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If You Give A Dog A Byline, You've Got To Let Her Use It

Saturday, my Daddy was talking about how he had set up five authors on this site, but only four of them were writers. He said he had set up a fifth account – which he called a “dummy” account – to experiment with things on his test server when it came to bylines, author bios and other things. He set the account up in my name.

Well, first of all, I ain’t no dummy. And if you’re going to give a dog a byline, you have to let her use it every now and then. So while he’s in some other part of the house doing something my Mom is always complaining about – I think she calls it “wasting time” – I’m going to borrow his keyboard and pound out a few paragraphs.

Today’s topic regards something I kept reading on Twitter yesterday while I was in Daddy’s lap. Because it was Mother’s Day, many people were referring to their dogs as their babies, and dogs were referring to their primary caretakers as their moms and dads.

This made others annoyed for some reason. Who thinks of their animals as their children, they asked, as if those who do have some mental ailment and need to seek professional help.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Stand Up & Be Counted

Maggie, glad you spoke up and didn't hide your light under a bushel. You better be careful talking about being a Hoo Man around yo... Read More
Monday, 10 May 2021 14:43
Maggie The WonderBeagle

I'm Not Scared

I let him think he's in charge. But I own him
Monday, 10 May 2021 14:59
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Forget Who Let The Dogs Out?, Who Let The Dogs Edit?

It’s been about a month since Doug Doughty started contributing to the pages of DullesDistrict.Com, but I have failed to mention two other very important parts of the package.

All good writers have great editors, and I have mentioned frequently how blessed I am to have Maggie The WonderBeagle making sure all my “I’s” are dotted and all my “t’s” are crossed. Doug, for those who don’t know, has a similar support package.

Joining the site as associate editors are Henley and Harper, who have undertaken the enormous task of keeping Doug focused. I was, in fact, inquiring as to the status of this week’s college notebook when this picture was taken.

Harper, the senior member of the editing team, is laying near the arm of the sofa, and assured me Doug would not be leaving his seat until the writing was done, or until a treat was being retrieved.

Henley is the more active member of the editing duo, carefully reading over every word Doug writes and providing instant feedback on whether it’s approved or not.

So Henley and Harper, welcome to the Dulles District staff.

We want you on that wall.

We need you on that wall 😊

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Living With Aunt Bea, Serving Our Time At The Rock

There is a power struggle going on in my house today, and I don’t like it one bit.

You see, traditionally I’ve been the tough guy, the one who doesn’t cave over emotional pleas, and sticks to my guns about discipline and doing the right thing.

Today it’s different. Roles have been reversed.

It involves a furry little angel named Maggie the WonderBeagle. Traditionally, every dog we’ve ever had has gone outside every 4 or 5 hours, and there’s never been an issue. Most of that was because my wife and I went to work every morning and there was no other option. We’d take the dog out before leaving for work at 7:45, come home around lunchtime to provide relief, then not be home until 5:30 or 6.

Previous dogs had no problem with the schedule.

But in these long days of our pandemic house arrest, we don’t go to offices any more and are here all the time. Right before all this happened, Maggie took a circuitous route through a South Carolina kill shelter that ended up with my house being her forever home when she was 8 weeks old. That first night, she weighed her options and decided the best place to sleep was on my lap watching a football game, and you could say I’ve been a bit smitten with her ever since.

Maggie has also gone as long as six hours without going outside, as she’s exhibited whenever we’ve had contractors working in the backyard and her area to run around has not been available. It didn't bother her either.

But today is different.

When it goes from freezing temperatures to 66 degrees like it did yesterday, and there had previously been ice and snow on the ground, everything turns to mud. Since Maggie likes to run a few laps around the backyard before settling down to focus on her primary purpose for being outside, this creates a huge mess with her paws. We keep a stack of towels down in the basement to deal with this matter, but frankly, it’s a pain in the backside for both owner and canine.

I hate doing it, and Maggie isn’t real happy about it either.

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With Maggie The WonderBeagle, You Snooze, You Lose

There is a game that goes on every day in my house.

It involves wherever you are sitting. And Maggie the WonderBeagle.

Most dogs I’ve had are quick to jump up on furniture, so that’s nothing new. Previous dogs in my house weren’t even allowed to do that, as a wonderful Black Lab I had for 12 years named Butch used to make it an art form to sneak up on a sofa when no one was looking. It was his few minutes of heaven until Dad came into the room and asked “what do you think you’re doing?”

