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Are Beagles For Everyone?

by Teresa Bridgman

Let's hear it, all you Beagle Lovers out there: "No!" "Heck, no!" "No way!" "Not!" I sit sometimes looking at my "boys", and wonder how anyone in this world lives without a Beagle. When they're curled up at my feet, sleeping peacefully, like a pack of tri-colored angels, I really do ask myself that question. Then they wake up.

As I write this, I'm trying to remember the last peaceful day in my house. I believe it was the morning before I picked up my new Beagle puppy. It's been three years now, but if I remember correctly, I actually drank my coffee that morning before it got cold. There was no one demanding to be taken for a walk RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Nobody was whining for breakfast. Not a critter was counter-surfing to see if the cream I just removed from the refrigerator was something good to eat. I did not have to watch carefully lest a nose be caught in the refrigerator or cabinet door. Ahhh, yes… I do recall a coffee cup, steam still rising, wafting up into the cool morning air - and I got to enjoy it!

I was able to sit on my own couch anywhere I wanted; I was not vying for a spot. There I sat, mistress of my domain: I saw clean, still-beige carpeting on my living room floor (now somewhere between "Dirt Brown" and "Smog Gray"); the shining white vinyl of my entry, sparkling in the sunlight that shone through my clean, non-"snot" covered windows - I remember it well. I did not know what Fabreeze was. I knew nothing of "…destroys pet urine odors". I did not need to be a stockholder in Bounty ("super strong and absorbent") or the Iam's dog food company (although now I wish I was). I did not plan my monthly budget around vet visits or canine pharmacology. Nor did I wonder if 40 pounds of dog food would last for a whole month.

If you've hung in there with me so far, let me continue reminiscing about the "good ol' days"… I could run my vacuum cleaner without fear of it being attacked. I could Windex my glass coffee table without finding white hairs settling on it before I stood up. For that matter, I could actually eat dinner at the coffee table while watching TV if I wanted to. I closed doors when I went to the bathroom. I managed to walk up a flight of stairs without having anything rushing through my feet trying to beat me to the second floor. I got to keep my trash cans anywhere I wanted. I certainly didn't keep them in the bathtub so no one would eat the contents.

Tennis balls were something associated with André Aggasi and not spread across my floors like a Marine obstacle course. I was able to type entire paragraphs without being interrupted for belly rubs; now I'm thankful to write one sentence. Throw rugs remained in their designated place instead of being balled up across the room simply because a Beagle had nothing better to do. I did not have to stand in an aisle of the pet supply store wondering if this toy or that toy would survive one day, or if rawhide bones had fewer calories per ounce than pigs' ears. Who knew I'd even know what a pig's ear looked like?

And the bed! I got the "best" spot. Hell, I got whatever spot I chose. I did not have to change the sheets every other day, much less wash them. If I wanted two pillows, I didn't have to fight for them. If I had to get up in the middle of the night, I could remain half-asleep; I didn't have to be awake and alert in case there was a Beagle or a Beagle toy in my path on the way to the bathroom. I did not have to maneuver back into my bed the same way I got out - carefully, so as not to disturb sleeping dogs (isn't there a proverb about that?).

I had a nice yard - forget the nice yard - I had green, not yellow, grass. I believe my garden was one of the nicest in the neighborhood. Today, you'd drive by my house and wonder if there ever was a garden. I was not referred to as the "crazy lady with the dogs" by Neighborhood Watch. My next door neighbor did not walk by my house (on a public sidewalk) and turn their head away, hoping beyond hope their passing did not start an ARROOoooing chorus that would reverberate throughout the subdivision. I thought plastic sandwich bags were invented only for sandwiches, and not to pick up "stuff" out of someone else's front yard. I went for nice, relaxing walks instead of hunting expeditions.

So, if you are the sort of person that wants their carpets to remain clean; if you like your spot on the sofa or your favorite chair or the bed; if you enjoy your bathroom privacy; if you want to remain friendly with your neighbors; if you're determined to drink hot coffee, do not become the proud owner of a Beagle.

However, if you want to spend the next 10 to15 years receiving unconditional love, continuing and constant faithfulness, companionship beyond your wildest dreams; if you never want to be judged for what you do or say; if you want to be forgiven for minor (and major) oversights; if you just want something to have and to hold, something that will give you memories enough for a lifetime: run - do not walk - and find yourself a Beagle. I am very thankful, each and every day, that I was lucky enough to find my Beagles and that they found me.

RESCUE STORY: Vernon is an 8 - 9 year old Beagle/JRT mix. He was in a shelter crammed in with a bunch of other dogs. I didn't go to the shelter that day. I simply saw a picture of him sent to me by a volunteer. She had two beagles that she was hoping could be placed with our rescue, and the volunteer mentioned his story while telling me about the beagles. Vernon was brought in to the shelter with his buddy, a cat. His owner had died without making provisions for the animals so, family being family, the next-of-kin immediately solved their "problem" by dumping Vernon and the cat at the closest pound. I made the mistake of listening to Vernon's story. Now if there's anything I'm a sucker for, it's a faithful, elder dog that has suddenly been relegated to the position of "problem".

Vernon is in good health, still lively enough to go on long walks and really enjoys belly rubs. I was hooked (that volunteer knew exactly who to call with this story). Next thing I know, I'm driving 60 miles after work one night, through rush-hour traffic (no minor undertaking in the Washington, DC area), to get Vernon. Call me crazy, call me a "soft touch", call me whatever you will - I wanted to rescue Vernon (the beagles were adopted).

There's no ending to Vernon's story yet. He has now been neutered, received all his shots and is, as I write, relaxing on my couch (you remember my couch - it's the one I don't get to sit on), recovering from this morning's surgery (I couldn't leave the old guy at the vets' overnight, so I went to pick him up as soon as they'd let me). If you think dogs don't have souls, you should have been there to see the look in Vernon's tired old eyes when he saw me standing there waiting for him. I will find Vernon a "forever" home. Someplace he can spend his remaining years being a loving companion with someone who will appreciate the wisdom and the gentle spirit of an elder dog.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).