I was thinking of writing about my father’s love of dogs and about his favorite mutts as a child and an adult, but I’m not feeling quite that sentimental. Instead, I will say that thanks to Ferris Robinson a reader of this blog and who wrote a collection of essays: Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity (recently reviewed on Alvah’s Books) that I was inspired today to write about The Beagle aka Trumbo.
This now hefty hound came into my life a few months after I acquired Mr. Bessie. I was somewhat addicted to perusing the pet section on Craig’s List and was convinced that Alvah was lonely and needed a playmate. It was on a Sunday when I saw the ad and photo for a three and a half month beagle and I immediately fell in love. But there was a hitch: the guardian adoption fee was $900! I sensed that in no time the person who posted the ad would be harassed by the animal rescue people for such a high adoption fee so I wrote and said that I would adopt the puppy and give her $400. Still high, but enough to not deter her.
After several back and forth emails, it was a done deal. He was mine. I went to New Jersey picked him up along with three large shopping bags of toys, and off to Brooklyn we went. When I returned home, Mr. Bessie wasn’t quite as pleased as I thought he would be of having a brother. Suffice it to say, I realized that maybe I had been too hasty to adopt this puppy. For the first week it was chaos and at one point I decided that I wasn’t able to keep him. He was wild and in his desire to play all the time he was also getting himself into tiffs with Alvah who didn’t want to rough house at all.
I made a few phone calls to Beagle rescues, my heart heavy with guilt, and when no one returned my calls, I realized that the Universe was saying to me: You need to keep this dog. And I am grateful that no one ever bothered to return my phone-calls because he is pure gold.
Gold or fool’s gold, The Beagle was also The Wild Man and he rarely stopped. He was hyperactive and the only time I could get him to settle down was for a short nap after a two hour leash free run at the park and around bedtime. During those first few months, the Ol’ Man (before I moved to the beach) volunteered to take Alvah while I bonded with Trumbo. At first, and I don’t know if this is a beagle thing or not, we simply had an understanding that I was the human and he was the dog and that was that. That changed by the time he was five months old and now he was my beagle baby boy. And I loved him—as I do know—to bits.
Now that he’s about to turn six years old, he has calmed down. During the mornings I see a bit of The Wild Man, especially if there’s a herd of deer on the property and soon the wail of the banshee wakes the entire neighborhood.
Of the three dogs, Trumbo is the most affectionate. He comes to you for hugs and kisses. If you’ve gone away for a few hours, he is beside himself when you return, acting like his heart had been broken that he had been left behind (incidentally, he doesn’t suffer at all from separation anxiety).
He’s also the most patient when it comes to me and the camera. Of the three, he is the best model. In these photos, he looks like he could be in a high fashion/lifestyle magazine, DOGUE:
Sometimes he can be a bit of a dandy:
And he is a master of disguise:
In this one, he’s a Boy Named Sue
He likes to create a mood when watching certain movies. In this case, we were watching Exodus. Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo.
The one on the left, he was primping himself for Dr. Zhivago and on the right for our yearly replay of Reds or was it The Hunt for Red October?
But, I admit, that sometimes I get a bit cruel and humiliate him. When I learned that my lean and leggy hound was tipping the scales at fifty pounds, I tried to shame him to diet and posted this photo on Facebook.
Suffice to say, he refused to sleep with me for a few nights. But all’s well that ends well here in my Kingdom of Dogs. As I write this, the Beagle Boy is here on the bed, his portly body resting on my feet and snoring—a sign that he’s happy and content. And when The Wild Man is happy so am I.