~ In Loving Memory of Pele ~
“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 30: A New New Year’s Resolution!
On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…
Last week the wise, older beagle, Pele, instructed me in the fundamentals of our breed: the nose, the face, and most important of all…the bay!
Today is my assessment, and I’m not feeling confident at all. This past week I’ve tried so hard to live as a new and improved beagle, but it didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped.
The first problem was with my nose. Pele told me to use my nose to sniff out food in unexpected places, but my parents must have done a phenomenal job hiding it. I looked in the chew toys they wear on their feet, searched under the couch, and even dug around in the bushes!
And when I knocked over the trash can, all I could find were yucky pieces of paper and a banana peel! Mom and Dad were not pleased when they found trash all over the kitchen floor.
I tried to earn their forgiveness by making Pele’s famous “Sad Face”; I opened my eyes as wide as they could go, and willed them to sparkle with all my might, but they didn’t give me any treats! He made it look so easy when he showed me last week…
My final chance was to unleash an impressive bay. One night when I couldn’t fall asleep, I decided to practice. When Pele did it, his call was answered by a lot of other dogs; I thought that if I tried it, I might get at least a few replies.
I bayed for what felt like minutes, but no one answered me. I did wake up my parents, and that was when my second attempt at the “Sad Face” failed!
Even after learning the steps I need to take to become a better beagle, I still can’t change. I put in a lot of effort, so it wasn’t for lack of trying. Maybe it’s outside of my control…but Pele made it seem simple!
What if there’s something wrong with me? What if…I’m not a true beagle?
Now, as I wait for Pele by the fence, I doubt myself more than ever before. He’ll be very disappointed in me when I update him on my progress. I want to hide, but I can’t run away from my problems!
“Well, well, if it isn’t you, Bing!” Pele says, trotting towards me. “How did you do this past week?”
“Not very well…” I say, staring at my front paws. “I’m afraid I’m never going to be a good beagle…”
“Hey! What did you just say?”
The concerned tone in Pele’s voice makes me look up in spite of my embarrassment. His head is tilted to the side, and his soulful eyes stare through me, as if he’s searching for the root of my problems.
“Well…I couldn’t do any of the things you taught me. I failed at every single thing! I can’t even bay…” I say in a quiet bark.
He must think I’m a pathetic beagle.
“Hold it right there! I thought you wanted to become better – but now you’re telling me that you wanted to be good. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard plenty of silly things over the years! But then, I haven’t been entirely honest with you, no I haven’t. Not entirely honest at all. The truth is…there is no such thing as a good or a better beagle!”
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. No such thing as a good or a better beagle?
“What do you mean?” I ask, taking a step towards the fence.
“All dogs are already good enough, beagles included,” Pele says, a knowing twinkle in his dark eyes. “Resolutions are perfectly fine, but sometimes they make things too complicated. Your friend over there, that little lady with the big attitude – that yoga stuff gives her more frustration than relief, and because she’s so determined to see it through, she sticks to it even though it’s not helping. Do you know why you really feel so unhappy with yourself right now?”
I think about it for a few moments, but in the end I can’t imagine what he’s suggesting. I shake my head.
“You’re unhappy because scouring the house for food, making cute faces to get treats, and baying loudly just isn’t you. They’re things that come naturally to me, but you have your own features that you should be proud of. For instance, you’re a fantastic listener! You’re a friend to everyone, and you have a lot of patience. You’re already all you ever need to be – all that other stuff I taught you is just extra! So don’t look so gloomy! That’s not something that suits you!”
I never thought about it like that before. For so long I’ve felt clueless about everything; I thought that if I became a beagle more like Pele, I would feel better about myself. But instead of worrying about a resolution and feeling guilty for failing, I should have looked inward and reflected deeply on my self-doubt. Maybe I should join Scarlett the next time she practices yoga…
“Pele, thank you for everything you’ve taught me. I feel like I understand myself a little better now, and I’ve decided to make a new resolution!”
“And what would that be?”
“To be a wise beagle like you someday!” I say, touching my nose to the fence.
Pele smiles and puffs out his chest. “Well! Based on your new resolution, I’d say you’re very wise already!”
I can’t wait to see what new adventures await us at the Lodge this year!
…to be continued…