“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 60: A Little Panache!

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

“Bing’s it, everybody! Let’s catch him!”

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My paws spring to work the second I hear my name, carrying me swiftly along the edge of the fence. Some of the dogs try to race ahead of me, but I won’t let them cut me off! Making a sharp turn, I veer towards the pool, my senses heightened as I quicken my pace.

Unfortunately, a moment later I learn that beagle balance is more foolproof in theory than in practice.

As I sink into the cool water I’m immediately surrounded by several dogs that seem determined to see this chase through to the end. A nose touches my flank while I sputter and struggle to the edge of the pool, completing my extraordinary loss.

“Who’s it now?” asks one of the dogs that preferred to remain dry.

“Max should be it!” Daisy shouts, leaping from the water like a large, fluffy salmon.

“We should start now, while he’s distracted,” says a golden retriever as he shakes out his fur.

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Distracted…?

The group bolts in the direction of the small dog yard, and I finally see what they mean. Right in the middle of our thrilling chase game, Max was apparently sidetracked by a little golden face on the other side of the fence. He’s so involved in his conversation with Scarlett that he doesn’t even notice he’s “it” until it’s too late!

I had no idea they liked each other, but I wonder if it’s obvious to everyone else…

“Did you have a nice swim?”

Lucy’s teasing bark breaks through my thoughts, startling me back to reality. I can’t believe I didn’t notice her coming!

“Oh…yeah, you know. Have to keep things interesting somehow,” I say, quiet embarrassment peeking out from behind every word.

She laughs, and the strong, clear sound reverberates through the yard. My gaze shifts to my paws.

“You saw it all, didn’t you?”

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“You bet I did!” she says cheerfully, her tail wagging. “Actually, even though it was an accident, I thought your dive was kind of…graceful!”

I glower at her, but my lips curve into a smile in spite of my annoyance.

“Didn’t you know? Beagles always lose with panache,” I declare, puffing out my chest.

Lucy tilts her head to the side. “Panache? Isn’t that some kind of human food?”

Before I have a chance to correct her, I’m completely bowled over by another dog. My initial panic fades when I realize I’m not being attacked, but it takes more than a little effort on my part to escape from this stranger’s rough play.

“Niko, let Bing stand up,” Lucy says in a gentle but assertive bark.

Niko? I’ve never met him, but what a weird way to get acquainted!

“Yes ma’am,” he says, finally stepping away from me.

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Once I’ve returned to an upright position, I’m able to look at Niko for the first time. What a majestic face he has! I always thought Max looked wolfish with his pointed ears and strong legs, but there’s an even greater touch of the wild in Niko’s striking features.

And he certainly knows how to make an entrance…

 “I’m sorry,” Niko says with a hint of shame in his bark, though he stares me straight in the eye. “You were ‘it’ earlier, so I thought it would be fun if I could catch you.”

“You’re a little late,” Lucy says, nudging his side. “And besides, you shouldn’t just leap at a dog you haven’t met before!”

What kind of advice are you giving him, Lucy?

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 “That’s okay, you were just playing,” I say, taking a step towards him. “Although a little advance warning is always appreciated.”

Niko’s eyes light up as his tail wags quickly from side to side, and it dawns on me that despite his impressive appearance, he’s actually more like an oversized puppy. I don’t like being pounced on out of nowhere, but maybe he really doesn’t know any better…

“Your name is Bing, right? Now that we know each other we can play a game, right? Right?” Niko asks, his bark shaking with excitement.

“Well, I guess we could…” I begin before the voice of reason can come to my rescue.

Niko flashes a bright smile at Lucy. “You’ll be the judge then!”

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Lucy takes a step back, her brows raised. “Judge of what…?”

“Bing and I are going to try to knock each other over! Whoever stays on their paws the longest wins,” Niko says, turning to face me.

Lucy shoots a worried glance in my direction as I brace myself for impact.

Will my beagle balance see me through this time…?

 …to be continued…