The Big Boy

Sep 6, 2012 by

As I type this the tears are running down my face. I wanted to write a tribute to the Big Boy or Lestat, an English Bull Terrier who came to live here over 4 years ago. 

Lestat started out the early part of his life living in a house full of French bakers and pastry chefs, in a suburban housing estate with a small back garden. It was the staff house for the bakery and there was a big turnover of staff. As a result Lest was very well-socialised. 

When the bakery was going through financial difficulties, the decision was taken to do away with the staff house so Lestat was homeless. I was asked to take him in. He was brought here late one evening, and as I had chickens and ducks running loose and the large garden was not as secure as he was used to, the decision was taken to put him in the stable over night. Next morning the Frenchman went to give him his breakfast and let him out to get to know the garden and to socialise with all the other animals, but Lestat was gone.

He had disappeared without trace. We searched for days walking all the fields and roads around about.  We phoned the dog warden and the police with no luck. We asked all the neighbours to keep a look out for him, but no one was really familiar with the breed so it was difficult to describe him.

He was missing for 10 days. Then out of the blue, my daughter at home from school, sick and lying on the couch, saw something white flash by the window. It was Lestat. He was very thin and very happy to be home. To this day we have no idea where he was but suspect he was so shocked from living all his life in a garden, when he escaped from the stable, he panicked and hid out somewhere. He sadly developed pneumonia and had to be taken to the vet (the first of very many trips to come).

Lestat recovered and settled into life with the other animals. He had a couple of chicken dinners to start, but when it was drummed into him that this was not acceptable, he then allowed the chickens to eat his dinner.  He accepted kittens, puppies, chickens, ducks and children. He loved everyone and everything. Sadly other people did not love him.

When I walked him cars slowed down to stare; if people were on the same side of the road they crossed over away from him. On the beach mothers scooped up their children when they saw him coming. He on the other hand was oblivious and tried to make friends with animals and humans alike. After a good long time we realised we had never once heard him growl. We never did.

He was a good guard dog in that he barked when he heard anyone at the gate or in the yard. However if the intruder or visitor made an attempt to scratch his belly, he rolled over. He looked the part so he was a good deterrent.

He developed lots of health problems including skin complaints, eye infections, ulcers in between his toes, sore pads with subsequent difficulties walking on the gravel in the driveway. He then started having seizures. A lot of his health problems were improved by changing his diet and giving him steroids when his skin got bad. He got lots of fresh air, exercise and he had company all the time.

The seizures gradually got more severe and more frequent and finally, I found him floating face down in the river he loved to swim in, when we went to feed the pigs. He had run off in front of me so I was only seconds behind him. I panicked when I realised I couldn’t see him as the river was flowing very fast. I could see his tail from high up but not the rest of him. I had to climb down a steep bank to get to him. I hauled him out unconsious and he took ages to come to.

He didn’t recover as he normally did and then he started vomiting blood. I took him to the vet who said she suspected a tumour or something sinister in his brain causing the seizures. She thought the fact he was vomiting blood, it was likely that the possible tumour in his brain may have metastasized into his lungs and or stomach. However without in-depth investigation in a dedicated veterinary hospital this was only conjecture. 

With a very heavy heart the decision has been taken not to do further investigation but to put him to sleep, if necessary. I am sitting here on the floor in the kitchen beside him as he breaths heavily. The sun is shining in the window and Piaf, the small Jack Russell is lying beside him. He was very distressed last night and all morning, but now I am here beside him he is calmer. Ironically whenever I used to lie on a rug in the sun, he insisted on lying on top of me or at least a part of him in contact with a part of me.

The Big Boy as my son calls him (and it stuck), is a gentleman. He is a breed that is hugely mistrusted and misunderstood.  He has been called ugly, an abomination, vicious and aggressive by people who judged him by his appearance. In fact he is the polar opposite. Never judge a book by it’s cover absolutely applies to Lestat. And I hope he pulls through, because first and foremost he is a great and loyal friend.

Lestat born with a pedigree as long as the Queen on 25th December 2005. I hope he lives to see another Christmas but I’m realistic.

Lestat was put to sleep today 7th September  2012. Rest in Peace Big Boy.

Labels: English Bull Terrier, Lestat, Lethal Acrodermatitis

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  1. I think he did thank you!

  2. Sorry for your loss, it must have been hard for both of you. :/ They are so cute, so adorable, but most people judge'em by their looks.

    Greetings from Hungary!

  3. Julie, Australia

    RIP Lestat. Fly free from pain "Big Boy". Cherish the memories, he lives on in your heart.

  4. Anonymous

    What a sweetheart, he was loved by you and knew it.

  5. Thank you for your comment. I miss him so much. It's unbelievable how they become part of your life.

  6. Sorry for your loss, we had to put my special little silky terrier of 16 years down two weeks ago and still causes me to cry and miss him constantly. They are such special wonders in our worlds and such a heart break when we lose them.

  7. Sadly we had to make the hard decision to end it as he took a bad turn last night!

  8. Oh Lord, Maggie hope he pulls through!

  9. Lordy

    Come on Lestat , you can do it !

