I was devastated after losing my black lab Penny. She was my companion for over twelve years. She was my family. Initially, I thought that the heartbreak was too much to rever risk loving another pet again. I did not want to go through the same heartbreak until I realized that there was no one that greeted me every time I came home. My house felt cold and empty and I missed the hearing the welcome bark and seeing the wagging tail. Thus, it was that nagging need for another pet that led me to the Menominee Animal Shelter where I first met “Max” and “Lucky”, who were three year old brothers. The shelter informed me that they were beagles.
Perhaps, it was my longing for company that prompted me to decide to get both of them. I also reasoned that two dogs would be better because they would keep each other company. Thus. I went through the shelter’s application process which included a reference check and waited.
After a day or two, the shelter called to tell me that my application was approved. Thus, I rushed to the shelter to claim my new pets after shopping for their collars, dog food and basic dog essentials. Because of the excitement, I miscalculated the collar size and had to trade my new collars for two of those from the shelter.
The dogs enjoyed the ride home trying first to ride in my lap and knocking the shift lever into “neutral” on me. I decided to stop at a friend’s house and show off my new “babies”.
Unfortunately after getting out of the car, my friend wasn’t home. I was trying to lead the dogs back into the car and dropped one of the leashes. The dog ran off across the street and kept circling houses with me running after him. Not positive yet which dog was the one that ran way, I hysterically screamed “Max!” – “Lucky” That was one moment when I felt like the village idiot and was I glad my friend wasn’t there to see me make a fool of myself!
We got home and the dogs quickly settled in to the house and a routine. By routine , I mean they waited for me to leave the house to find what could mess up for that day. The biggest loss I suffered from them was when they chewed up both of my living room couches. Of course, they made me a little happier too, well. They were always at the door when I returned home waiting to greet me and get some attention. But I was always apprehensive because I could never tell what part of the house or furniture they chewed up that day.
I did not realize is how much “outside room” you need for a beagle. I would take them outside they were off and running if I did not have a tight hold on the leash. I never knew that they were hunting dogs and were always on “scent”. The first time they escaped from my leash was about 3:30 in the morning. They were following the scent of a rabbit. I can still recall them running around the houses with that unmistakable “beagle bark”.
Finally after of gallivanting around the neighborhood they came home. Later that day the deputy sheriff visited me to tell me that one of my neighbors has complained about my dogs. He told me that the next time my dogs are let loose, it would mean a 100 dollar fine. Thus, I made an effort to keep the dogs on the leash when I take them for walks outside. Unfortunately the dogs seemed to have a mind of their own. I surmised that they probably had bladder problems (do they make Depends for dogs?)because they wanted to go for walks outside three to four times during the night.
I learned later that the dogs seem to suffer from anxiety disorder. They hated to be without human company which was why they would always tear things up in the house. One beautiful day I went to work and left my windows open so fresh air could get in. Soon after I left the dogs jumped through the screens and down 8 feet to the ground. I don’t know if they intended to follow me at work, but I was only made aware of what happened when an neighbor called me at work to ask if I knew my dogs were loose. That the “last straw”. I had owned the dogs for approximately five months and could not get them to behave as normal pets do. I loved them, played with them and cared for them as my babies but we just weren’t the “right fit”. I contacted the shelter and regretfully arranged to return them.
The staff at the Menominee Animal Shelter understood my predicament. Animal shelters survive on the work of extremely dedicated volunteers and from donations and fund raisers. Thus, I felt bad that I had to return Max and Lucky to their care.
Now a couple of tips before you adopt an animal so you do not make the mistake I did:
1.Don’t visit the dog once. Visit a couple of times on different times of the day to see if you and you’re the dog are compatible.
2.Don’t adopt a dog on “guilt” or “impulse”
3.Research, research, research the breed you are looking at adopting first to see if your house and yard is adequate for it (does it need room to run?)
4.Inquire why the dogs were in the shelter. Were they abandoned, abused, or just simply surrendered because the owner could not care for them?
Knowing more about the background of the dog will help you choose the right one for your personality type and your home environment.