On November 1st, appropriately All Saints’ Day, I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person to my best furry friend of 11 years when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
When I myself was in eleven-years-old, my parents, for whatever reason, decided that we were going to adopt another dog and he/she was going to be mine. I for whatever reason had taken a liking to beagles, so my mom searched for beagle rescues* in the area. She found Ziggy Beagles, named after the owner’s first beagle. Being only 11, I didn’t have any criteria for the dog except that I wanted a beagle-ish one, so when my mom showed me three-year-old Cody, with his long face and big brown sad eyes, I immediately said something along the lines of, “yup, he’s the one.” When we went to visit him, his owner told me that he was painfully shy, as he had been abused in the past (in what way we don’t know), and he may never get over that. I was advised to not change the name he had been given, because it would be difficult enough for him to adjust to so much change (my mom denies this fact, but had I been given an opportunity to change his name, I absolutely would have; I was not at all a fan of the name, although it grew on me soon enough). Looking back, I’m not sure if this came from intuition or naïveté, but I had no doubt in my mind that if we adopted him, he would eventually overcome his timidness.
I remember on the last half-day of school before Christmas we were driving home when I realized we weren’t taking the correct route, and my parents said they were well aware. I realized we were going to pick up Cody weeks earlier than planned! He was a nervous wreck, wrapped in a towel, and peed on his owner out of fear as she carried him to the car. When we brought him home, he wouldn’t eat unless we gave him moist food, and then transitioned to putting some water in his bowl of dry food. He wouldn’t leave his donut bed, so the bed sat in the living room with him in it as life went on around him. Finally, after three days, he ventured out.
He became a normal dog apart from the fact that he slept a lot and hated walks (beagles are usually very active). It turns out that he was just a very lazy beagle, but we figured that whatever he had been through in his previous life had merited him all the time he wanted dozing off on my and/or my parent’s bed. I still tried to take him on walks every now and again, especially later in his life when he got a bit pudgy. He was always afraid of unfamiliar dogs, cars, and for some reason especially children on tricycles. Each time, after about a minute of walking, he would suddenly make a u-turn as if to say “ok now we go back.” I would drag him on after each attempted turn-around, until eventually he would lie down in protest until I turned around. He always walked faster when we walked towards the house than when we walked away from it. One time early on I accidentally dropped the leash, and when it made a thud behind him, he got spooked and started running, but he turned and ran all the way home and was waiting for me at the garage door. He may have been lazy, but he was smart.
He also had a very refined taste for Irish Breakfast Tea and carrots. Granted, he would eat nearly anything he was given, but he especially liked carrots more than our other dogs, and, along with the others, he would wait diligently every day until my mom finished her mug of tea for a few laps of what was left.
His quirks included lying on his stomach (often in my bedroom doorway) in such a way that his hind legs splayed out behind him (aka splooting), proving to be highly unphotogenic in that he always looked cross-eyed and derpy in photos, and he yodeled (beagles have a distinctive bark, often called yodeling) at absolutely nothing probably at least once a day.
I will greatly miss picking him up and turning him around to continue dragging him along on our walks, having a 28-pound weight leaning against me all night, getting dog hair all over my Christmas dresses, giving him his own bit of cake on our shared birthday (we don’t know exactly when his is, so we always celebrated it with mine), and having someone to finish my tea for me.
(The cover photo is one my mom sent me while I was at college of Cody modeling the t-shirt my EWB team was selling as a fundraiser to build the bridge in Bolivia).
*Apart from one pound dog and one purebred, all our dogs through the years have been rescues. If you’re hoping to adopt a dog (or cat), please consider adopting from a local rescue. They may not be purebred, but they have just as much personality and love to give. The be paying less in adoption fees, making space in a rescue home for another dog from the pound, and giving a deserving dog a second chance at a happy life.
Whatever you do, please do NOT adopt a dog from a pet store (I’m not talking PetSmart, but general pet stores, in malls for example, that only have puppies and they’re all in cages) unless they can prove that they do not get them from puppy mills (because nearly all, if not all of them do). This will only feed into and encourage the practice of puppy mills. And adopt from a breeder only if they are trustworthy, transparent, and responsible.
If you don’t know where to start your search for an adoptable dog, or if you’re interested in fostering a rescue, these links are good places to start:
Additionally, beagles are one of the most common breeds used in animal testing of various products. Perhaps with the exception of certain medical trials (such as cancer treatments on rats), animal testing is highly unethical, yet still prevalent in the cosmetic and household product industry. Please educate yourself on which companies/brands do or do not test on animals and make an informed decision to support those who do not. Primark (aka Penneys in Ireland) has recently started its own line of skincare and cosmetic products called P.S. that was created specifically for those who want products that are not tested on animals, but, like most other Primark products, are still good quality and highly affordable.