Once upon a time, we rescued a beagle. Or the beagle rescued us. It was at a time when we were having a lousy run of depressing, bad luck, and were eager to hear the pitter-patter of little feet in our house. Instead, we settled for the pitter-patter of four little paws.
I was mostly in a foul mood back then, but somehow, seeing the J-man's beagly mug when I walked in the door brought a smile to my face every time. I had never been a pet kind of person before, but once we brought Jackson home, I finally "got" it. I understood how an animal could be a part of your family, and you could love it and miss it and plan to do things with it--like, go to the dog park on a beautiful day, or run along the beach chasing the waves.
Jackson, because he'd already been abandoned at least twice, suffered from really bad separation anxiety at first. And of course, any change to his or our routine, sets him way back. Oh, and there's one more thing you need to know about him: he's part boy, part dog. Thus, Jackson the Boy-Dog. Also, beagles are pack animals, so the way he sees it, Mr. Fits and I are the mommy and daddy and he's the kid.
Jackson's always been great with kids--most beagles are. They are fantastic family dogs, partly because of their sweet nature and partly because of their pack dog mentality. But it was far from ideal when baby made four. I think that maybe he was doing what toddlers do when their parents come home with their second child: they like they little creature, alright, but wonder how long it'll be before their parents bring it back to wherever the hell it came from.
The first couple of months were rough. There was the Jacques Torres chocolate-gorging fiasco (which, aside from the inconvenience of a trip to the vet on Christmas Eve, wound up costing $104). There was the butter cookie episode. And of course, there was the scroll we brought back from Korea that was torn apart into tiny shreds, as if to say, "Screw you and the plane you came in on." And who can forget the time he made himself way too comfortable in the baby's highchair while we were out, in some last desperate act of role-playing and infantilization? (We shan't talk of that one again.)
But it's been a few months. And I think we are all adjusting to life as a foursome. Jackson has gone from a "don't ask, don't tell" policy as far as the baby is concerned, to being able to play on the floor in perfect harmony. I think that because I am home full-time now, the J-man has grown really attached to me, but understands our routines, and knows that we will always be coming back for him.
I think he sees H. as part of the family, maybe even the little brother he both can't stand or get enough of. Even though he's gotten a bad rap lately, we still love him. He still makes us smile and keeps us entertained with all his little boy-dog tricks. Already we are seeing little gestures on the pup's behalf that show us that he just can't get closeenoughtothebaby.
He's going to be a great best friend to our son and will inadvertantly give H. his first real lesson in friendship. And there's no one better than a boy's dog (or, a boy-dog) to do that. Even if he does have a propensity to lick his privates when company comes over.