Just as we spoil our grandchildren and let them get away with things we never let our children do, the same happens with dogs as we grow older. Maggie has never given it a second thought about whether it’s OK to get up on furniture. She just assumes it comes with her ownership of the house.

But even that’s not enough.

To Maggie, she doesn’t just want to sit on the sofa. She wants to sit in YOUR seat on the sofa.

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Recent Comments
Bonnie Sumner

Time

Dave, Thank you for the reminder about how fast time passes and how our dear pups age quickly, too. Happy to see Maggie!... Read More
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 11:26
Dave Scarangella

It's the single biggest differ...

Maybe its just a function of old age. But all my dogs have lived to at least 12 years or longer, and at their end, I've just wante... Read More
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 12:19
Dave Fulton

Same time next week

Does Maggie ever bark out the plot in the Hallmark movie when she notices in first 2 minutes a childhood girlfriend & boyfriend ba... Read More
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 13:22
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A Memory Of When You Could Disagree And Still Get Along

One of the reasons it’s now been a month since I’ve dropped all participation in social media is how the world has changed. Everything is absolute: You’re either a good guy (if you believe as we believe) or a  bad guy (if you believe as those OTHER people do).

There is no in-between.

Truth be told, by whatever standard you measure, some of the most successful people I’ve met have a little bit of both angel and devil in them. I know personally, I am capable of doing wonderful and generous things for others, but as my wife will freely tell you, I’m also capable of biting somebody’s head off in certain situations.

I think all of us, to a certain degree, are that way.

This reminds me of a story I wrote several years ago about a very successful person named Mitchell Gold. We both illustrated these traits, didn’t get along, yet respected each other. I’m not sure that would happen now, but since it was a really good story I think you’d enjoy, and even involves me getting an autograph from a dog, I’m going to rerun it.

Here is a tale of two hard-headed people, a furniture-signing dog, and kindness:

One of the great things about having a child is realizing they have no idea what you’ve done in life. It’s as if they think you’ve never left the house, and if you did, you certainly didn’t meet anyone interesting.

Such was the case Sunday when my daughter was reading The Washington Post Magazine. The cover story was about a businessman and gay activist by the name of Mitchell Gold, and I mentioned I’d like to read it to see how he was doing.

“You KNOW him?” my daughter asked, as if I had just grown a second head.

“Of course I do,” I replied, as apparently my daughter didn’t notice I had left the house for 25 years and worked in the furniture industry, allowing me to meet a lot of interesting people, including one Mitchell Gold. “He and I never got along, but he’s a good guy. He even built a piece of furniture for us that he customized just for you.”

Since she was 5 at the time, I suppose it was fair she didn’t totally recall all of that. So I began telling her the story of Mitchell Gold, and it immediately bought to mind how different times are from way back then. These days, you couldn’t disagree with someone the way Mitchell and I did back in 2000 and survive.

That’s because according to the rules of social media today, it seems that if you disagree with someone, they have to die. You have to destroy them. There is no middle ground. They need to lose their job, lose their career and be branded with a scarlet letter if you have a different view. Disliking them and respecting them at the same time is not allowed.

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But Dad, You Just Don't Understand....

At 7 AM this morning, there was something beautiful going on here in Ashburn, as snow continued to fall since starting some time during the night. It was peaceful too, as the falling snow acts as nature’s soundproof barrier and blocks off all the noise of the world.

Well, it was until a certain hound let out a blood-curdling scream of a bark that made people wonder if my backyard had become a crime scene.

My house is situated right off a bike path that runs along my backyard’s fence. On the other side is a protected nature reserve, where there is a big creek for rain to run off into, and as a result draws far more animals than you routinely see in a metro area. It’s not surprising to see groups of deer, frogs, snakes, hawks, squirrels, racoons and several other species just roaming the area as if it were their home.

This morning, a new type of animal made an appearance. Sauntering down the bike path like it was just wandering home after an all-night bender was a small red fox, occasionally looking up at the snow like it was annoyed by this white stuff falling in his eyes. Those eyes opened just a little wider when his presence was discovered by my dog Maggie.

I call Maggie a WonderBeagle because that’s what she looked like as a 7-pound puppy, but when her legs grew to the size of a giraffe, we realized she was a different breed: An American Foxhound. Maggie is the gentlest, sweetest dog I’ve ever owned, but the AKC web pages on the breed warn when it is in pursuit of something it wants – namely a fox – it genetically can’t control itself and won’t listen to commands.