  10. It's only now I can read these comments and thsy still make me cry. I still miss him and wonder what he's doing. Probably knowing him very little. Miss you so much Big Boy xxx

  11. Anonymous

    your story reminded me of our bullie "Belki", we got him when he was seven, from a friend who could not keep him (he kept braking through fences. It was so funny to see me walking him I am about 4'10" and he was a hulk of a dog, but gentle, yes mothers have grabbed their children and crossed the street too, he especially like older woman some were pleased most were terrified. We were lucky to have him for another seven years, but the hardest thing my son, Mitch and I have every had to do was make the decision to have him put to sleep. My thoughts are with you.once you have loved a bullie, it's in the blood. Barb

  12. Nikki

    I'm so sorry that you now have to live life without him. I'm going through the same thing, I lost my beautiful misunderstood and most loyal bully Fred nearly 3 weeks ago. I miss him ridiculously, even though I have 4 other dogs. He left a hole that I actually never want filled. Only with the memories of a funny, beautiful, neurotic, weird, loyal little man. My baby. Fred Fleetwood Fry 🙁

  13. Lynne

    Run free lestat bullies will only be the breed I will ever have, I,m hooked totally, if it's not a bullie it's just a dog, how true, lost my first one at three years old……….. I now have three others

  14. Anonymous

    Loved the story of the "Big Boy" Bullies are made to love people. They make us so happy. My Mikki a black brindle was pts on Aug. 29.2012. The only cure for the sadness is a new Bull Terrier–Little white Barley.

  15. Elle

    There are so many bullys out there needing the love and devotion you could give to 1 maggie, it will be a tough decision!! I hope that 1 finds you vey soon, because they do pick us rather than us choosing them. Maddox definately. chose us!! 🙂 Wherever and whenever it finds you, it is going to be 1 very lucky bully 🙂 xxx

  16. Anonymous

    Your story of love for your Big Boy truly touched my heart, I recently lost one of my beloved dogs, it is so hard to loose that kind a love and friendship you share with a pet. Even though they are gone, there are times when you remember the little quirks and funny things they did, those memories bring a smile to your heart.

  17. I have been in tears again reading all those lovely comments. My son said to me people who have these dogs really "get them" and it's true. Thanks to everyone. I hope to get another soon preferably one no body wants.

  18. This story made me cry so much as we lost our 14 year old Bully just last month. Much of what you said here was so true for our dog.. he suffered with many health issues (skin complaints, foot problems and seizures as well as being 'allergic' to protein – making him practically a vegetarian) but he was so gentle and loving yet people would either cross the street to get out of his way.
    One time though I remember a big hulking tattooed man approaching me and my mum to chat about our dog and the next moment he was in tears on my mum's shoulder as he told us he'd just lost his own dog not long before… I understand now exactly how he felt.
    There is something very very special about these dogs that not many people want to appreciate. I hope Lestat is running around playing with our Geordie having the time of his life^
    lots of hugs xx

  19. Anonymous

    Im so sorry to hear how ill your lovely dog is, it reminded me why we love our girl Nancy so much. yes, we also have experienced people picking up their children and small dogs into the air when they see her coming, everyone who gets to know her loves her very much, I had never had one of this breed of dog before Nancy and I admit I was scared of what she would turn out like but I neednt have feared, bull terriers are not for the average household, they need experienced dog owners and lots of disipline and a team of therapists to keep their nails, skin, weight under control, by team i mean just me, she cant ever lick herself clean after the toilet so she stands in front of the older hound we have and she gets a clean off her for free, dogs are brilliant at looking after each other. would I have another bull terrier, yes I would. I hope your dogs suffering will soon end one way or the other and I can truly say I know how you are feeling

  20. Anonymous

    This is so sad, thinking of you and your family, I have 3 bullies, one is 11 now and she's slowing down, I worry every day and pray we have another year… like you they are part of my family, like my children, bless you big fella, run free Lestat, run free, all our bullies we've loved and lost will look after you at the rainbow bridge xx <3 ("")("") <3 xx

  21. Elle

    It takes alot to make me cry but i have to admit to shedding a few tears at this story, also chuckling as i can relate! Our family have our very own Lestat, named Maddox(madz or mad dog for short!). Your descriptions are of every english bull in no, they are a totally misunderstood breed! I wish people would not judge them, they are the most loyal friendly dog i no. I have a two yr old son, he and madz are inseperable!! Maddox was only just 1 when jay was born, he has always been brilliant from that day! Every1 who doubted me for keeping him now no why i did, hes so gentle yet playfull with him and they are best friends! He takes everything jay throws at him without any sign of aggresion,there is not a harmfull bone in their bodies and there playfull(yet sometimes boistrous) sides are usually misred! Im dreading the day i ever have to make the same heartbreaking decision, he is 1 of my babies 🙁 Im so sorry but thank you for sharing ur loving memories of your 'Big Boy'. RIP Lestat xxxxxx

  22. So so sorry for your loss. This really touched me and made me shed a tear or two. Take comfort from knowing that your big boy lived out his days in the most loving and caring home possible. My thoughts are with you in this difficult time. Big hugs x

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