When I found out I was moving to a place in the country, I thought, "Hmm, boonies...dark at night...coyotes...good place for a big dog." I mentioned this to Randy, who didn't seem all that thrilled, but was okay with maybe, someday getting a puppy. And keeping it outside.
A few times I've searched craiglist, as a looky-lou. Saw a few cuties, one in particular.
I haven't had a dog since the parade of strays that came and went during my childhood. Well, there was the German Shepherd I had in chiropractic school. I wasn't home enough, had no fence around my back yard, and he was angry and aggressive with other dogs. I gave him up to a family on a big farm with a lake, because Max loved to swim. That was fifteen years ago and cured me of any urges to have a dog. Until now.
Last weekend, after dark, I heard a baying outside that sounded very close. Curious, I opened the back door and listened. It was coming from the pasture behind us, on the other side of a small pine thicket. We figured maybe a coon dog had treed a possum. Or something else. The racket continued for a while, then stopped.
Two mornings ago, I was sitting at the computer writing. I heard the baying again, only this time it was coming from the front yard. I opened the door to see a small, aged beagle running around in circles like a mental patient sniffing the ground, and occasionally lifting its head to let out its distinctive bark. Bugsy, my guard kitty, stood at the screen door watching, back arched and growling.
I laughed a little and went back to my writing and eventually he went away.
This afternoon, I came home and there he was, curled up in a ball at the edge of the woods. He didn't get up when I pulled in, just lifted his head and looked at me. He didn't get up when I approached him, either. Just lay there, shivering, in the cold, cold wind. I got a thin blanket and covered him up, tried to warm him with my body heat. That made him uncomfortable, so I let him be.
On investigation, I found out he doesn't belong to a neighbor. And apparently showed up in the hood about the time we moved in. I offered him a handful of cat food. He gulped it down, but seemed too weak to stand when I tried to lure him in the house. So I gathered him up in the blanket and carried him, laying him down in the back room with the stinky carpet we have yet to yank out.
I fed her. Randy loved on her a bit. Then I fed her again, gave her some water. She's curled up in a ball, on the blanket. Still weak. But warm, out of the cold, and out of danger.
Why me? Why my yard? I know that God does answer prayer. The universe sends us what we ask for. But this beagle, this girl, is no puppy. And, she's certainly not a big dog, a coyote would eat her in one bite.
And, heaven knows, I have certainly been guilty of running around in circles sniffing the ground. And of howling at the moon. And wishing for things I can't seem to have.
The Beagle, from Animal Planet, click here to hear a beagle bay