The AKC wasn’t kidding, as I watched this domesticated hound that sits on the sofa and watches television like a teenager turn into the Tasmanian Devil. The fox – showing it may be a bit of a jerk in the animal world – calmly stared at Maggie as she’s trying to break down the backyard fence, almost giving it a wry smile before slowly trotting off into the snowy woods.

It was if it were saying “my work here is done.”

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Recent Comments
Daniel P. Lundberg

Foxhounds Coonhounds

Sounds like the first time our Coonhound, well, found a raccoon that had sauntered into our backyard. Complete and utter chaos ens... Read More
Sunday, 31 January 2021 14:35
Dave Scarangella

We had thought after a few mon...

But then after the vet said she was a foxhound, and the AKC had the nerve to post a pic on its foxhound page that looked exactly l... Read More
Sunday, 31 January 2021 15:06
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Meet The Dennis Rodman of Canines In The Kitchen...

Rebounding in basketball isn't so much about jumping. It's about position. Knowing where the ball is going to end up landing. Being ready for the opportunity.

Based on those qualifications, if my dog Schnoodle had played basketball, the old girl would have made the hall of fame. No dog can read the kitchen, come up with a plan, and be where the odds are best that a mistake will be made. She doesn't look for food scraps. Food scraps fall in front of her. She is the Dennis Rodman of kitchen canines.

Today is a rainy day in Ashburn, and neither my wife nor daughter will eat leftovers (or even something twice in the same week). So since it is so dreary outside, I'm cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer of older foods coming up on an expiration date. I've turned three chicken breasts into chicken salad for sandwiches for the next few days; I have taken 1.5 pounds of ground beef and made it into a chili/taco meat mixture to go on hot dogs, baked potatoes or other assorted options over the weekend; yesterday I found this beautiful pork shoulder minding its own business in the back of the freezer. It has been appropriately bathed in a dry rub, had garlic inserted into it, and is peacefully resting until tomorrow.

Making these three dishes so there's plenty to warm up and eat on a moment's notice over the weekend involved doing a lot of chopping and mixing in various places in the kitchen. Schnoodle moved when I moved and always found the right spot. Making this more amazing is she lost her sight several years ago. But that does not hinder the pooch, as she has a nose with abilities the CIA would envy.

She's 15 years old and she unfortunately never got to play basketball. She could have been a contender. Instead, she roams the kitchen like a BOSS. And when it comes to kitchen scraps, she's the real MVP 😃

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Maggie The WonderBeagle Is Now An Author On The Site

Since Daddy told me we weren’t going to be on Twitter any more, the first thing I told him was I HAD to have my own account. He may be good with words, but it’s my pictures that people REALLY want to see.

So he said yes. If I had known it would be this easy, I’d also have asked for a handful of treats too.

I’ve been annoying him all day because of a pet toy I got that looks like a Stingray. It has a squeaker in it and every time he tries to read a book, I come in his office and squeeze it extra loud. It's driving him crazy :)

But he’s now taken it away from me. So I’m now sitting on his lap while he reads a book that he seems pretty interested in. And waiting for him to reach for that pack of peanut butter crackers he thinks I don’t know about sitting on the side table.

I mean, I am a hound, so I know how to hunt for stuff…..

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Recent Comments
Dave Scarangella

Gee, What A Surprise. You're S...

Welcome to the pack, Maggie....
Sunday, 31 May 2020 19:37
Maggie The WonderBeagle

Don't Make Me Look For Those C...

And since I'm now an author, my percentage goes up from 20 percent to 25 percent, right?
Sunday, 31 May 2020 19:38
Steve Wade

Maggie is a good girl

Spoiled, but a good girl nonetheless!
Sunday, 31 May 2020 19:56
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All This Time Together Is Revealing A Few Family Secrets...

There is no question that being together ALL the time during this shutdown is revealing a few things about those that live in your house.

In some cases, secrets one may have had from another in the home are going to be revealed. I’ve seen a few stories say it could be a divorce-a-palooza after this is over because those extracurricular texts and phone calls that used to go unnoticed between people having affairs on the side are going to be much tougher to disguise. I would guess when you’re always in the same room with your family, you can only say “this is work related” so many times before somebody catches on.

