Tree blown over by strong wind kills beloved beagle in Fair Oaks

T.J. at the veterinarian’s office on Tuesday.
T.J. at the veterinarian’s office on Tuesday. Gustafson family

Wind whipping through the Sacramento area at up to 40 mph on Tuesday afternoon proved fatal for a beloved beagle in Fair Oaks, killed by a tree blown down by the strong gusts.

Described as an “old soul,” the 7-year-old male beagle named T.J. was in his enclosure with three female beagles at the Fair Oaks home of Kathy and Jeff Gustafson when wind felled the tree, which brought down utility wires and crushed the chain link dog pen and part of the igloo-style dog house.

A neighbor alerted Kathy, who is visiting family in Arizona, and Jeff, who was on the job in Elk Grove fixing forklifts, of the accident, which did not harm the three female dogs.

The neighbor comforted T.J., who was unable to rise, until Jeff rushed home. He checked T.J. for broken bones, but found nothing to indicate any fractures.

T.J. still would not stand, even when Jeff offered him a treat.

Jeff said that, after years of raising beagles, he knew that when when T.J. was not stirred by the treat something was seriously wrong.

He and his daughters took T.J. to a veterinarian’s office where tests revealed extensive internal bleeding. The decision was made to euthanize T.J.

“He was just a gentle old soul,” said Kathy Gustafson. “He loved to relax on the chair and lick my husband’s face.”

T.J., acquired when he was 6 months old from a family that longer could care for him, only barked when chasing squirrels in the back yard, Kathy said. Initially, the Gustafsons thought they would breed T.J. with the female beagle they already owned.

But T.J. “couldn’t get his act together, so we got him fixed,” Kathy said. “He tried, but he could never seal the deal.”

Jeff said he is relieved the three female dogs were spared but will miss T.J.

“He had a way about him,” he said. “Even back when he was 2 years old, he kind of acted like an old man. When I got home, the other dogs would be excited and freak out. But he would be calm and then come over and give me a soft kiss. He was a good boy.”

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

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