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Archive: 2017

Requiem For A Beagle

There are no bad dogs. I can see how, based on the above pictures, you would *assume* there are, indeed, bad dogs, but you don’t have the whole story. Here, you see, Oliver was doing his level best to convince me that memory foam pillows offer far superior sleep as compared to those filled with goose down (he was right, by the way). He imparted this knowledge at great personal sacrifice, as memory foam is neither as fun to shred nor as tasty as feathers.

Oliver was the very best of dogs: loving, loyal, and intensely protective, especially of his Boy. The day we brought Jack home, Oliver promptly deposited himself at the dot of his crib and wouldn’t budge. Every night, he camped outside of the bedroom door. In the early days, when Jack and I hadn’t figured each other out just yet, it was Oliver who stepped in (literally) when I was about to lose it. I’m not sure how many times he’d quietly inch between my frustrated new Mommy temper and the toddler who had no idea why my face was so red, but inch he did. He raise his eyebrows at me and say, quite clearly “Chill. The. F. Out. Count to 10, Mom. Leave the kid alone”. And so I would. And by the count of 10, the world had righted itself. Oliver did that. When I didn’t have the ability to calm myself down, the Beagle of the World stepped in.

Last month, we were walking the dogs. It was hot, and Oliver was tired. As we rounded the block, a schnauzer came barreling out of his yard heading straight for us. He snapped at a(who was walking Oliver), and that little beagle, who has NEVER snapped at anyone or anything EVER, went after that schnauzer like he thought he was a Doberman. He wasn’t about to let anything hurt his Boy.

Every night at bedtime, Oliver trots up the stairs with Jack, where he assumes his position on the lower bunk until he can hear Jack’s breathing slide into the even, slow rhythm of sleep. Only then does he take up residence at the top of the stairs, where he stays until it’s time for Kevin to go to bed. He puts himself in our bedroom until a Kev is all tucked in, and then he scratches at the bedroom door to come back into the living room with me. He just can’t rest until his people are all settled in and accounted for.

Oliver had mad ninja skills. He could grab a NY sized pizza slice from your plate without you ever noticing. He could easily defeat our “Beagle proof” trash can. And just when you thought it was safe to leave a roast chicken on the counter? There he was with his extra long tongue, going to town as our official “taster”. He was also an exceptionally skilled climber, percher, and balancer, which is how he came to be known as my Monkey. Oliver was not a dog, let’s be clear. He was a person trapped in a beagle’s body.

I’ve never seen another dog communicate as clearly or as thoroughly as Oliver. When Jack learned to swim, he would fling himself heedlessly from the firepit into the deep end of the pool….much to Monkey’s distress. Each and every time Jack would clamber up, Oliver would bark maniacally and position himself between Jack and the pool. We always joked it was his Lassie moment: “Look Mom! Timmy’s in the well!!!”. He did not want his Boy in that pool. Period. Oliver was NOT a fan of the water.

Late in his life, he became big brother to Otis. He LOVED his puppy fiercely. The best days were the ones where I’d catch them piled on top of one another, snoozing contentedly. He was thrilled to have a playmate again, especially one who spoke his language. Oliver wasn’t always keen on sharing his bones, but Otis never let that stop him from trying. I’m not sure what words would pass between them, but they were definitely talking to one another. I’m not sure how Otis is going to handle this loss. I suspect he’ll handle it better than I am.

You see, today at 5PM, Oliver will go to the Rainbow Bridge. He has lymphoma, and it came on SO fast that we’re not quite sure what’s hit us. On Saturday he was running laps and acting completely normally. By Monday, it was clear that something was wrong. By this morning, Wednesday, he looked at me and told me it’s time. He was tired. He was in a bit of pain. He won’t recover from this. So we did what had to be done. But first he had pizza.

Rest well, sweet beagle. We’ll see you at the Bridge.

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