I know I have some dog-lovers for friends, so if you are one of those friends, you have one of two choices.
1) Skip this post which may turn into a verbal assault on one particular dog.
2) Adopt my dog.
Let's just hope someone springs for #2. Here's a few episodes from the last few weeks to help you learn what life is going to like with a beagle.
The Event: The Sliding Door Escape
The Accomplice: Ryan
The Story: One day when my mom was over watching the kids, she came out from the back bedroom to find the sliding glass door open and Nika loose outside. Apparently Ryan had decided she wanted to go out and just opened the door for her. Once she smelled the sweet scent of freedom, there was no turning back. She made her usual escapade to the Nederlander's dumpsters and the Fareway parking lot. She returned much later, panting for a drink of water.
Ryan: "Grandma, I wonder what Nika is finking about right now? I wonder if she is missing being a part our family." My guess, probably not. She was probably thinking, "I hope the guy who empties the trash into the dumpster had bad aim"
The Event: The Leash Evasion
The Unintentional Accomplice: my mom
The Story: The next week when my mom was babysitting again, she was letting Nika out and missed the loop on her collar when hooking her up, so off she went. I can understand how this happens when you're trying to one-hand a hook-up while wrangling two kids. This time I got a text that she was loose so when I came home for lunch, I made a loop around the Nederlander's, only to get another that she had returned home. The lost was found.
Ryan: "Mommy, don't worry about Nika. She just wanted to go exploring. She had to check out the Nederlander and then she came back."
The Event: The Late Night Dumpster Dash
The Unintentional Accomplice: Adam
The Story: Adam was taking off for Omaha after 9:30pm since we'd just attended a retirement party and he was going to spend the next day at a book sale and museum with his brother. Our babysitters had already left and as Adam was letting Nika out, she made a run for it. Again. Since he had a 2.5 hour drive ahead of him and there really is no point in chasing her, he just left. So, I had one baby in bed and one kid very concerned about the whereabouts of his dog. After hearing her barking profusely, I stuck my head out and saw her cornering a worker in the Nederlander parking lot. I walked out a bit and tried to explain across the field that it was too hard to catch her and just to leave her alone-she'd come back home later. I didn't want them to have to deal with her. This happened several times as I tried to manage her from my yard, not daring to stray too far from the house. Ryan was all worked up, so he got up and wanted to go looking for her in the truck. Just as I was getting Cohen strapped into his car seat, Nika shows up on the driveway. She took off right away again but I figured as long as she was on this side of the highway, I was not going to go chasing her around with two kids...she'd just have to come back on her own. At 10:30 when I was trying to decide if I was going to just go to bed or sleep on the couch in case she came back, I heard her barking again. This time it was my very nice neighbor walking back home from waitressing. Nika had her hackles up and was barking at Jodi like she was an intruder. She was so nice and understanding and actually walked through the creek bed so Nika would follow her scent across (Nika is too scared to cross it herself and too dumb to find her way around). As soon as she got to our yard, Jodi distracted her while I ran up from behind and grabbed her. What a sight I was hauling my nearly 30-lb dog back to the house, but I was SO thankful for my neighbor's help so I could tell Ryan (who was still awake) that Nika was back and we could all go to bed.
Ryan, after seeing Nika in the driveway "Mommy, I have a great idea. I'll get some dog food and make a trail and then Nika will smell it and come and eat it all the way to the door!" He did make the trail in the garage and I left the door open and even after telling Ryan how Jodi helped me, he's convince she smelled the trail of dog food.
The Event: The Bobby Pin Bridge
The Unintentional Accomplice: me, since the pin was mine and probably fell directly out of my hair
The Story: Nika loves the taste of hairspray (who doesn't) and will snatch bobby pins to lick or chew on any chance she gets, whether they're on the floor, on the counter, or even in an open drawer. Close to lunch time this week, I got a text from my mom that Nika had a bobby pin stuck in her mouth. I came home to Ryan all excited explaining how Nika had been spitting up on the floor as she tried to get the pin out. My examination found that the bobby pin (with tips chewed off) was lodged between her back teeth across the roof of her mouth forming a sort of pseudo-dental bridge. There was no space between the pin and her palate and it was way too far back for her tongue or my hands to grab. In all honesty, I was thinking less about her discomfort and more about
how much more expensive and a hassle it would be if she accidentally
swallowed it so I wanted to spend the $30 to save the hundreds. Plus, I
wanted to maintain use of my fingers, so I called the vet and brought her in. It took 2 vets--one to hold her down and help open her jaw and the other to use a little instrument to grab the pin. The only good news is that we remembered she was behind on her vaccines so we just took care of that at the same time for one office visit charge. Still, not the most fun I've had over my lunch hour.
Ryan, at home trying to figure out how to get the pin out: "I know, I'll just draw a picture and then hold it up to Nika's face really close and then she'll see all the colors and decide to spit it out! No, wait, I have a better idea! Maybe Grandma should draw the picture and then Nika will just throw up?" He doesn't have a lot of confidence in Grandma's drawing skills.
Ryan: "Mommy, maybe Nika will just swallow it and then poop it out." Can you tell we've had to discuss what happens after Nika eats things she shouldn't?
Ryan: "I have another great idea. I'll get some dog food and make a trail and Nika will smell the dog food and then (shrugs shoulders) she'll just spit it out!" Dog food trails solve everything.
Ryan: "Mommy, how will the vet get the bobby pin out? Will you take pictures and a video for me so I can see how they get it out? Will there be other dogs at the animal doctor? What color are the other dogs?" So many questions, so many evasive answers to make up.
The Event: Worn out Warrior
The Unintentional Accomplice: me/the weird air pressure between our exterior doors
The Story: After we took a family walk with Ryan trying to make Nika "heal" and her pulling him all over the place, we went inside while Adam went out to check a few things outside. I thought I closed the door behind us, but apparently I either didn't get it shut, or the weird phenomenon happened that when you open or close a door from our garage to the outside, the door from the house to the garage sometimes pops open. In any case, she got into the garage and then bolted out of the open door past Adam. Each of us took our turns going after her when she was either bothering the stock boys taking out Fareway's garbage, or dangerously close to the highway. We both came back empty-handed since she bolts the minute she spots us. This time she actually made it across Hwy 10 when Adam was going after her and then crossed back over to our side before he gave up. We just opened the side and back doors to the garage and figured she'd show up when she wanted to...or we'd hear her get hit by a car. Kind of fine either way, although we didn't want anyone else to bear the burden of injuring her. I was seriously thinking more about the driver than the dog. She eventually showed up in our front lawn. I hid behind the corner of the house until I saw her go in the garage, then snuck up and shut that door. Knowing she was about to go out the back, I sprinted around the house and came toward the back door yelling "Hi-Yah!" like I was herding bulls. This scared her enough to back up and I successfully got her in the garage, then watched her shamefully enter the house. After a drink, she flopped down on a blanket in our room and didn't move for approximately 16 hours. Honestly, the next morning we all got up and ready and when I left for work, she hadn't moved. Apparently, freedom is exhausting.
Ryan, to everyone we passed while on our walk: "Hi, guys! I'm walking Nika, but actually, she's not really cooperating."
Ryan, to a lady trying to brush her Golden Retriever as we walked by, "HEY! You have a really nice dog!" Then the dog ran after Nika, knocking the lady over with the wire leash. Ouch! I've so been there!
It's a good thing Nika is so good with Ryan, wrestling with him and tolerating more than her fair share. She also makes Cohen laugh and laugh. If our boys didn't love her so much, she'd be done-zo, or at least gonzo, but that's another day and another Muppet Baby (and probably a better pet than a beagle).