More Bob the Beagle
by Pat Hamit
The Annual 4th of July Parade
For years now, the neighbors up the street have organized a neighborhood 4th of July parade and block party. Everyone living on the two block long street looks forward to this annual event. It has become a tradition.
Participants in the parade include the neighborhood kids, friends, grandkids, moms, dads, grandparents and no one knows who all. With an American flag, the parade is led off with a fife and a drum playing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" with other walkers following and kamikaze kids riding bicycles decorated in red, white, and blue bringing up the tail. Since this entire whoopla turns around at the end of the street and comes back to the starting point, everyone has a chance to see the parade twice.
This was the second year that Bob and his BFF* Spike have participated in the annual parade. With girls attached to them by way of leashes, both of the dogs are leaning into their collars and pulling their keepers down the street. On the return trip both dogs are somewhat more docile.
Since every parade needs spectators, Bob's other BFF, Ace and the third member of the All Boy Beagle Band, sat with his Pack Leader and watched the two older boys pull their girls down the street. As the crescendo of individual fireworks become more prevalent later in the day, it is safe to say that the All Boy Beagle Band will make themselves scarce.
The parade is the leading indicator that the 4th of July celebration on our street has officially begun. This is our neighborhood's way of saying "Happy Birthday America and many more!"
Beagles Bust Out
As the garage door goes up, not one, but two Beagles come running out. What's up with THAT?
Sitting in the truck parked in the driveway with my mouth hanging open, the second thought that occurs to me sounds like a sound bite from the Kentucky Derby, that is, "And they're off!" And indeed, they were most definitely off as they raced down the street.
It takes only a second to recognize the other hound as Bob's BFF Spike. At a glance or from a distance they look like bookends. Spike is usually attached to a girl when they hike down the street to visit and play with the Bobster but there isn't a girl in sight and that is highly unusual. As the dynamic duo peel off down the street it is almost impossible to tell one from the other. This whole thing seems to be somewhat peculiar and a half a dozen questions are rattling around in my head trying to form a proper interrogative sentence but at least I've gathered myself up enough to shut my mouth.
Meanwhile the errant Beagles are making tracks fast. For a small dog, Beagles seem to be very fast. It is a pleasure to watch them run when they're running towards you with those floppy ears floating on the breeze. If those ears were more ridged I think they could fly. It isn't nearly as amusing to watch them running the other direction as those twin white tipped tails grow smaller and smaller in the distance. You know that you are the one who has to go after them if you ever hope to see the dog-gone dogs ever again. The how, what and why questions of the situation up to this point in time are not a priority and will have to wait until later.
Since we keep several leashes handy, I grab two and holler at Bob's Pack Leader for help. That is to say, I requested help from my wife in this matter. Coming from the house and into the garage she is chalked full of questions to which I have no answers. She hadn't a clue that Spike was in the backyard when she closed the garage door. The one thing I knew for a fact was that while we stood around discussing this topic two beagles were headed for whereever their hound dog noses led them.
So, why do I feel like the posse chasing after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Whether by design or happenstance the dogs had split up. One dog going one direction and the other one a different direction. Spike had crossed the street and was exploring the neighbor's backyard. The Bobmiester was spotted about halfway down the block with his Beagle-boy nose stuck to a scent of who knows what. There are some things you just don't want to know. As proof that we may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night, the pursuit posse splits up too. The Pack Leader is hot on Roberto's trail as I head across the street to chase after Mr. Spike, who has placed me on the Beagle version of ignore.
How many times do I have to learn that yelling at a dog to stop or return is counterproductive? It would seem that I have to learn this lesson at least one more time. I'm attempting to recall Spike by yelling his name at the top of my volume range and I think I may have hurt myself internally. Every time I close the gap ever so slightly between us, he accelerates his cruising speed. If I didn't know better, I would think he was teasing me. Spike, a/k/a Sundance, has no intention of going peacefully. Since I'm not gaining anything here at all it's time to change tactics.
Obviously yelling, "SPIKE!" isn't working. So then, there only one other thing left to try. It is time to inflect a little soft soap into my attitude and voice. "Spikie, here Spikie, come here Spikie-." Oh, just shoot me now! Baby talking to a dog is not a pretty thing for a man my age, but HOLY COW, it seems to be working. Spiker has stopped in his tracks and I've closed to within grabbing distance. Cancel that shoot me thing, okay?
Eureka! One dog caught and one dog to go, or so I thought. My wife, the leader of Bob's pack, has already captured her runaway beaglette and is waiting for me to quit goofing around and join her in returning Bob's BFF Spike to his home up the street. Yes, it was all fun and games while it lasted, huh boys? As a last act of defiance, the Beagle boys decide to braid their leashes together on the return trip so that when we arrive at Spike's house the two of them resemble a canine version of a maypole.
FYI: Spike escaped from an open gate. He thought he'd hang for a while with the Bobster and that's when the Pack Leader, unknowingly, shut the garage door which led up to this chain of events. This entire escapade is just another day in the life of the Beagle boy who lives at our house.
Property of Bob
The Bobmiester has rules. They are rules to live by and they apply to me and my wife and anybody else who happens to be in the vicinity of Bob's perceived territory. Bob's rules regarding property came into play just the other day. Bobby alerted us that rule number 91 was in effect until further notice. Rule number 9 is: "If you have something and put it down, it's mine." This rule applies to everything tangible, intangible or edible, like Thanksgiving pie.
It was spring cleaning at our house and the Pack Leader was cleaning out closets. In the give-away pile was a pair of too small orange fuzzy house slippers shaped like ducks feet. The ducks feet slippers have one of those "press here" things that make them go quack, quack. The quacking duck slippers were designated for the daughter of a friend. Obviously Bob didn't get the memo.
While passing through the living room, hoping to escape the cleaning clutter and chaos by way of a mandatory hardware store visit, I hear "quack, quack, quack" coming from behind the couch. The little thief has nabbed a house slipper off of the give-away pile. I thought I could retrieve the stolen slipper by snatching it out of his mouth with one fast swoop. Beagle boy has perfected the old routine of "duck and cover" as he sheltered his new found chew toy with his body and issued a warning GRRRRRRRRRRRRR accompanied with lots of attitude as opposed to his playful grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I got the message. What a grouch. He must get that attitude from the Pack Leader. He carried the house slipper whereever he went for the rest of the day. If it wasn't in his mouth, it was always close by and being guarded. That night he wanted to take it to bed with him. This thing has become one of his most prized possessions but he has no idea what a big goof he looks like walking around with that duck slipper in his mouth accompanied by a GRRRRRR if you try to grab it. Property rules number 21 and 31 would apply here: if it is in my mouth, it's mine and if I had it a little while ago, it's mine. I have no idea what is up with this entire slipper thing but I've taken the ignorance and apathy approach to this situation. In other words, I don't know and I don't care.
Can you imagine how embarrassing it will be if Bobby insists on carrying that darn house slipper in this year's 4th of July parade?
* BFF: Texting term meaning best friends forever.
1 Property Laws borrowed from a Beagle greeting card.