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If you're missing a beagle, call me

December 09, 1999

If you're missing a beagle, let me know.

I am passing this message along as a public service for my friend Kate who works here at the paper and was on her way home the other evening when she saw a beagle running loose in the street near Terrace Liquors.

Now I think you and I know what sane, normal people such as ourselves would do if we saw a beagle running loose in the street, and it involves the Three H's: Hollering, Horn and High speeds.

But Kate is a little different - somehow she saw a down side to a young dog darting in and out of traffic on a busy thoroughfare - and that is why there is currently a beagle residing fat and happy at her house, tearing up her garden and threatening her rabbits. She says she doesn't want the dog - even though she is always talking about dogs - and is desperately trying to find its owner.

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Since this column is the 146th most popular feature in the paper, right behind Dr. Dobson but right ahead of the lost and found classifieds, it seemed to be worth a shot.

Besides, beagle owners might be likely to be fans of this column, since both groups tend to be - what's a kind word for "weird"?

The SPCA, for one, isn't optimistic the owner will step forward, even though the dog has a collar. They say beagles tend to be so aggravating that when one wanders off the owners tend to put the same amount of effort into finding it as you would of notifying the IRS that it has refunded you $40 too much.

Beagles are sweet dogs, but I've never met one that was able to track more than one thought at a time in their minds, and usually that thought involves pursuit with no consideration for how far they might be getting from home or how they are going to find their way back.

Kate appeared to be "softening" until she said the beagle committed the politically flawed strategy of treeing their family cat - which, depending on who's talking, Kate or Will, was either the greatest atrocity since Hitler or the funniest thing imaginable.

This cat, Pretzel, which is 40 years old if it's a day, has grown accustomed to living life on her own terms. She seems to have come from old money, for she is a tart and opinionated old woman who is disdainful of just about everything. She'd never lower herself to catch a mouse and the only bird she ever caught actually flew into her mouth, triggering a reflex to bite down. This indiscretion caused her no shortage of embarrassment and she refused to show her face in public for about a week.

Her last demonstrative act had probably occurred sometime back in the Ford administration, but when Beagle X showed up unannounced and made a move for her she suddenly developed what I am led to believe was quite a lively interest in exploring the upper reaches of a nearby maple and the crusty feline archive had to be retrieved with a ladder.

Poor dog. Since he is cute, in this household he could have dug up the foundation, he could have chewed a hole through all four automobile tires, he could have run an illicit call girl operation out of the mud room - or maybe even voted Republican - and been forgiven. But not this.

He's still resting comfortably and happily right now. But he has no idea how close he came to medical experiments. I am told he's been given a contract extension of about one day after this column appears, so if he's your pet there's still a chance to retrieve him before he is given away to a caring family that, for unexplained reasons, wants a beagle.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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