Those of you who neither know me personally, or have kept up with us on social media, know that I've had a particularly headstrong and utterly delightful French Bulldog names Dude, CH. Jackpot! The Dude Abides of StandBayou for the last seven years or so. Dude led us to victory (2nd place is victory in our book) at the regional UPS challenge in 2017. He was a rock star at the competition and got more pictures taken than you could imagine.
Dude had his own mind and was frequently posted expressing his opinions. Dude had quirks and funny things he did that kept us laughing here at The Blissful Dog. Sadly, he was struck down by an unusual type of blood clot or thrombosis and passed away suddenly on the 5th of July.
We knew something was seriously wrong and were headed to a specialist in the Twin Cities, but he passed away before we were much more than an hour out. To say I was devastated would be a huge understatement. Dude was not only our mascot and my best friend, he had a BIG personality and was one of those dogs people were attracted to. Actually, my husband and I had a tiff one night when he heard me tell Dude he was my best friend and confidant. I think Steve was a wee bit jealous!
Here are a few of the funny things Dude did to keep us laughing and well, blissful, here at work.
When the pizza cooker went off he would bark and run to Ashley and Teri knowing he was getting pizza crust
When we would come into the office in the mornings he would bring a toy out and run around the office with it, in a crazy victory lap. Then he would take the toy to his personal space so the floofers couldn't get it. Dude would greet everyone who came into the office with the toy parade...our staff, delivery people, random people...all got a Dude-sized greeting! One day he grabbed one of those fleece blankets you see wrapped up in a cardboard sleeve (we use them for dog beds sometimes) and ran around with it. To him that as just another trophy toy.
Dude hated, loathed, despised and abhorred this old, blind German Shepherd cross who stumbled up to where we used to live four years ago. The Dude never forgot a small show of teeth Zeus displayed and his mission was to catch him off guard one day. Every chance he got Dude would let Zeus just how much he loathed him. So, we juggled schedules to accommodate Dude and made sure he never had to lay eyes upon his nemesis. The Dude didn't forget.
One of my favorite things Dude did was every single time any of us came into the office, after the initial toy parade, he would charge towards us, roll on his back and slide to the object of his attention on his back...demanding a belly rub. His feet would kick and he would grin from ear to ear and every molecule of his being was enjoying the moment. The moment he created and enjoyed fully. Normally stodgy visitors would break into a grin when Dude did his drop, roll, and let me now routine. I never got tired of this routine and looked forward to it every day.
For many years, since 1993, I have had French Bulldogs in my life. I have met so many wonderful, life-long friends via Frenchies. I have gone places and done things I would never have dreamed I would do...all because of my immersion in the world of French Bulldogs. A few years ago, I decided I could no longer breed Frenchies, due to a variety of factors. I wasn't expecting to have such a feeling of loss and emptiness. I reassured myself that I would always have friends in Frenchies and would always be able to find a Frenchie to adore.
One by one my last crew of Frenchies passed away, each leaving a hole unique to them. It felt like I was not only losing loved ones, but a bit of my identity also. Then a friend contacted me and offered me Dude. His pedigree included a few of my dogs who had been used at stud and I jumped on the opportunity. That was how Dude came to abide with me.
To get Dude from Kentucky to far northern Minnesota was kind of like an old fashioned escape route. A friend of a friend picked him up at a dog show and got him as far as Michigan (I can't remember the details). There Martha Dobbins and Shirley Knaack collected this rowdy puppy and got him onto the next leg of his trip. Kelly Achenbach may have been involved, if not Dude, she was in another of these adventures! I think Kelly I met Jim Luljak and Jim Brough him to their house in Milwaukee. I drove there from the big woods and we were united! The very first thing Dude did in their house was run straight to their bathroom and grab the toilet paper and run all over their house, trailing toilet paper as he ran. Ellen, Kathi and I were laughing so hard we couldn't stop him!.
Initially I was going to call him Zig and some other long dog show name. But when Dude and I walked into our house Steve said, "That's a Dude." And so it was. Ironically I had just watched The Big Lebowski for the bazillionth time and so it was to be.
I know Dude is keeping an eye on things from his post on the other side. I know there was a reason he left me so much sooner than I had imagined. Many times I commented on how he didn't have one grey hair, which is very uncommon for brindle Frenchies. When people met him they always assumed he was 3 or 4, he just had a young energy. I just wasn't remotely expecting to say goodbye so soon.
But things don't always go as we planned, do they?