“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 46: My Other Home

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

When I woke up this morning, I thought I knew the size of my world. My house, my backyard, the park, the vet’s office, and the scenic drive to the Lodge…they’re all so familiar to me that I’ve never thought that there might be anything more. Now, listening to Iris talk about her life in that faraway country called Switzerland, I feel a little floored. There’s so much I don’t know…

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“So…what’s it like? In…Switzerland?” I ask, my bark a bit too wonderstruck.

Iris’s tail wags quickly. “Oh, it is so, so beautiful there! The mountaintops dusted with the snow, the rolling valleys and the green pastures, the sparkling lakes, the sprawling cities…I can picture them all clearly even at this very moment.”

Hmm…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mountain, let alone one that’s been dusted with snow! Switzerland seems to have everything!

“So…there’s a lot of stuff there, huh?” I innocently ask, taking a seat beside Lucy.

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“‘A lot of stuff?!’ Bing, though your naïveté can at times be…charming, I must say your ignorance on matters of the world is quite baffling! Please forgive him, Iris. He is a simple beagle, and therefore entirely unaware of Europe’s natural superiority,” Scarlett says with a delicate sniff.

Lucy’s jaw drops at her comment, but I have to admit Scarlett has a point. I mean, I don’t even know what Europe is! Is it near Switzerland?

“Oh no, no, no! Switzerland is not better than the United States, but it is very different,” Iris says in a gently tactful bark.

Scarlett’s golden tail swishes back and forth, a hint of irritation in her usual scowl. She’s not used to being disagreed with, especially not by a dog she really wants to impress. I glance at Lucy, who gives me a soft nod.

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“How is it different, Iris? I’m pretty naïve myself,” Lucy says, mercifully shifting our conversation.

“Well, first of all, the weather in Switzerland is not so hot and humid. Mother and I moved here at the beginning of summer, so it has really been a difficult adjustment! Because my coat has two layers, I have had to be more careful about overheating,” Iris says, squinting up at the sun.

“It’s a good thing we’re heading into fall then!” I pipe up, enjoying the feel of a light breeze as it passes through the yard.

To my surprise, Iris bounds on her front paws, her mouth spreading into an exuberant grin. She must be really excited for the cooler weather!

“It is truly a very good thing, a very good thing! There are warm days in Switzerland, but here the heat is like nothing else. And it lasts for so long – I am eager for the winter to come! Does it snow here?” she asks, continuing to spring around.

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“Not very often. The weather here is kind of unpredictable,” I say with a laugh.

Is there a place where it snows regularly? I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else…

“Perhaps there will be more snow now that I am here!” Iris says, her tail wagging even faster than before. “I must admit, I am not used to being on a leash. In Switzerland, I was able to walk around as I pleased – I almost never used one!”

All three of us stare at her, probably wondering if we heard correctly.

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“N-No leash? Are leashes out of fashion in Europe?” Scarlett asks, flashing her priorities for all to see.

“Fashion? I am not sure, but some of us did not wear them. My mother says I am very well behaved, but here, there are more rules about leashes.”

There is a new light in Iris’s eyes as we watch her talk excitedly about her former home. Now that I think about it, if I ever had to leave the Lodge, or even this area, I would probably feel incredibly lonely. I’d have to leave behind all my friends, human and canine, and all of my favorite places and things. The thought fills me with a cold fear that travels all the way down to my paws. How could I possibly cope with all those changes at the same time?

What if I accidentally lost myself in the move? All of the things that make me the clueless beagle I am?

And Lucy…

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Iris has been through so much in the past few months, but she seems to be adjusting well. I can’t imagine that I would take it all in stride like she has; I didn’t even realize how big the world was until today! Or that there are other languages, landscapes, and laws that are different from ours. And Switzerland is just one of many! I want to learn more, but I would never have learned anything if Iris hadn’t come to the Lodge…

“But you know, you have something very valuable here that does not exist in my country…” Iris begins, smiling down at me.

We have something valuable here? It’s just like me not to notice, but I really wonder what she could be talking about.

“What do we have here that could possibly compare to the beauty and elegance of Europe?” Scarlett asks my question for me, albeit without any tact.

Iris swivels her great head to look back at a few of our human helpers as they play with the other dogs.

“IAN!!!” she cries, bounding over to said human with the energy of a growing puppy.

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“Well, I never! And here I thought Europeans had excellent taste!” Scarlett says with a dainty look of horror.

You’re wrong, Scarlett.

I realize it as I watch Iris romping around with her new human friend, Ian. No matter what country we live in, there will always be someone there, just waiting to meet us. Wasn’t my world even smaller before I came to the Lodge? Now, even though I don’t spend my days at the house, I have tons of great friends and exciting adventures waiting for me at my other home.

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“I don’t know Scarlett. Looks like she has pretty good taste to me,” Lucy says, flashing me the smile that never fails to brighten my day.

That’s right…it was like that my very first time at the Lodge.

I smile back, so wide my teeth are showing.

Thank you for making this wonderful place feel like home, Lucy!

…to be continued…