Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Regal Beagle

“Grandma I want you to meet Cassy.”

With that simple statement the life of the beagle has been changed. A girl has come into the life of the boy that has always been his favorite person of all time.

Every so often my grandson would get that ‘boy and his dog’ mystery look on his face and dreamily tell me of his yearning to have a dog of his own. The more we talked about the responsibility of pet ownership, the more he worked up a catalogue of great rebuttals to any arguments I might put forth. In the end he had me totally convinced that ’I’ was the one that wanted a dog. And I believed him!!

I called my man friend and asked him if he would like to go to the local animal shelter with me. Because he was always ready and willing to do something a bit different he was more then eager join me. I had decided that a little lap dog would be perfect. A little personality that would be snuggly and sweet when just the two of us were alone in that big house. My grandson disagreed with the ’lap’ dog business. His idea of a dog was more in the black Labrador category, but he wanted a dog so badly that he decided to take what he could get.

When we walked through the gate of the shelter, full of anticipation and hope, I was informed that getting a dog depended on winning a lottery type drawing. My heart sunk. I have never in my life won a lottery of any kind. My chances of going home with a dog had just entered into the realm of the non-existent. But my friend wasn’t discouraged and he convinced me that since we were already there we might as well take a peak at what dogs were available. We spent about 30 minutes going from one cage to another, when all of a sudden I spied the cutest little dog. He was definitely a lap dog and he was definitely a sweetheart. He was perfect. I sat there and talked to him while my friend tried to convince me that ‘this‘ time would the ONE time I would win the lottery.

“That little white dog is meant to go home with you,” he kept repeating until he had my doubts in doubt.

He finally convinced me to take a chance and I went and filled out the paperwork that would enter my name in the lottery. When I went back to tell the little dog that I wanted him to come and live with me I found a lone woman standing in front of his cage. She had tears streaming down her face. When I asked her if she was all right she replied that her husband of 35 years had died the week before. She said that she was incredibly lonely and she thought that maybe the little white dog would bring some warmth into her life.

I crumpled my entrance into the lottery and tossed it in the trash.

Across the yard a young man had been watching me. As I headed for my car he came running up to my wheelchair and asked if I would please come back and let him find me a dog. He said that his mother was in a wheelchair and he knew how much love her dog gave her.

“Please let me help you and at the same time help some dog that deserves to be in a loving home.”

He got me with that last sentence. I reluctantly went back into the shelter.

He spent at least an hour bringing me dogs that he thought would be perfect for me. But most of them were big dogs, more in keeping with my grandson’s idea of the ideal dog then of mine. Finally, he said, “I have a beagle in the back. He’s very quiet, but you know beagles howl. I don’t know how you’ll feel about that. He’s scheduled to be put to sleep tomorrow, but he’s really a beautiful dog. I’d love to find him a home.

I was tired and discouraged, but the young man was so eager to help me I shrugged my shoulders and said I’d look at one more. That is how I met the beagle.

When he was brought out on a lease he refused to look at me. He let me touch and love him, but he held his head high in the air and refused to give me even the merest of glances. When I asked the young man to put him on my lap he sat there like a statue, beautiful and regal, still refusing to turn his head and look at me. He never once turned his head or gave the slightest indication that he regarded me any manner, EXCEPT for his eyes. He had his eyes twisted so far to the left, trying to sneak a glance at me, that they were almost hidden in his head. He was interested! He just didn’t want me to think he was. I instantly fell in love.

He was three years old. He was incredibly thin. He had been sorely abused, he had deep scars that looked as if someone had beat him with a belt buckle, and the vet told me that someone had kicked him in the back and damaged his spine, his rear legs walked a bit beside the rest of his body. But he was beautiful despite what had been done to him.

The beagle was not a lottery dog. Dogs that had been scheduled for extinction weren’t put in the lottery. He did have to have his shots before he was allowed to leave the shelter and the vetenarian wasn’t scheduled to arrive for another hour so it would be approximately two hours before I could have him.

We decided we would go pick up my granddaughter from kindergarten, get her some lunch, and then come back and collect our new family member ... the regal beagle.

We took my granddaughter to McDonald’s for lunch and she was still munching on her hamburger when we pulled into the parking lot of the shelter. When my friend came out of the shelter with the beagle on a leash my granddaughter squealed with delight, but the beagle knew who had saved his life and instantly deposited himself on my lap. He did look over at my granddaughter long enough to realize that she needed help with that hamburger. He graciously stretched his neck and snatched the whole burger in one gulp. My granddaughter loves to tell the story of her introduction to the beagle and how he snatched her lunch without even saying hello or thank you.

That afternoon the beagle was busy inspecting his new home when a young boy walked through the front door. The beagle turned to see what the commotion was about and let out a bark full of joy. He then ran as fast as his damaged back could take him and took a flying leap into the unprepared arms of my grandson. The two of them fell onto the carpet with the beagle straddling the upper body of a laughing young boy. The beagle started covering the boy with beagle kisses and the boy laughed so loud and so long that he became breathless from the love he was receiving.

It has been a love affair ever since.

But yesterday the boy introduced the beagle and I to a lovely young girl. And when the girl and the boy got in the back seat of my car it was the girl that got to sit with the boy. The beagle had to sit in the front seat with me. And even though the beagle loves me with everything in him I could see that the change in things leaves a sadness in the beagle’s eyes. How come the boy had his arm around the beautiful girl instead of letting the beautiful beagle kiss his face and lay his head in his lap.

And even though I kept telling the beagle how nice it was that he was being my co-pilot I could see his eyes twisted way around to the left of his head trying to catch a secret glimpse of the young man that used to be his young boy.

1 comment: