeling well
& it was determined by x-ray that he had a large internal infectious
cyst. We tried all kinds of antibiotic therapies to no avail. Weeks went
by. While Burton remained at the hospital we visited him every day
& I even tried to bring him home to see if that would make him feel
Towards the end it was determined that the cyst had to be removed
surgically. It was in a difficult position right under his spinal cord.
The surgeon operated and, although it has never been confirmed by the
vet, I think tje surgeon nicked the cyst & some of the infectious
matter leaked into Burton's system. We spent months trying to fight that
systemic infection to no avail as Burton got weaker and weaker.
Finally unable to stand, I gave Burton a hug goodbye and asked that he
be put to sleep. I didn't ask for an autopsy but during surgery it was
determined that Burton was a hermaphrodite, that is, he had the internal
organs of both a male & a female. This is the first time that I've
related this story and I'm crying as I write it.
You want to know if we were happy with him? I don't think I have to
answer that question. Was he happy with us? I hope so because we loved
him dearly and he seemed to feel that way about us. We cried when he
died and all our friends who knew him, cried too. He was a wonderful
fellow, John and you should be proud of his breeding.