On occasion I open my house to companion sitting and this past weekend I had pleasure of sharing my home with a senior beagle girl who was an absolute delight. I have had very large dogs my entire life so watching over a small dog requires a change in mind set when it comes to the usual.
These smaller visitors are hard to spot within the house. When one is used to just glancing up from a project to check on a large figure hulking about the furniture, well, that’s easy. ‘Oh, I heard a kitchen chair scrap across the tile…she must be in there’ and continue with whatever it was one was doing. But little guys and gals don’t move chairs and they fit into tiny little spaces – under the bed, in between the couch and the wall, behind the commode. They slink about the shadows in the evening so one never really knows where they are, they can hide behind potted plants so as to ‘surprise!’ one as one walks by with a cup of coffee, which makes one slosh the cup contents all over while simultaneously trying frantically not to let any of the sub-boiling brew to scald the guest; and they fit, actually FIT in ones lap. A novel commodity when one is used to large dogs. Not that a large dog doesn’t TRY to fit in one’s lap, but in reality one only gets a portion of the hind quarters and numb legs so there is no reference of one ‘fitting’ in a lap. But we suffer and move on.
Now the walking part is a bit different when discussing large verses little, but even more so when walking a beagle.
Why? Because they move by nose interest. Squirrels, screaming children, and Frisbees that land within feet of them are all ignored unless they are directly related to the smell on the ground. Also, their concentration of whatever they are tracking is such that they can no longer hear when spoken too. Now I’m a big believer in the thought process that I am on their dime when I take someone for a walk. The dog can stop and smell, pee a million times, serpentine from left to right – whatever they want. This is their outing and I’m only holding the leash.
But, I did have to make – oh, modifications shall we say – on Beagle Gal’s stroll. Sometimes she would investigate a bit of ground for quite some time. The minutes would tick by, her dissecting the layers of glorious odors, me standing around trying not to look like I am casing the neighborhood for future thievery, but eventually I would try to get her to become interested in something new. ‘Hey, look at that rabbit!’ Nothing. ‘I think there’s a bit of biscuit over there!’ Zippo. ‘Wow! An alien! Let’s go over there an track him/her!’ She can’t hear me, it’s like I am not even there. Eventually, I had to put time constraints on Beagle Gal. I hated doing it but the neighbors were getting uneasy…
So, after eight minutes, I had to get her to find a new piece of real estate to explore but as I have said she can’t hear when the nose is working. And this is where there is a definite advantage to the small dog. When the hands on the clock say eight minutes I just pick her up, walk ten feet and put her down. It worked great! From then on it was case the neighborhood for eight minutes, pick up Beagle Gal, carry her ten feet, put her down and start the clock again. Simple!
‘Beagle Gal’ is the lovely Kaylee who shares her life with her mistress Rose.