~ In Loving Memory of Pele ~

“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 29: Becoming a Better Beagle

 On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

Could this be the wise beagle, Pele…?

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His deep brown eyes peer straight into mine, as though he’s reading my every thought. I squirm a little under his severe stare, but I don’t want to look away. I have to prove that I’m worthy of learning from him!

“E-Excuse me, sir,” I begin with a shaky bark, “if it’s not too much trouble, would you consider teaching me how to become a better beagle?”

His head tilts to the side as he continues to examine my face. I’m afraid he won’t find anything very interesting…

“A better beagle?”

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Pele’s voice startles me so much that I can’t answer him immediately. “For my New Year’s resolution I’d like to be a better beagle! Will you please teach me, sir?”

Suddenly his serious countenance transforms before me; his eyes twinkle with a mischief that rivals Max’s, and his mouth opens into a bright grin. It’s as though he’s revealed himself to be a puppy who happened to fall face-first into a bucket of flour!

“First thing’s first, lay off the ‘sir’! It’s like you’re talking to an old geezer, and last I checked I’m not. Now, I have to say I’m very impressed that you can tell an amazing dog when you see one! You’re off to a great start, I must say, a great start. I’m more than happy to teach you everything I know, if you’re willing to listen, and I’ll warn you now, I do love to talk, so brace yourself…uh…hmm…What did you say your name was again?”

My head is spinning. He didn’t even stop to take a breath!

Chief

“I didn’t, sir – I mean, Pele. My name is Bing.”

“This is all very fascinating, truly, but I shall take my leave this instant. I wish the best of luck to you, Bing. You may need it,” Scarlett says, eyeing Pele warily as she leaves.

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“She’s a funny one, isn’t she? Sometimes I get the feeling she’s not too fond of me, but I don’t let it get to me, no I don’t. That’s the first lesson for being a better beagle! Don’t worry so much what other dogs think of you. We’re all our own harshest critics, so if you can find it in you to love yourself, then everyone else is bound to! Now, on to the main points: we beagles have an excellent sense of smell. Can track anything. But are you using your nose to its utmost potential?” Pele instructs me without pause.

“Uh…I’m not really sure,” I say while my mind tries to work through everything he’s said.

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“Well, here’s another tip: if it’s not food, it’s not worth your time! Seek out food whenever you can, because – guess what? It’s all around you. Even if you can’t see it! Don’t be content with the little treats humans give you every now and then. Don’t wait for food to come to you. Take action. When my parents first brought me home, I found food hidden in my dad’s bag – it was my keen beagle nose that led me to it! And you know those giant metal cans where humans always throw away perfectly good scraps? We can’t get in through the top, true, but just keep pushing against it until it falls over– all that good stuff is yours! What I’m trying to say is, leave no stone unturned, and you’re sure to be rewarded!”

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I’ve never thought of it that way! Pele really does know a lot!

“What other advice do you have?” I ask, my tail wagging eagerly.

“Oh, there’s plenty more where that came from. Besides his nose, a beagle’s greatest asset is his face! We have such cute faces for a reason, you know. Can you guess why?” Pele asks, moving closer to the fence.

“To brighten people’s day!” I exclaim, recalling the way humans smile whenever they see me.

“Hmm…not what I was thinking of, but that’s good too. No, the real reason we have cute faces is…get ready for it…to get treats! You don’t look so sure, but just stay with me for a second. I’ve never given my secrets to any other dog, but I like you Bing, so I’ll give you a peek. This is…my ‘Sad Face.’”

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My breath catches in my throat as I watch his eyes grow larger and glossy. Staring into them, I am suddenly overcome with the desire to give him a treat. And I don’t even have any of my own! Pele is a genius…

“Wow…I’m not sure I could make a face like that,” I say as his expression returns to normal.

“Sure you can! And guess what? Works. Every. Time,” Pele says, tail wagging happily at his own cleverness. “But, your nose and your face aren’t everything. No. There is something even more important when it comes to being a great beagle!”

I’m so excited to hear the answer that I start spinning in a tight circle. What could be more important than a beagle’s nose and face?!

“Your bay.”

Huh?

“What’s a…bay?” I ask, my spinning slowing to a stop.

Pele takes a deep breath, then lets out a long, throaty call that almost sounds like a howl! It carries across the yard, and a chorus of barks rises to meet it; he’s created a wave of sound with just one drawn out note. It’s the most impressive bay I’ve ever heard!

“Now that you know the secrets to being a great beagle, go practice! I expect a full report one week from today,” Pele says with an enormous grin before pressing his nose to the ground and following a new scent.

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I’ve learned so much today…but will I be able to put it into practice?

…to be continued…