Story by Megan Burnham

Me and my parents (Mark Burnham and Sandi Burnham have spent the last few days talking about our precious memories of Weston and how special he was. He was truly one of a kind.

We lost our first beagle, Buddy in August of 2015. My mom found TBR and two weeks later, we were on our way to Raleigh to go to our first adopt-a-thon where we adopted Willie. Willie had the worst separation anxiety any of us had ever dealt with. We tried everything, but nothing worked. That is, until we got Weston.

My dad was set on getting another beagle from TBR. We looked at the ‘Beagle of the Day’ posts every day. Me and my mom really wanted Mason (not sure what his name is now,) but my dad insisted on getting Weston and would not take no for an answer. We thought something must be wrong with him because he had been in the rescue for nine months. I think the only problem was that he was so precious, his foster did not want to give him up… LOL. Three weeks later, they drove to Raleigh to bring Weston home. He walked right in our front door and made himself at home, no adjustment period required. We had him for maybe a week and my parents had him and Willie out for a walk when Weston got off his harness all the way at the top of our street. My dad ran after him only to follow him right to our front door. Naturally, after my dad fought so hard to adopt him… who do you think he attached himself to right away? My MOM.

I think it is because she fed him a hamburger on their way home, but we cannot be sure. Up until his last day, he followed my mom everywhere. If she got up to leave the room, he got up to follow her. He even went to work with her nearly every day, but he was known to oversleep on occasion. As soon as we got Weston, Willie’s separation anxiety disappeared. Weston was everyone’s rock. We always called him “Mr. Chill.” For example, about a month ago we were driving to my grandparent’s house about two hours away from us. It was me, my mom, Weston, Walker, and Willie. They live in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina. When we pulled into the little town of Prosperity, I got a flat tire. We had to go to Wal-Mart to get new tires put on, so there we are… sitting in the Wal Mart parking lot with three beagles. Weston just sat right by our side the whole time and he just had the look on his face like he was saying “no worries, fam. It’ll be alright.” I have so many stories I could tell like that one. He had the gift of being calm in crisis.

Weston loved the beach, food, belly scratches, his family, and more food. We got to take him on three beach vacations after his lymphoma diagnosis, and we will be forever grateful for that. Just two weeks ago, he was having the time of his life in Florida. He always went crazy whenever my dad fired up the grill for burgers or steaks. He would follow my dad from the kitchen to the back door, then he would run to the kitchen when my dad came inside. And he would have a huge smile on his face the entire time. Before my dad could even put the plate of steaks or burgers on the table, Weston was already howling at us. It will take some time for us to adjust to quiet dinners. He also had no problem telling me if I was not doing a good enough job scratching his belly. He required undivided attention and both hands. Anything less and he would let you know he was not satisfied. Even though my mom was his clear favorite, he loved all of us and we each shared our own precious bond with him. He was smart as a whip and did not get nearly enough credit for how genius he really was. He was very food motivated so if we wanted him to do anything, it required a treat of some kind. He used this to his advantage a few too many times.

Although we only had him for five years, those are five years that we will cherish forever. It felt like we knew him forever, and forever would not have been long enough with that sweet boy. He lived life to the fullest and he was an inspiration to everyone he met. We thought we would never be able to love another dog as much as we loved Buddy, but Weston, Willie, Walker, and Ham have proved to us that is just not true.

“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love and loyalty. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog: it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.”

One thing that brings me comfort is that Weston knew he was so loved, and I know he loved us back. I have no doubts about that.

Weston, we love you so much and will miss you until we meet again.

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