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The Package

by Joe Guidice

          It seems to me that all of us have at one time or another had that one special dog that stands out in our minds for one reason or another. Maybe the dog was an especially fine looking hound, or was a phenomenal hunter, or had some trait that made it special, or maybe it just had such a bond to you for whatever reason that it stands out from all the others you've known. You all know the dog I mean, and just thinking about him in passing still brings a smile to your face even if it's been a long time since the dog has passed on.

          We all have some idea of what we look for in our Beagles, that mixture of temperament, build, nose, desire, speed, the list goes on and on and the differences of opinion are as various and wide as the day is long. I wouldn't dare try to say who is right or wrong, or what characteristic is more important. The truth is that we are all right, and that fact is probably the most difficult for us all to accept because being Beaglers, we are probably the only thing that is more headstrong and stubborn than our hounds.

          But what about the "intangibles?" What about the things that make your little Beagle who he is, and not simply what he is? If you ask me, these qualities, this personality, is what separates a select few from all the rest. Maybe some of these qualities could be fit in to some of the "traditional" traits we look for, maybe not. I believe that a dog with a strong bond to you will always try the hardest because it's the fabric of his very being to want to please you. If you don't necessarily believe this, stop right here. But if you feel the way that I do, read on. I bet that you'll recognize in some way the dog I'm talking about.

          I have a dog that time and again amazes me. His call name is Jake, but when I think about him many other names come to mind. Athlete, Warrior, Tough Guy, Big Mush, Gentleman, Friend, Stubborn, Troublemaker, and sometimes a Big Pain in the You-Know-What. I could continue on, but I think you get the idea and I'll bet that you know one just like this. If you haven't, all of us hope that one day you will. You will never ever forget him. I guess you could call him many things too. Mostly what I think of is something that I call The Package. He is that sometimes not so delicate mixture of natural and learned abilities that make up the total Package that is this dog. I have been around dogs all of my life and this one stands out among the many as the one. He has exactly what I look for in a Beagle, and even more importantly he has responded to everything I have ever tried to do with him, and that in turn makes me look like an absolute genius. In fact I have done very little except coach a little and then sit back and watch the show.

          The Athlete always amazes me with his speed (I like a fast hound and he has speed to spare, as so does his offspring) and agility and the grace with which he literally soars through the air even while running with total abandon. The fact that he's probably too fast for the field trials is lost on me. The dog is just plain fun to watch. He sometimes will turn to me in the field and give me a look that just says "C'mon, I want to show you how easy this is!" It's the sort of look that says something that only two old pro's know, and don't need to say.

          The Warrior absolutely lives for the hunt. He comes back limping from a cut pad and still refuses to quit. A scent of the enemy reaches him and he's off running again, cut foot, ears full of thorns, tongue dragging on the ground. When he's reluctantly dragged from the battlefield he still yearns for another run all the way home. He's convinced that the rabbits fear him. While at home the Tough Guy playfully drags another dog around the house by pulling a tug toy like a towrope. He barks like mad at whatever sound that he doesn't recognize or any stranger that happens to pass by the yard. Sometimes he stubbornly falls in love with the sound of his own voice.

          He'll sometimes steal my wife's shoe and then smugly sit there with it as if to say "I KNOW I'm not supposed to take it, so I'll just sit here in front of you with this thing and make you think I'm going to chew it." He has never chewed a shoe no matter how many he has stolen. He waits until after my wife has cleaned the glass-topped end table before he presses a wet nose to it for inspection. He terrorizes her cat on a nightly basis and he wakes us up early without fail. He is her favorite Pain In the You-Know-What, and Troublemaker and she would kill me if I ever returned home from hunting without him.

          He can't wait to see me when I get home from work and when I settle down in front of the TV he curls up between my legs on the floor or on the recliner. He knows when one of us doesn't feel well and will lay his head on our lap to comfort us.

          Do you recognize this dog? Ever had one like this? I call mine The Package. I've never had one like him before. May not ever have another one like him. Forget about what he is to other folks. Doesn't matter. Fancy titles don't mean much to me and they surely mean nothing to him. It's what he is to me and what yours is to you that count for everything. I hope every one of you has had one like this and if you haven't I hope you find him someday. You'll know it when you find him. Trust me. The Package will be clearly labeled.

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).