Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Beagle Who Came to Christmas and Left in July...

I did not ask for a new Beagle. I didn't think I could handle a new dog w/ a new baby on the way and my Beagle that wasn't sure she liked children. However, Christmas day, late at night, I got a new Beagle.

My husband & I had just returned home from my parents' house (a mere 800 meters up into the woods). Andrew, my husband, heard scratching outside. My Beagle, Copper, was antsy and grumbling softly at the door. Andrew opened the door, turned on the porch light and saw what looked like a miniature Blue-Tick Hound. She was actually a Beagle and the sweetest, most lovable dog you could find. He brought her in the house, much to Copper's dismay.

She was thin and a little scraggly appearing. She wasn't even wearing a collar. Since Beagles are known roamers we were pretty sure she was just lost. However, that didn't stop us from bringing her in and giving her a bath and a bed for the night. My Andrew is a sucker for an adoring dog.

Andrew & I discussed what we were going to do with her. We decided we couldn't keep her since she wasn't Copper's favorite and we didn't need to headache of policing 2 dogs and a new baby (I was 7 months pregnant at the time). We also weren't sure if she'd get re-claimed by her original owners. We advertised in the Found section of the local paper. We had an idea... Andrew's dad. He's a bachelor who works 2nd shift and since he had taken a shine to Copper, we decided he was ripe for a dog!

He loved her! He lavished attention on her. He bought her her very own biscuits and gravy every morning for breakfast. She broke his heart when she wouldn't eat it! She preferred dog food. They developed a routine. He'd leave in the early afternoon while she stayed outside tied to a stake in his yard. Andrew would come by and check on her before he came home in the late afternoons. When Richard, Andrew's dad, would come home at 1030 pm, he'd go out, pet her, talk to her and bring her in the house with him. She'd run around his house, jump in his lap, and promptly start snoring. Sometimes she'd whine and run rabbits in her sleep. He'd gently wake her, and she'd look adoringly at him again. He taught her to play games with him.

He took wonderful care of her and tried to keep her safe. We all knew that if she got loose she was probably going to be in trouble since Beagles turn their ears and eyes off when their nose is on a trail. We were afraid she'd get run over. That's not what happened though.

Richard came home early this morning after working a double shift and getting geared up for another today. He found her wrapped up in her stake-out line. She had wound the line around the stake until she had no room left around her neck to breathe. The stake was supposed to be designed to avoid this very thing with its swivel. However, it had a big design flaw - the upper portion (shaped like a triangle) was open at the bottom. The opening was big enough to catch her cable. Once her cable was caught, nothing she did could get it undone. Its possible that during the thunderstorms we had last night she got frightened and ran in circles. We'll never know for sure.

We know now not to use that type of stake again (they make ones that don't have a triangle or anything to catch the cable at the top). It was a shame to have to tie her that way. I know many dog people frown upon tying dogs out. The theory is to have a fenced-in yard or no dog. However, that's not always possible or even feasible. In this instance, we know for a fact that she tested fences and usually found a way out. Richard was trying to protect her from herself, but she got herself anyway.

Janie now lays in rest with Rascal, Andrew's boyhood Lab.

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