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a dog year

June 15, 2009

dog yr-A4389
A year ago today we went to the SPCA to look at cats and came home with a one-year-old mostly Beagle. He’s Buddy. Lucky Buddy Jake. Lucky Eddie Boombox. The Pooker.

We had no idea.

No idea how many shoes we would lose to his initial boredom, how many (new, treasured) books would lose their corners (starting with the Dog Whisperer book), how long it would take us to understand how smart he is and how bonded to us. No idea about the hound dog nose (sometimes he’s your lap Beagle, but he’s always the hunter he can’t help but be). Still no idea how to ask him to turn it off when we’re in the forest and he desperately wants to tear off into the trees after the essence of creatures long gone by.
the nose is always on
Like someone else I live with, Bud needs a certain measure and intensity of motion to stay sane. Thanks to my honey and the cruiser bikes, we’ve found a way to get him enough exercise to keep him calm and free of destructive impulses. We ride slow and he runs like the wind! Before the bikes, we walked. And walked and walked. I love the walking since, because of him, I’ve seen more of the seasons, the hay fields, and these hills than I ever would have alone. Because Buddy needs to get out twice a day and move no matter what. Both of us hated the frightening cold of January, but we bundled up and were in that, too.
dog yr 1-4413
On the roads and on our well-worn paths, he finally walks next to me without constant correction. In the fields, he roams to the end of the long lead, smelling the wind and ground. Seeing his Beagle-ness in full joyful expression with nose buried in the grass, a specific scent triggering his tail to wag madly and his body to shed all puppyish looks and suddenly activate, looking strong, noble, and ready for anything–this makes me want to give him the full freedom to enjoy it, and run. But since we lost him for 2 hours in the Adirondacks last summer, it’s too risky to try. When I found him, coming out of the creek toward our car, he looked thrilled to see me, absolutely exhausted, and the happiest I’d ever seen him. We need to find a way to give him that.

So all day I’ve been thinking of what we didn’t know, the pains and frustrations, the walking, playing, the trench-digging for the wired fence, the trench-digging for the fenced run, the lessons, the over and over “Sit,” “Come,” “Down,” “Wait,” “Stay,” “Leave it,” “Good Booooy!” And here a year later, we finally get each other–well we’re a lot closer. He’s attentive enough to be a sweet housemate, but devlish enough to remain Bud. He goes everywhere with us we can bring him. We’re each others’ family. We had no idea.
innocent face
Today we celebrated. My honey tied Bud a big monkey fist knot on a rope that is his new favorite fetch and chew toy. He slept in the sun and in the shade, out safely and happily all day inside the electric fence. We hiked in Hammond and he desperately wanted to chase smells. I made a cake, a lovely raspberry buttermilk double-layer lemon-glazed delight. For about 20 minutes, we left him alone to take the Jetta over to the neighbor we just sold it to. When we came back, half the cake was gone.
As someone once said of him upon hearing all the stories of Bud’s early destruction: “But he has such an innocent face…”

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2009 7:00 pm

    What a lucky Buddy, boy-o! The poor Noodle got nuthin on his big day, June 2nd (Parallel lives!) but his usual twice/thrice daily walkies and probably a headbutt from Audrey the wingnuttier cat. Your post made me realize it’s been the same sort of year for us too and I’m so so so so glad Nino chose us. Well said, all of it and a very merry unbirthday to the Pooker! (will he be a traveler this week too?)

    • June 15, 2009 8:29 pm

      You’re sweet, Kris. I know Nino has it great, too! Pooker has to stay home this weekend (here at the house with a sitter, a friend and her little son). I don’t think he’d do as well riding around Boston, even by cruiser bikes (as we plan), and God knows how long our NH climb will take since we’re both out of shape and practice. He’ll be waiting when we get home for walks and treats and Pooker time! See you soon!

  2. Randy permalink
    June 15, 2009 9:08 pm

    I saw you and Buddy on the bike the other day as I filled my bottle at the spring. I really don’t like dogs that much. I’m more of a cat person but Buddy reminds me of the Beagle I had as a kid. Great dogs!

    • June 16, 2009 10:10 am

      Hey Randy, holler next time you see us! We’d love to say Hi!

  3. June 15, 2009 10:45 pm

    What a warm story, Lynn! (And that first photo of Buddy in the yard is a really poetic one.) The cake sounded delicious, and Buddy seemed to agree. Happy adoption day to the little guy…

    • June 16, 2009 10:11 am

      Thank you for the nice compliment. When i saw him sitting there like that it spurred an instant photo session. We had a pretty great day :)

  4. grwhryrpltd permalink
    June 16, 2009 1:15 pm

    obviously, that little beagle nose must’ve known that the cake was meant for his very merry unbirthday…! too too funny, that made me laugh out loud. oh sweet critters, what would we be without you…?

    • June 16, 2009 9:45 pm

      well, I’d be without a fellow sun-worshipper here in the Great White North. All the merry unbirthday talk reminds me there’s 1/4 of a cake left in the fridge!

  5. June 16, 2009 9:39 pm

    I think it was Will Rodgers who said something to the effect of, ‘I only wish I was half the man that my dog thinks I am.’ I’m never sure if they’re part of the family or if I’m part of the pack. Fred and Jade send best wishes to Buddy and y’all on the occasion of your first anniversary.

    • June 16, 2009 9:47 pm

      Yes, well Bud knows I’m a pushover, so that’s all taken care of :) Thanks to all the Cramers!

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