The Runaway

We don’t even like our dogs. So why do they get such a hold on our hearts?

Our beagle Chester is a grumpy old man. A grumpy “Get off my grass, you crazy kids!” kind of old man. He was an old man when he was still a puppy. I mean, who ever heard of an introverted beagle?

When you say “beagle” most people get all mushy and tell you a tale about a beagle they had once that was the “best dog ever.” “Beagles are great with kids,” they say. Beagles are so playful,” they say.

No.

Chester alternates between sleeping on his pillow, growling at anyone who comes close, barking for 3 hours straight at the neighbor dog and tipping over the garbage can. No happy kisses. No cute antics. Just glares and huffy standoffish-ness.

When he was 8, we got him a puppy-brother, which wasn’t the best thing that ever happened to him. But it did make him look like the good dog, because at least he wasn’t chewing the table legs and attacking our toes when we sat on the couch.

I guess being the good dog got old or something. Because, the other evening, when one of the kids didn’t latch the gate properly after retrieving a ball, Chester took the big break and set out to explore the neighborhood.

Chris, always the delegated dog-finder, walked around the block and then took the car to search further afield. No Chester.

It ruined my night. That dumb, rude dog ruined my night.

He doesn’t cuddle. He doesn’t even act like he loves us, unless we’re going to feed him or he’s been boarded at the kennel for a week.

But I went to bed sad that the dog was missing.

There was no Chester and no news in the morning. The city’s lost-dog department didn’t open until noon. There was nothing to do, but mope around the house.

Then, like a miracle, our vet (who’s number was on his tags) called to tell us a lady had found him. They gave me her number and we arranged to go get him.

There was much rejoicing in our house (and I’m assuming at Chris’ office, when I texted him the good news).

When Chester saw me, he ambled up and gave me some obligatory kisses. He was happy to jump in the car and come home. But he really acted like nothing had happened. He had been out all night, crossed 3 busy streets and wound up a couple of miles away. But no big deal, apparently.

photo(30)He didn’t follow me around, happy to be near me again. He didn’t seem grateful or sheepish or… anything.

So I tried to pay him extra attention, because SOMEBODY needed to acknowledge the trauma we’d all gone through. He groaned when I hugged him. He growled when his puppy-brother tried to say hello.

Finally, we just left him alone to sleep. Because he obviously wasn’t interested in any family bonding.

I laid up at night worrying about him and he just wanted to come home and sleep on the couch like nothing.  (Is this what parenting teenagers is like?!)

I’m glad he’s home. I’m just not sure WHY I’m glad.

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