“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 66: Meddling Beagle?

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

“Ah, much better!”

As the cool water gently washes over my tired paws, my mouth slides into a relaxed smile. Warm, sunny weather has returned to brighten our days at the Lodge, but the heat sometimes leaves me exhausted after a busy afternoon of play. Thank goodness I have such an awesome pool to cool off in!

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And I’m not the only one seeking relief in this soothing water; it seems like practically everyone in my playgroup is hovering at the edge of the pool. Some are snapping at the jets dotted along the perimeter, while others are gleefully unburdening their wet coats onto their friends.

“One warm day and suddenly everybody’s a fish,” says Max with a snort, coming to stand beside me. “Is that a gill I see on your neck?”

“Where?!” I ask, frantically trying to glimpse my reflection in the shifting surface of the water.

The mischievous twinkle in Max’s eye tells me I’ve once again leapt headfirst into one of his jokes. It’s like I’m begging to be pranked!

“Good one,” I say, nipping at his shoulder. “Is teasing me even fun anymore? I don’t make things very challenging…”

Max touches his nose to the water, hiding his satisfied smirk from my sight.

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“True, but your reactions more than make up for the lack of a challenge,” he says, raising his head. “You haven’t bored me yet, and I expect it to stay that way.”

“Beagles are never boring! Didn’t you know that?” I ask, puffing out my chest with mock-pride.

Max tilts his head to the side. “No, but now that you mention it…”

Stepping out of the water, we momentarily turn our attention towards the little fountains that ring the pool. I demonstrate my superior technique to Max, who looks on with amused doubt as I bite at the constant stream.

“Is this another beagle skill?” he asks, lazily swishing his tail.

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Not all my skills come from being a beagle! Do they…?

Before I can say as much to Max, a curly, perfectly dry coat at the other end of the yard draws my eye. Minerva sits alone, her mouth hanging open to catch any passing scents. Her face is turned slightly away from us, like she’s in her own little world.

“Bing! Are you really staring at another dog when your girlfriend isn’t around? I’ll have no choice but to tattle on you,” Max says, threatening me with a playful bark.

“Don’t! I mean, I’m not!” I shout, my flustered voice suggesting otherwise. “I was just wondering why Minerva isn’t sitting over here with the rest of us…”

Max looks for himself, but he only shakes his head in response.

“Prefers dry land, I guess. It’s so crowded around here anyway,” he says, quickly sidestepping three dogs locked in an exciting chase game. “See?”

I know he’s probably right; Minerva may not want to get mixed up with this crowd, or maybe she’s just had enough socializing for one day. Still, I remember those times when I would hang back, afraid to join in the fun with the other dogs. There’s a chance that she really needs help! I should offer a listening ear – I can do that much at least.

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“I’ll go see for myself,” I say, walking towards the other end of the yard with purpose in my steps.

I hear Max’s heavy sigh from behind me. “Meddling beagle…”

My impulse to correct him fades as we cautiously approach Minerva. I tend to get involved in the lives of dogs I don’t even know, without their asking, and I’m always eager to resolve problems that have nothing to do with me. Sometimes I wonder if the efforts I make actually do anything. Or am I just meddling, sticking my nose into whatever trouble crosses my path?

Even if it is meddling, I really do want to help other dogs…

But what if that’s just how I am, as a beagle?

I banish these concerning thoughts with a vigorous shake of my head. If I really want to do some good, I need to focus on the task at paw!

“Minerva!” I say, greeting her with a smile. “What are you doing over here by yourself? Aren’t you hot?”

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She blinks her soft brown eyes at us, the corners of her mouth turning up slightly.

“Not really. I love sitting in the sun,” she says, calmly surveying the happy commotion by the pool.

“Those crowds were starting to get on my nerves too,” Max adds with an exasperated bark, coming to stand just behind me.

Minerva’s expression remains placid. She doesn’t seem very annoyed to me.

“Actually, I don’t really like the pool. Any pool, now that I think of it,” she says with no hesitation.

A Chesapeake Bay retriever who doesn’t like the water…?!

…to be continued…