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Fall 2012

Bob the Beagle

by Pat Hamit


DOGS LOVE TRUCKS

Bob and I have a new nightly routine. We go for a short ride in the pickup every evening before putting the truck in the garage for the night.
At first Bobby was a little hesitant about this going for a ride thing. Up till now, most of his rides were spent going to the veterinarian and he knew that this usually wasn't going to be a fun trip. While riding to the Vet Shop, the Bobster would tremble so hard that it was heart wrenching to watch and he refused to be consoled. Soft, soothing words were more condescending than comforting to him. It's one more thing Bob and I have in common, "White Coat Fever." Neither one of us likes being pushed, poked or prodded and we both have a tendency to become surly once we've finally had enough and our tolerance level becomes shorter with each passing year. If dog years are truly what I've been lead to believe, then he and I should reach "grouchy old man" status at about the same time.

Yes, B has been on several road trips with us in the past but it has always taken several miles into the journey before he would settle down and quit shaking and that just isn't right. All dogs should launch into their happy dance when they hear the G-O word. Our new nightly ritual has become a way of acclimating him to the canine joy of riding in a truck.

To say that he has adjusted well would be somewhat of an understatement. Those three little words, "Let's go Bob," are enough to set off a one dog stampede. Prior to pulling the verbal trigger on that little dog you had better be ready to walk out the door or be prepared to endure an extremely loud blowing of the Beagle bugle.

After bounding up into the driver's seat, he jumps the console and plops himself into the passenger seat. Sitting in the seat, looking straight ahead with an unusual air of dignity, he resembles a little man. It is obvious that he's ready to go. Watching us back out of the driveway has become a source of amusement for my wife, the Pack Leader and the granddaughter, That Girl. Neither Bob nor I know who or what they're laughing at and we don't really care because we are going for a ride. It's about this same time that the theme song to Driving Miss Daisy starts playing in my head, what's up with that?

Bugling for Shaved Ice
Headquarters has laid on a seek and retrieve mission for Hawaiian shaved ice which is a family favorite during warm summer evenings. On the way out the door, without thinking, I unintentionally tell my side-kick to: "saddle up, let's go." Those words have barely cleared my lips and he is out the door and waiting for me to catch up. Pulling into the shaved ice place it dawns on me that I have a problem. How am I going to get the dog to stay in the truck while I retrieve the goodies? He thinks he has to go wherever I go and he'll express his indignation with about three long and loud blasts from his Beagle bugle while leaning out the pickup window.

Pulling into the parking lot it is obvious that the Hawaiian ice shack is doing a land office business. All the picnic tables are full and people are standing around visiting while enjoying their cold treat in the relative coolness of the evening. After instructing Bobby to stay and behave I exit the pickup to place our order.

From the vehicle's "shotgun" position, dear sweet Bob places his front feet on the door's armrest, pokes his head out the window, aims his head skyward, makes that "0" shape with his mouth and lets go with the loudest hound-dog howl I've ever heard. Decibel wise, this had to be an ear splitting record.

Every conversation in the parking lot, mid-sentence or not, came to an abrupt halt. Heads swiveled and eyeballs clicked in my direction. The sudden silence was deafening! I felt like somebody who had gotten caught pinching a baby and was hoping that somebody in the crowd knew that this dog is not abused, he is spoiled!

Such close scrutiny by a crowd so rudely interrupted from their neighborly chat is pretty darn uncomfortable. Quickly trying to divert the unwanted attention I told them I was sorry for the disturbance and that Bob will settle down in a second. My apology was followed by another earsplitting howl and then a third one. "Thank you so very much my dear sweet Bobby." For a little dog he can sure be a big jerk.

After what seemed like forever, someone in the crowd says: "Let him out." Knowing that letting him out was not an option because he would be eating somebody's shaved ice and not necessarily because somebody voluntarily gave it to him. And then, sure enough, Beagle Boy finally had mercy on me and settled down allowing everyone to return to their previously interrupted conversations. Getting the icy treats home without a Beagle licking them was going to be the next big challenge.

What is wrong with this picture?
The Grandgirl, also known as That Girl, is a county fair junky. She spends 11 months out of the year working on photography, painting and sewing with an eye on the Fair. Skimming through the Fair booklet's classes and rules she discovered the open class for dogs. It's looking like the Bobmiester could be headed to the County Fair.

Later on, The Pack Leader is reading the requirements and rules for showing a dog at the fair. Some of the requirements from the easiest division are:

Heel on a leash and perform a figure 8. - He thinks heel is the crusty end on a loaf of bread. Heeling could be iffy, but the figure 8 might be do-able but don't bet on it.

Stand for examination on a leash. - Yeah well, that could be a problem. He's way too social for that.

Recall on a leash. - He can hear that lid to the treat jar being touched ever so gently from the other end of the house but can't hear his name being screamed from six feet away. Recall, even with a retractable leash? That's just not happening.

Sit for one minute on the leash. - With the lure of a treat, maybe. No treat, forget about it! Bobby's motto has always been, "No treats, no tricks." What else would you expect from a dog born on Halloween?

Down three minutes on a leash. – Unless the judge would consider Bobby with his head on floor and his butt in the air, wanting to be scratched, probably not.

The quick math on possible points to be awarded in the pre-novice section of the County Fair's dog show add up to just about zero. The train wreck at the Hawaiian ice place is still fresh in my mind as I visualize the dog show disintegrating into complete chaos with Bobby as the catalyst.

That Girl is a little disappointed when we explain to her that the Bobster has some issues that might prevent him from competing in the County Fair, the least of which could be creating a canine riot. Without a second thought she asks, "What if no other dogs are entered?" I didn't think about that possibility but the chances of that scenario happening are probably in the vicinity of slim to none. Still, that idea is intriguing. I'm envisioning a panel of judges, like "Dancing with the Stars," holding up score cards with a combined total score of 0.0 and Beagle Boy is the winner. What a hoot!

While I'm entertaining the probability of Roberto being the only dog entered in the County Fair dog show, the Pack Leader weights in with her thoughts. She thinks that her little darling Bob is better off in his role as the family dog and that the dog show thing should be left up to people who know what they are doing. Yep, there is nothing like the voice of reason to rain on your parade.

 


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