Monday, May 10, 2010

On Napping with Certain Smelly Beagles...

When my parents leave me alone here at The Ranch, Dixie becomes my right-hand-man. Only she's not a man, she's a she, and on top of that, she's a beagle, but I'm sure you get my drift.

Dixie accompanies me everywhere I need to go: The couch, the barn, back to the couch, perhaps up to my neighbor's to have a beer, and then back to the couch again.

Dixie has been forced against her will, for all of her life, to sleep alone at night in the kennel. Getting her to bed at night is much like pulling teeth. Every night I watch her mournful face as she walks sadly to her kennel.

I like to play a little trick on Dixie while my parents are away. I'm cruel like that. I turn out all the lights in the house and say: "Dixie, Bedtime!" And then I look at her. She raises her overweight body sloooooooowly -- oh, so slowly -- from her perch on the couch and she hangs her head in sadness and looks at me with her beagle-y little eyes.

And then I stand up on the stairs and screech "MUPPY!" and pat my leg.

The transformation is amazing. She leaps to life, charges up the stairs like it is her job, and bounds into my bedroom to wait for me to lift her into bed. Watching her snort and snuffle in my luxurious down duvet before laying down brings indescribable joy to my life.

And then we sleep.

Yesterday I gave Dixie a bath, a rare occurrence that makes her feel very, very unhappy. She stands in the tub looking like the most dejected animal on the face of the Earth and tolerates my washing of her. Not happily. Unless it involves rolling in dead things or hunting things that are soon to be dead, most of what Dixie does is not done happily.

So this afternoon, after the other animals had been fed, I stood on the stairs and screeched "MUPPY!" before Dixie bounded up the stairs and then, surprisingly, found the energy to leap into my bed. She plopped herself down on my good pillow and I groaned inwardly though I knew I wouldn't make her move. I didn't want my good pillow to scented with whatever it is that Dixie has gotten into lately: The manure pile, a coon hit on the side of the road, the gravel pits, the horse stalls -- Anything yucky is where Dixie finds her joy.

And then I remembered: THE BATH. Dixie had a bath yesterday!

We then proceeded to have a four hour nap together, her on my good pillow and me taking second fiddle on the far side of the bed. She curled up beside me, all warm and fuzzy and rose-scented. (Oh, how the rose scent beats the scent of the dead things she likes to roll in during her spare time).

And after our time of napping was done, my pillow smelled only faintly of beagle and more like rose and I felt something else: I felt well-rested and at ease.

I may have just started a Saturday tradition: Washing my beagle so we can curl up together without negative effects on my olfactory system.



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