My grandfather loved animals. My dad and aunt grew up with animals running all around their farm. Most of their pet dogs and cats wandered into the yard, where dad fed them. And, not surprisingly, they stayed. By the time I was old enough to remember, my grandparents had three beagles, at least two of which they had bought. A few years later, my parents bought two beagles for my brother and me. We enjoyed our dogs. They kept us fit running all around and gave us love and companionship. And I think our dogs, named Smokey and JJ, received the same from us.
We used to spend one or two Saturdays a month at my grandparents’ house (about a forty minute drive away) to visit and to help in the garden, especially when it was time to plant or to pick the fruits and vegetables we grew. I could write a whole blog post on my experiences with the garden, but I have other plans for this post.
My grandparents’ beagles, named Scooter, Belle, and Dot, were all different in appearance and personality. Scooter was the adventurous one, brown-headed with a black and white body. He was gone half the time we were over there, just roaming the neighborhood. Belle was the easygoing one- black, brown, and white spotted and bigger than the others- she would play with us some and let us pet her. Dot was the enigma. I’m not sure if my grandparents bought her, or if she just showed up in the yard one day and stayed. But she was different than the other two dogs. In color, she was white with brown spots. And she was shy and skittish. If any of us were outside, she stayed in the doghouse in the corner of the yard. Most of the time if she was in the yard and she saw someone coming, she would cower into the doghouse and stay until the coast was clear. My grandfather was the only person she would come to- until she came to me.
My grandfather passed away when I was eight years old. One Saturday, somewhere around a year later, I didn’t have anything to do after lunch so I walked out onto the back porch. There stood Dot about twenty yards across the backyard, eyeing me suspiciously. She didn’t run- just stood there looking to see what I would do next. This was my chance. I wanted to be like my grandfather and have Dot come to me. I don’t know how long it took as I talked to her very softly and held my hand out, urging her to me. It was probably half an hour, but it seemed like twice as long. The whole time I prayed no loud noise or other person would scare her away.
She wouldn’t bite if you got close enough to touch her. I had helped give her medicine before, which involved giving it to her as she was pinned up against the wall of the doghouse with no escape. But she didn’t like it at all. This time was different. She came to me out in the open and of her own free will. Slowly, she decided she trusted me enough to let me pet her for a while before she decided to back off and retreat to her house. I remember that I couldn’t wait to tell my dad what had happened. I read an article online talking about beagles and started thinking the beagles I grew up around and talking about them with my dad. The picture below is a dog whose coloring resembles Dot’s.