Sunday, February 22, 2009

Up to my knees in it

My mother has always been fond of animals. She takes in the ones that no one else wants. The strays, the dumped, the hard luck cases from the Humane Society..Beagles are her favorite when it comes to dogs. She has one particular beagle by the name of Bradley whose main purpose in life seems to be escaping her back yard. The yard it fully fenced, but he will always find a way out. She has tried everything, including fitting him with a set of saddlebags made especially for dogs (they made him too bulky to fit through or under or over the fence). Those worked until he figured out how to chew them off of himself.

Last week he got out of his saddlebags and escaped. Mom was frustrated, as he refuses to come when called and will only take off running if you approach him while he's out of the yard. He is perhaps the most stubborn dog I have ever met. No amount of training has broken him of it.

I tried catching him once, when I saw him digging up mole holes along the side of her fence. Unfortunately he saw me coming at the last second and took off running. Half an hour later, there he was again..nose in the mud, digging furiously. So intent was he on his task that he didn't notice me this time. I crept up behind him as quietly as I possibly could. Traffic on the road helped mask the sound of my feet on the neighbor's gravel driveway as I crept closer and closer, intent on my mud covered and still furiously digging target.

Right as my fingers brushed his collar, he whipped around and tried to take off again. I wasn't having it this time, though. Yelling an inarticulate war cry along the lines of "BradleyARRRRRGH!", I flung myself on him like a football player sacking the quarterback, landing with a rather squishy thump on the ground. Unfortunately for me, his choice digging spot was right beside a ditch lined with fallen tree branches. It had rained recently. I believe I've mentioned before that Kentucky turns into sticky, clay-filled mud around this time of year. So there I was, half laying, half kneeling on the ground with one knee in a ditch full of water, tree branches jabbing me in the rear end, and one arm around 30 lbs of squirming, muddy, angry beagle.

Naturally a lot of traffic was passing by, so I had plenty of witnesses to my highly professional display of dog catching.

I managed to extricate myself from ditch and branches and got him into the house before he had a chance to make a break for it again. Mom is now only taking him out on a leash until she can figure out a different way of keeping him inside the fence.

I had to wash my jeans twice to get all the mud stains out. Luckily for him, Bradley only had to be washed once. Nothing quite like Kentucky mud...

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