Dear Goddamned Beagle,
Since your arrival you have experienced many things. You have met and welcomed myriad strangers into various doors gladly, regardless of shape, size, color, gender, hour of the day or level of sobriety.
On one of our first walks together you pulled me toward a parade when the cannons fired, and stood, relaxed, as the fife and drum corps stalled in front of us while the floats ahead paused.
I took you on a boat, first shoving a life jacket on you with nary more than a piece of kibble afterwards – a “conditioning” joke that turned out to be accurate.
I have seen you surrounded by six shrieking, melting down, running, food-carrying children with only a few gentle reminders needed to ask you to stop taking the smallest toddler’s food from her mouth.
I have walked you through Boston’s North Point Park, along the footbridge that rises above active train tracks and the duck boat launch point, past a skateboard park and a sand and gravel company, under the Zakim Bridge span of the interstate, past the inlet into Charlestown to the harbor and along the docks where the medium-sized yachts are berthed.
You have served as Maid of Honor at a wedding, surrounded by brilliant, shining motorcycles, large men in their colors, paparazzi and a twirling, six-year-old fan.
You’ve navigated a Brazilian Christmas Party at our house, saying our hellos past tables laden with food as you accompanied me, walking beside the post-surgery walker required.
You rode a golf cart all day long at an outdoor event for 2,200 people and hundreds of dogs, with two PA systems and multiple attractions and activities. That day we also had a microburst storm that flattened much of the fairground, requiring us to take cover in a salt hut at the DPW with its booming, echoing roof as the torrent slammed through.
We have experienced thunder storms, tree removal, the jackhammering and repaving of our entire driveway, and a week-long boiler repair with plumbers wandering in and out and banging metal parts together in the basement below us.
You have not been a huge fan of the cold. This you’ve made quite clear, and so I assume that your response tonight is tied to that. Three inches of slushy, sticky snow, the Beagle equivalent of an avalanche on K2, sent you careening after your bedtime bathroom run, almost over-shooting the door in your sliding haste to get out of the weather.
But once back inside, Beagz, you seemed in ill humor. Shortly, as the plows drove by the house, you made it clear that this was not going to continue if you had anything to say about it. You had a lot to say. Your nineteen pounds of kick-your-ass growling, your warning howl as you raced toward the front of the house, your vision blocked by shades but your hearing telling you all you needed to know. The bastards were still out there, though they did leave if you yelled at them long enough.
Your vigilance continued even as we went to bed, and you sat on the edge of the mattress, alert and serious as you waited for the next wave. It took several rounds of “find the kibble in the messed up blanket” and a nice, soothing murder show on the TV to relax you enough to burrito under the heaviest quilt available, your shift apparently now over, left to me to carry on.
It’s going to be a long winter, Beagle, and this happens every year. I’ll make sure that there’s an adequate buffet lined up for the next snowfall. I believe this may change your opinion about these infernal machines.
In the meantime, snore away, Goddamned dog. You worked hard today chasing off the enemy. You’ve earned your rest.