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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Boggled By Beagles

If you've read very much of my blog, you know that I love all kinds of critters. I have been befriended by horses, geese, cats galore, heck, I was even the object of a cockatiel's affection. I have had my hand licked by wild goats and wolves. But my favorites are dogs. There are so many things to love about dogs. They give affection freely. They do not judge by race or gender or age. They don't mind being seen in public with you if your hair is messy or you're wearing your laundry-day pants. It's a matter of complete indifference to them whether you're straight, gay, liberal, conservative, a good singer, a bad dancer, or can't balance your checking account. They just love the company of humans.

I am by no means a world traveler, but have been to Budapest and Western Hungary, as well as Vienna and Paris. I've been to several places in the USA. I have met all sorts of dogs on my journey through life, with all sorts of personalities. There was the Doberman I'd pass every day on my way to elementary school. She was incredibly sweet and stared at me longingly until I walked over to the fence to pet her. Odin was a two-hundred pound Newfoundland, the runt of his litter, who worked in a print shop at night with one of my college classmates. He was very intuitive, and would scare away anyone who had bad vibes. The biggest danger I ever felt from him was drowning in dog slobber. 

I've made friends with St. Bernards, Rottweilers, Bull Terriers (AKA Pit Bulls), mutts, Poodles, West Highland Terriers, English and French Bulldogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish and Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs, Labradors...too many breeds to name. I've met dogs that didn't speak a word of English, but clearly said, "Slurp, slurp, I must kiss you. I like you. Let's be friends." Heck, I haven't had a strange dog come up and kiss me since...last Friday. I haven't met any new dogs since last Friday, by the way.

Much like I do with people, I have been known to jump in the fray when I see a dog getting beaten up by another dog. I am literally sitting here shaking my head over that one, as I have watched people let their leashed dogs go after another pet and not do anything about it. Crazy Katrina jumps right in the fray and makes sure nobody is being bullied. And I am the one who will call the police when dogs are left in a hot car. And I have done the same for children left in a hot car, on more than one occasion. Shaking my head again. Why anyone would treat a child or a pet this way is beyond my comprehension. I guess to understand I would have to be a bit like them, and I have no desire to do so.

So you get the picture. I am someone who loves, and is generally loved by, dogs. Except for the neighborhood bullying Beagles when I was in High School.  I have known a couple of Beagle mixes, and the beagle part of their personality was very sweet. And hungry. Their beagle coloring made them lovely to look at, as they are really good-looking canines. Snoopy is a beagle. Although I have to say right here and now that he bears no resemblance to any beagle I have ever known. There were two beagles that lived across the street and two houses over. At first, I thought that the way they bayed instead of really barking was kind of weird, but I got used to it. The problem was that from time to time they would get out of their yard and try to terrorize the neighborhood. Like many dogs, they felt that everything as far as they could see was their territory. When they broke out of their fenced yard, they ran as a pack of two to explore that territory, and defend it if necessary. They would see someone coming and start to challenge them with baying barks and aggressive growling. Normally, I just hollered at them to go home and stared them down, but one day they went too far. 

It was a snowy day, and I was exhausted from walking more than a mile from school in snow that was over a foot deep. As I passed the edge of our next-door neighbor's driveway, I felt a sense of relief. I was at the edge of our property, so I was nearly home. That was when the beagles came out from behind Gram's car and started acting like they were going to attack me. I was furious and disgusted. It was one thing to have them get crazy with me in the street, or if I had been in their yard, for that matter. But this was MY house, and I had worked hard to get home. Attack me on my own lawn? I don't think so! I took a look at them, set my legs firmly, and beckoned them on while bending over at the waist. "You want to attack me in my own yard, you sons of female canines? Well, you better make it good, because I'll kick your butts!" (And would have done if necessary, but only in self-defense.) I must have been speaking in bully-dog tongues, because they sort or looked at each other like, "Oh, hey, was that mama calling us? I think it was! We better go home so mama doesn't get mad!" Yes, they did the backdown. Score one for the crazy tired girl. I got to my home and warmth and food with no further drama, where I was lovingly greeted by my dogs. And though they had many more escapes from their yard, they must have learned from our encounter, because after that I was never again bothered or boggled by the beagles.