A couple of Sundays ago, while I was mowing, two beagles showed up in the yard. They seemed to be on their way somewhere, but were clearly in need of a shady nap and a bowl of dog food. We complied. I’m not sure what instinct prompted me to install them in the back yard, when I usually send wandering dogs on their way. It just seemed to me that these two needed a little help.
Over the next two weeks, I emailed and called all the shelters and rescue groups I could find: nobody was looking for lost beagles. I put an ad in the paper. I put a sign on the road. We bought dog food. We picked ticks off and squashed them on the porch. Bryan sprayed them for fleas. And he sprayed them again. And he sprayed them again.
The guy who comes quarterly to spray for spiders did a flea and tick treatment of the backyard and didn’t charge us for it. Our neighbor Josh gave us some food, and he took care of them when we were away for the weekend. (His wife left me a note: “Josh overfed them. And provided snacks.”) I put up signs at work, and asked around. People would run into me in the hallways and bathroom and say “Good morning, and no, I don’t want a beagle.”
It was discouraging. It was hard to imagine having BETTER dogs. These two were sweet, and hardly any trouble at all. They were grateful for visits, food, and chewy-bones, but if we weren’t outside, they were content to look cheerfully in the windows. They didn’t dig. They only barked occasionally, and even then, it was the almost-charming beagle-bark, and it was only brief, and they immediately looked very sorry. We started asking ourselves “what if we don’t find their home?” We couldn’t keep the dogs, but it made us all sad to think about taking them to a shelter, where they might never find a good home.
And then, FINALLY, I got the call. It was late on a busy Friday afternoon, and three phone calls later I was in touch with a guy from Mesa Bend, just a few miles away through the back roads. He described our two visitors exactly, and after supper Mandy and I loaded them up and took them home. They were very glad to see their dog-friends and their kid-friends. And we were very glad too, knowing that we’d done the right thing in keeping them healthy and safe until their family could be found.