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Spring 2011

Bob the Beagle

by Pat Hamit

Bob Sells Out
Oh no, here we go again. She isn't going to give up, is she?

That is the question that keeps rambling around in both of our minds. Sometimes I wish Bob was human so that he and I could communicate on a somewhat higher level. It's not that I am seeking to impart or receive any tidbits of wisdom, but rather it would be nice to just help this dog understand that this situation is not going to go away. He might as well suck it up, give in and get it over with. Is that the voice of experience? You'll have to decide for yourself.

There is an expression, "hangdog look." Ever wonder exactly what that means? Bobby is sitting in the middle of the kitchen rug with his head down but his eyes are locked on the Pack Leader, my wife. If he was a teenager he would make that tongue clicking against front teeth sound followed by a drawn out sigh, while rolling his eyeballs to the sky and say, "Whatevvveeeer." If you looked up "hangdog look" in the dictionary Bob's picture would be there.

I don't have to see what is going on. In this case I can hear just fine. I can hear my wife saying, "Sit. Shake, Bob, shake. Come on Bob, shake, No, Bob shake hands right now." Oh yea, she is at it again. This is too painful to watch. In sympathy for the Bobster, I'm headed down stairs to the man cave, he is on his own.

I'm not downstairs long when I hear, "He did it! Hurry, ya gotta see this!" Always the skeptic, I cannot phantom that this hard headed hound has relented. Headed back up the stairs I hear, "Oh Bob, you're such a smart boy." That is my first clue that he has sold out. In Bob's defense, I have to say, if she talked like that to me I would do tricks too.

The scene in the kitchen hasn't changed much. There sits Bobby minus his hangdog look. Now the Pack Leader has his undivided attention. She is holding a baby carrot that she has been snacking while making his life miserable. So with a baby carrot in one hand she presents her other hand and orders, "Shake!" The words have not quite cleared her lips when this poor little dog complies. Obeying her command, he raised his paw at almost the speed of sound and now he is eating a baby carrot. In a matter of minutes he repeats the trick several times and is rewarded each time with a carrot. Well, the doggone dog will eat almost anything, why not a carrot? I wonder what he'll do for broccoli or asparagus. So far, popcorn seems to be the only thing this weird dog turns his nose up at.

At least Bob isn't a total sell out. He has some standards that are not negotiable. If you want him to shake hands, you better have a carrot at hand. A pat on his pointed little head accompanied with an "atta boy" won't get you zip from the Bobster. No carrot, no handshakes, no kidding and that seems to be carved in stone, at least for now.

It's a Beagle Thing
It is unusually warm afternoon when the younger granddaughter decides she is bored and takes Bob for a walk. Since the two of them have been gone a little longer than normal my wife and I go outside to check on their status. The wandering duo just happens to be down the block a ways and they're headed for home. We are leaning against my pickup, soaking up the sun while watching them return.

From nowhere a cottontail rabbit jumps out in front of the two walkers and beats feet up the street. Snapping all of the slack out of his retractable leash, Bob reacts immediately and race is on. Having a granddaughter in tow offers little deterrent, as the Bobmiester digs in. He is in hot pursuit. The howl coming from his double gated vocal cords lets us know he is on the hunt.

This bizarre pursuit scene unfolds in front of us. First in this impromptu chase is the bunny, passing us at near the speed of sound. Next comes Bobby. He is giving chase while trying to gain both speed and traction at the same time he is making that hound dog hunting howling sound while at the same time, gagging from the tension of the leash. In third place, hanging tough and as far back as the tether on the leash will allow, is the grandchild who either can't or won't turn loose of the tie that binds her to this fracas. Her little legs are spinning like wheels as she goes whizzing by.

Who knows why, but suddenly the rabbit doubles back from where he came. Zooming directly at and then past his pursuing parade in what seems like a desperate move. Just that quick Bob hesitates while the granddaughter is sucking air. Neither one of them can believe that this wild hare has reversed course and rocketed past both of them. As suddenly as it stopped, it all started again. This time they're all going the other direction. It would remind you of a scene from a high speed shooting gallery. Thankfully for the gagging hound and gasping girl the rabbit turns up the alley and is gone.

Wound tighter than an eight day alarm clock, Rabbit-head Robert was wired up. You can tell that he has discovered what it is he was born to do and he is ready to do more. He was having FUN! Can you imagine how it might have gone without the grand-girl acting as a boat anchor? It could have gotten real ugly in the neighborhood real quick. As it turned out, the live action entertainment kept us all grinning for a long time.

Easter Day Massacre
While the grandkids think that they may be a little to old to hunt for Easter eggs they are mistaken. First of all Grandma doesn't think they're to old, Secondly, several of the hollow eggs have the chocolate and jelly bellies candies replaced with money which provides some incentive. With a cell-phone and or an i-pod depending upon the Grandkids for support, Grandma's Ester egg hunt could be easy pick'ens.

As usual, he is the first one out the backdoor and leading the way to the backyard when Bob is stopped in his tracks. At the far end of the yard, sitting perfectly still is a rabbit. Either he has detected some slight movement or his hound dog nose has locked onto the scent. Bob goes into a low crouching stalking stance as he attempts to close with the rabbit with as much stealth as possible. All of us are mesmerized by the National Geographic scenario playing out in front of our eyes.

An old fashion stare down is taking place between the rabbit and the hound. Bob remains in his low crouched stance but moves a foot or so at a time as he tries to gain an advantage by narrowing the distance between him and his prey. The stare down continues and neither one is blinking. Pushing his luck by trying to gain a bit more of an advantage, Bobby causes the bunny to blink. And, BAM! Just like someone fired a starter's pistol at a track meet, the high speed sprint begins.

As the hound and the hare zoom around the perimeter of the yard clearly the rabbit has an advantage. The rabbit can corner much faster, but Bob is able to narrow the gap when it comes to straight line speed. While searching for an escape route the bunny uses a zigzag type evasion tactic that seems to work. However, the Bobster, not to be counted out just yet, has not given up the chase.

We all seem to be frozen in place with our mouths hanging open and our eyes as wide as saucers as that "arooooooo, arooooooo" hound dog howl is reverberating off the backyard fence while these two racing animals make yet another lap around the yard.

Finally, as Beagle-boy let's go with one final "arooooooo" and shifts into overdrive, the rabbit makes good his escape. All seven of the frozen statues witnessing this escapade sag in relief and return to life as the Easter Bunny narrowly avoids being the entrée for Bob's Easter dinner. Yep, it's all fun and games until the Easter Bunny gets massacred in your backyard. Thankfully that didn't happen.

Later that day, after the house has returned to as normal as it gets, I'm headed back downstairs to the man cave when I hear, "Okay Bob, sit! Good boy! Now give me a high five." I'm thinking, "That poor, poor dog" as my selective hearing kicks in.


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