“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 47: Bing’s Lonely Day

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

When I arrive at the Lodge this morning, Lucy isn’t there to greet me. It’s not that unusual; there are plenty of days she doesn’t come, just as there are plenty of days I don’t come. But it feels strange not to start my time at the Lodge with the sight of her excited expression, her tail wagging as if she was waiting for me…

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Just listen to me! I sound like I have a bad case of puppy love…

I’ve made it through days without Lucy before, and I’ll do it again! There are a lot of dogs here I can play with instead. I quickly scan the spacious yard for Max’s towering shape, and when that yields no satisfactory results, I open my mouth to search for his scent. Nothing. I turn toward the other end of the yard, hoping to catch a glimpse of Scarlett through the fence. I know she’s here, but she must be spending time with our human helpers inside.

Hmm. A day to myself, huh?

First, I should focus on the positives of this situation. The weather is sunny and cool, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. I can do whatever I feel like today! With an awkward sense of my newfound independence I race toward the pool. Staring into the clear water, I remember the time I fell in by accident and thought I was drowning.

I really am a silly beagle. Thank goodness Maia was there to “rescue” me…

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One of the little water fountains in the pool suddenly catches my eye. Mesmerized, I approach the gentle jet stream of water, following its trajectory with growing curiosity. I hesitantly block the flow of the water with my snout, struggling to bite around the narrow stream. After about fifty failed tries, I turn my wet face toward a nearby tennis ball.

When all else fails, there’s no shame in returning to the classics!

As I try to lose myself in the many joys of gnawing on a tennis ball, everything around me seems to intensify. Digging my teeth into the tough yellow hide, I’m painfully aware of the distant sounds of the other dogs playing in the yard.

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I’m having a great time!

I tug harder at the tennis ball, squeezing it in my jaws.

I’m having a really, really great time…

I let the ball fall from my slobbering mouth.

Who needs friends to play with when you have a perfectly good tennis ball?

I half-heartedly clamp my teeth around it.

Suddenly, I hear a strange sound behind me.

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I freeze mid-chew, training my ears on the unsettling noise. It’s halfway between a snort and a snore. Constant and slow, like whatever’s making that sound just can’t wait to gobble up a tasty beagle…

My heart beats wildly as a cold chill runs all the way down to my paws.

The snorting noise draws even closer, and now I can practically feel the creature’s warm breath puffing at the fur on my lower back.

There’s a rational explanation for this, Bing! Think things through for once and you’ll see the answer is simple!

Maybe Max is sneaking up on me. But when I cautiously catch a whiff of the creature’s scent, I realize it isn’t one I recognize. My heart beats faster.

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Come on brain, you just said the answer is simple! This is definitely not simple!!

My beagle brain scrambles to produce a logical, totally not terrifying explanation for the muffled, evenly spaced snorts inching closer and closer to my back. As the tension in my body escalates, I know deep in my heart that while there may not be a simple explanation, there is a simple solution to my current problem.

I ready my muscles to spring. I’ll scare the mysterious, snorting creature before it can scare me! There’ll be no beagle on the menu today!

On the count of three. One…

The snorting gets louder.

Two…

The snorting gets faster.

Three…

My muscles tighten.

Here I go!!

“BOO!!!!!!!!!”

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Once the shock wears off, I find myself nose to nose with a large-eyed, flat-faced Boston Terrier. He blinks back at me, too stunned to speak. Apparently I am too, because all words escape me in this moment of relief. We stay like that for what feels like hours, frozen in place by surprise, embarrassment, or an even mix of the two.

Finally my noisy stalker opens his mouth.

“Could you really hear me coming just now?”

I avert my eyes as I consider the best response. We only just met, so I don’t want to hurt his feelings. Still…

“Well, I could,” I say, watching his expression change. “But that may be because I have incredibly sharp senses! You know, as a beagle.”

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He perks up a bit, but his expressive eyes betray his disappointment.

“Were you trying to sneak up on me?” I carefully ask.

“You seemed kind of sad, so I thought I’d come cheer you up. I was trying not to startle you, but I guess my breathing gave me away. I’m a therapy dog!”

A therapy dog…?

…to be continued…