This morning, Maggie the WonderBeagle crawled up in my lap to rest up from a tough 12 minutes running around a 37-degree cold backyard to, as we say, “take care of business.”
As I always do, I rubbed her head and ears, gave her the extra treat I always keep in my pocket for her, and told her it’s hard to believe that one year ago, we met, and my wife and I took her home to live here forever.
I asked her if she felt any different.
Almost on cue, she jumped down from my lap, walked out to her kennel, grabbed the pink blanket my wife wraps her with every night when she goes to sleep, then dropped it from her mouth to my lap as if to tell me she’d like blanket service before her morning nap.
I guess she didn’t have a personal butler one year ago to take care of such things.
She didn’t have anything a year ago. She was only 10 weeks old, but she’d spent some of that time roaming the back roads of South Carolina, where she got to meet animal control and ended up spending some nights in a kill shelter. Then after being rescued by HART (Homeless Animal Rescue Team), she spent a week with two different foster families.
I’d like to think she was out looking for me.
We had just lost 2 dogs in the last 12 months. They lived to be 16 and led full lives, but now the house was empty of animals. If you’ve had pets your entire life, you know the feeling. Your head says don’t get another one for a while and grieve. Your heart, however, tells you that you need another animal to love and the place is always going to feel empty until you do.
A year ago, I said wait. My wife – as she often does – ignored me and found a candidate. I’ve always liked Beagles, and this little spud weighed all of 8 pounds; a perfect lap dog. We went to Petsmart, and the little dog looked at me as if she was asking “what’s your story?”
Indeed, her life had been a revolving door of people, so for all she knew, we were more temps. But that night after being bombarded with toys, treats and blankets, she came back to my office and crawled into my lap. She soon let out a contented sigh as we watched a football game together.
I gave her a hug and she looked at me as if she was saying she was on the verge of believing she’d found what she was looking for. I was thinking the same. Ever since, I’ve been her person. She’ll be on one side of the house laying on a sofa with three other people, but when she wants anything or she thinks something is amiss, she trots back to my office to find me. She follows me everywhere, is my sous chef when I cook, and my sports-watching buddy every weekend.
She’s just what this house needed. She was listed as part beagle, part hound, and the hound part has taken control, causing her to grow from the initial 8 pounds to a current 63. But she still crawls up into my lap as if she is a small dog, and it would appear she always will. I’m totally fine with that.
So Maggie, Happy Anniversary of a great day in both our lives. I think you finally found what you were looking for. I think I finally did too.