Good fences

Lilly watched intently as her boundaries were determined for her by humans she didn’t know.

The thing about living with a beagle instead of a normal dog is that they value their freedom above everything else but food.  Not “free” as in “Let’s go for a walk! I’ll walk right next to you and when you tell me to come, I will stop whatever I’m doing and come to you immediately. This is because you are my mistress and I love you” free Nope. Free as in, “Roo-Roo! Free at last! Thank God Almighty! I’m free at last! See ya when I see ya, Sucka!”

It is just who beagles are. If you live with one, you can’t take it personally. I am amused whenever I see a “lost beagle” posting online. I always think,”Ha. That beagle’s not lost. He’s just free. If that beagle wanted to go home, he would.” That’s how beagles roll.

Hence, the new fence in our backyard.

Somehow, I raised three other dogs and two children to adulthood without any fences. But Lilly is young and very, very, fast. Two things I no longer am. In a perfect world, she could roam our five acres and we could call her name and she would actually come back. Unfortunately, this is not in her nature.  And then, there’s that “good fences make good neighbors” thing. Keeping Lilly home will make HER a much better one.

After the fence was built, I opened the back door to let her out without her leash. Now, you would think that this would be enough for a dog, wouldn’t you? You would think she ran and jumped and frolicked with wild beagle abandon? Celebrated her freedom to explore the back yard? Maybe even grinned at me and let out a little Roo! of thanks?

If you are imagining these as possible scenarios, you have never been owned by a beagle.

Here’s what she actually did. First, she looked at me like I’d lost my mind for actually letting her outside off her leash. Then, she started at one end of the fence and made her way all the way around it twice, nose to the ground. She pawed at each post, testing it. Then, she made a third pass to see if the workers had made sure the fencing was all the way to the ground. I’m pretty sure she even paused at both gates to try and figure out how the latches worked. And then, she sat down in the middle of the yard and glared at me in the way that only a ticked-off beagle can glare.

It has been a few days with the new fence. I’m still watching her when she’s outside to make sure that she doesn’t try to climb the four feet of chain link keeping her out of the glorious woods on the other side. I toss her tennis ball for her and she fetches it, but we both know that she’s just humoring me as she plots her next move to free herself from the boundaries that tall, two-legged creatures with thumbs and good intentions set for her.

It is what it is, little dog.  Might as well make the best of it, I say, as I toss the ball again.



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