You Had ONE Job, Beagle

Dear Goddamned Beagle,

I believe you’ve understood that we have a dozen-or-so behavior professionals staying with us here starting today and through the weekend for a symposium. While this is extremely fun and exciting for many reasons, it’s also a lot of work. No matter how helpful good guests are, and these tend to be good guests, it still means 24/7 tending to, cleaning of, preparing of, providing, stocking, managing and all that goes with such a large crowd of houseguests. Between those things and the all day, all night meetings, I’ll also be sneaking in what work I can to do my part for my day job and my secondary “jobs” of community contributions to animal welfare, in the form of the upcoming dog festival of 2,500 attendees, and growing political action duties. This means I’m pretty much maxed out, and then some.

It’s therefore quite inconvenient of you to come down with a case of mast cell cancer, especially one that requires surgery today – not next week, not two weeks from now – as the mass on your leg is threatening and angry and needs to not do the things nasty tumors do.

This turn of events has meant several things. It’s meant that the sleep I’ve needed, rest required to be at my best for the next several days, has not been available. It’s simply left our room, apparently deciding to relocated one door over, where the 20-somethings can enjoy it well into the day after I’ve stayed up all night worrying.

It has meant that among my preparations are a beagle hospital ward set-up next to the table in the dining room, complete with beds, sufficient burrito blanketing and a store of frozen Kongs, because the instructions to “keep you resting, no jumping or climbing and only leash-walked to potty” seem overly optimistic for a beagle surrounded by animal people and huge stores of food.

Our dry run of Trazadone last week to see if that might be an option for chemical restraint was not a huge success – before you passed out for several hours I found you hurling a food-stuffed toy around the house in a style best described as, “batshit hyper,” arcing it so high you almost broke a hanging light in the dining room. Moments later I found you snoring, lip stuck to the food ball you were using as a head rest. I removed the ball, you snorted unhappily, twisted within your blanket and slept with an air of deep dissatisfaction. You hated it, and first you got the zoomies. Maybe not the answer I was seeking to the “keep the beagle resting” problem.

Your dislike of crates isn’t helping either, so the schematics of X-pen lock-down movement-slower-downers is complicated by the horde of guests unlikely to remember to close any of them as they move around the house. Also, it turns out it was a bad year to have moved the gate from the bottom of the stairs to the top. A bored beagle, even one with a large, fragile thigh wound, is likely to find all sorts of things to do with those stairs, as you’ve often demonstrated with your careening, leaping, spinning in midair stair Olympics, also called “beagle bowling” as anyone unfortunate enough to be on those stairs is in real peril of reaching the bottom on their ass. The last time I saw you do this, you were also carrying a chisel in your mouth, one you’d stolen from a workman’s bag and were refusing to give back.

A stair-careening, mid-air-spinning beagle with a chisel in her mouth is not something most people remember to keep an eye out for. I just thought I’d mention that.

At any rate, our friend Adam just called to say he’s finished your surgery and you’re so far doing well. I can pick you up around 3:00 this afternoon. I’ll do my best to make you comfortable, bring you water and food and keep you adequately padded and burritoed so you can heal and return to normal as soon as possible. I’m counting on this, beagle, as your one job was to fill a double Swissy-sized hole around here. You’ve been remarkably skilled at that, and I expect you to keep your end of the bargain for a good while longer, is that clear?


Your Person


  1. Sending healing thoughts! My Marlo had a mast cell tumor removed three years ago, the recovery was difficult. Keeping her immobilized was near impossible, and she ended up opening the wound TWICE and having to go back in for additional surgery to address. The thing that finally worked to keep her immobilized enough to heal was a combination of drugs and being confined to a large crate 24/7, for three weeks. I had to keep her on a leash to go potty outside (no running allowed at all). We were all very sad and stressed, but she did heal. They gave her a 50% survival rate within three years, and she’s right next to me and happy, 3.5 years later. Good luck!!

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