Living With “Beagley” Abandon

Beagley DishwasherMy family has a lot of pets…  That’s a bit like saying McDonald’s sells a lot of hamburgers.  We now have enough dogs to qualify as a kennel when we apply for our dog tags each year.  The last dog, a beagle named Molly, joined our family two years ago when we adopted her from another family.

Growing up, my favorite comic strip was “Peanuts”, and my favorite character was Snoopy.  Everyone knows that Snoopy is a beagle, and Snoopy is very cool.  Molly is not cool.  She’s the polar opposite of cool, the Anti-cool.  Lacking proper adjectives to fully describe Molly’s behavior, our family has simply settled on the term “beagley”.

First on her uncool list is her bark.  Anyone who’s ever met a beagle knows that they don’t bark like other dogs.  Instead of “Bark!”, “Woof!”, or “Arf!”, they make a distinctive baying sound, “Bah-woooo!”  A hundred times a day, Molly finds cause to throw back her head, her floppy ears flying all about, and let loose with a full-lunged blast of beagle barking.  Our other dogs have a variety of bark types and different volume levels that they use to communicate their various levels of warning or excitement, but not Molly.  She has just one volume: extreme.  Full-on or off, there is no in-between.

Each time we let the dogs out into the backyard, her beagley blast of joy sets off the other dogs into a chorus of barking as they all race down the back stairs to the lawn below.  More than once, to my unspeakable horror, we’ve stopped neighbor’s backyard parties completely in their tracks, twenty-plus guests all gawking open-mouthed over at our yard to what must sound like a pack of dogs having a train wreck.  Our neighbors all have nice patios and decks in their backyards, but I’ve noticed they don’t seem to use them much now that Molly is living with us. 

Molly has strong feelings of affection for one of our neighbor’s chocolate lab Max, and she has worn a path in the grass along our fence as she barks for his attention.  My wife Carol is constantly yelling at her to get out of our garden during these romps, but Molly can’t help herself.  She has no finesse.  She fully expresses each of her beagley emotions as she feels it, regardless of who in the family is yelling at her to quiet down.

Molly is always on the go, begging for food, patrolling the house, wrestling and playing with another dog, trying to herd the cats.  She’s constantly following our family members around the house, wherever she can go.  If someone moves for the back door, she’s right there, hoping to be let out.  If Carol or I start to put our shoes on, she bursts into a beagley fit of tail wagging, hoping for a walk.  Our dogs have learned to like carrots, and they always beg for one whenever I feed our guinea pigs.  I have to be very careful when I offer Molly her carrot; her excited lunge for her treat will also hit my finger if I let her.

Even when Molly is tired, she can be annoying and coarse.  She likes to be covered when she’s sleeping, and she frequently pulls the blanket from the back of the couch to make a beagley nest to sleep in.  She likes to crawl under the covers of our bed to sleep at night, but she can’t do it in an endearing way.  She usually waits until I’m almost asleep, then digs at the covers, first with her paw, then with her nose, until she can worm her way under, usually displacing the covers off of me.  She plunks down after several circled loops right up against my bare back or side, her coarse hair feeling remarkably like sandpaper.

It’s at this point that Molly, unable to hide her emotions, expresses her beagley happiness.  She makes the funniest snorts and grunts in her nose whenever she is happy, or comfortable, or being petted, or begging for food.  I believe that this is the beagle equivalent to a cat purring.  Gruuunt!  Snarfle, snarfle.  She’ll crawl up into your lap, unaware that she’s not a lap dog, and surrender herself to the pleasure of being petted.  Gurgle.  She stares balefully at you with her big, brown, bulging eyes that give her a strong resemblance to Marty Feldman.  Puff!  Unngh.  Snorrrt!  She makes those beagley grunts frequently through out the day, perhaps even more often than she barks.

I respect that about Molly.  She’s genuine.  She has a good life, and she lives it to her beagley best each and every minute.  She throws herself wholeheartily into each and every experience, as if her life depended on it. 

Perhaps it really does.

Can you live a full life, an abundant life, if you constantly keep yourself in check, always holding yourself back, worried about what others may think about you?  Every day holds a roller coaster ride of emotional highs and lows, peaks and valleys, sometimes with little to no transition time between them.  Do we allow ourselves to fully experience and express those feelings?  Do we try to deny them, or repress the valleys as “negative”?  Are we too worried about appearing to be in control?

Molly may not be cool, but she has a freedom that I can only imagine.  She’s awkward and annoying, but she’s also vibrant and alive.  She is being exactly what she was created to be.   Perhaps it’s time to live my life with beagley abandon.




One Response

  1. The Sioux have a word for dogs like Molly. It called Wojampe (Wo-Hom-Pee). Translated: Soup! Hehe.. just kidding. I’ve often imagined that type of freedom. Not caring at all what others think, making heads turn with my obnoxious laughter, curling up with someone I care about and gurgling (my wife will tell you I do that now!)

    I guess that’s why I like going to Ceremony. I wear my heart on my shirt sleeve and usually end up crying like a baby or laughing uncontrollably. That happens frequently during a “Hanbleciya”. Roughly translated, “crying for a vision”. It’s not what Hollywood or New Agers makes it to be… a “Vision Quest”, it’s just you and the creator for 1-4 days, praying, meditating on life, watching the creations around you. If you happen to receive a visual gift from the creator… Bonus! But usually not. Usually just the satisfaction of spending one on one time with your maker is enough. But boy do the emotions usually flow. It’s really quite refreshing.

    Next time Molly and the crew go whooping it up with the neighbors looking scornfully. Join them!

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