In our house, the controversy being revealed involves our dog Maggie. For some reason, all our dogs have always afforded me alpha dog status and tend to listen to me as much out of fear of punishment as love and respect. Perhaps it’s just the tone of my voice that suggests to a dog “I don’t believe I want to mess with you,” but all our dogs have been that way.

This annoys my wife. We had two dogs for 16 years before we got Maggie, and my wife spoiled those dogs as badly as any canine could be. Not surprisingly, when she was in the house, those dogs sat with her, worshipped her and followed her everywhere she went. But if there was a clap of thunder or a sound that scared them, they were off her lap in a split second, trotting down the hall to find me and jump in my lap.

I guess they instinctively thought that in a fight, the big guy might offer more protection.

This controversy also extended to our daughter in her early years. My wife and daughter have an extremely close relationship and spend incredible amounts of time together. I used to call them sorority sisters the way they do so many things together, but when it came to discipline, my daughter was always a little more wary of me.

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From Kill Shelter To "Scrambled Egg, Please" In Only 5 Months...

There are just some things I don’t think I’ll ever stop marveling at, and many include the canine that lives in my house.

This morning, for example, we were having a late breakfast. Eggs, sausage, biscuits and hash browns. My wife and I each sat in a chair at the breakfast table. Sitting in the third chair - like a human - was our Wonderbeagle, Maggie.

She knows the rules. No paws on the table. You can’t lay your head on it either. But if you sit there peacefully and quietly, nobody’s going to say anything.

She won’t, because when eggs are served, she knows Mom will make them. Mom believes no one can make a scrambled egg as well as her, and while she cooks them, she asks “you know what the secret is to a good scrambled egg?” Maggie once said “letting you make them?” but I corrected her to the proper answer of “cooking them on low heat.”

Maggie also knows Mom is the great enabler who can’t say no, so when the scrambled eggs are separated into portions, there miraculously always ends up being one extra. It also miraculously ends up on a plate, cut into smaller portions, and the plate ends up right in front of Maggie.

Maggie’s a smart dog. She won’t do anything to jeopardize this happening.

But that’s not the part I marvel at. Five months ago today, we brought her home from a rescue event. She had spent two weeks traveling around to all the events that were set up to adopt dogs like her. Before that, she was in a cage in a kill shelter in a small town in South Carolina.

To go from a cage in a kill shelter to sitting at a table silently barking “scrambled egg, please” in only 5 months is quite a contrast. And how, I also ask myself, could such a sweet little angel end up in a kill shelter in the first place?

I’ve asked Maggie this several times, but she just wags her tail, licks my face and gives me her normal “I don’t know, I’m just a dog” look. Then she buries her head into my lap for a few moments of snuggling and playful biting on my arm before giving me a look that says “however it happened, I’m just glad I’m here.”

Me too, little sweets. Every single day. To infinity and beyond…

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It Would Appear Dog People Are Just Happier People...

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.

Five weeks ago, a beautiful little beagle named Maggie, who clearly has parts of other breeds somewhere in her DNA, came to live in our house. As long-time dog people, my wife and I had been hurting after losing our other two dogs in the last year to old age, and this little pooch has been a wonderful blessing that has healed the hole in our hearts.

Because of this, I talk about her on Twitter all the time. Facebook and Instagram too. Apparently it’s to the point, my wife says, that I should just take my name off all the accounts and rename them after Maggie. As a result, Thursday night - more or less as a joke - I created an account for Maggie The WonderBeagle, which is what I call her from time to time.

The reason I did this was I had taken a picture the night before of her sitting in my lap, something I apparently do way too much according to my wife (yes, she’s the same one who acted as the GM on the Nationals in October; now she’s spending the offseason monitoring my social media habits) and in the background there was a picture and post about Maggie.

The expression on Maggie’s face seemed to be one of surprise and annoyance that her likeness was on my Twitter account, and that she was not being adequately compensated for it. So the picture became her first post, and her bio even says “Will tweet for treats.” Truth is, she will do anything for treats except sit still while you’re opening the bag of treats.

Because you can only have 15 characters in a username and the name “WonderBeagle” was taken, she became @MTWonderBeagle, and you can see her Twitter feed here. My thought was I’d post pictures on her timeline, and maybe 50 or 60 other dog lovers I know would follow along and we’d have fun with it.

Sunday morning, not even three days from when the account was started, she already has close to 360 followers. They are all, as you would expect, dog people. I follow back everyone who follows Maggie, and if someone likes a post of Maggie’s and it has a dog in the profile or cover picture, they get automatically followed too.

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