Sunday, December 17, 2006

Prison Break ... Beagle Style

I was home alone this afternoon. No, that is not a bad thing. I had stuff to do and I could do it better and more quickly if I had less distractions. And then the Bears happened. They played the Buc's today and those wiley Floridians started to make a game of it toward the 4th quarter.

That is when the bells rang. We have this leather strap hanging from the knob of the back door of our house. Debbie has trained Bailey The Killer Beagle to jump and ring the bells if she wants to go out. She jumped with about 50 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. I groaned, got up, hooked her to her chain and let her into the back yard. I went back to the living room and continued screaming at the television and the Bears victory that was clearly slip sliden away. The game went into overtime. I hate it when that happens.

That's when I realized Bailey was still outside. I walked to the back door to let her in. Gazing into the backyard I saw the end of her metal cord of a leash sitting all lonely in the grass. No Beagle. This is not the first time Bailey has managed to escape the steely grip of her forty feet of freedom. I put some sneakers on, got in my car and started to drive. And drive. And drive. I put about 5 miles on the car in 45 minutes. That is a lot of driving when you are only doing 25mph in and around my neighborhood. No sign of Bailey. Anywhere. I gave up and went home.

There just was not much I could do. She could be anywhere. Beagles are famous for having great noses. Hopefully she can track back home when she gets hungry enough. Assuming she avoids the pick-up trucks and mini-van's that roam our street. I decided to get my mind off of Bailey by cleaning our bathrooms. All 3 of them. Ok, I'm clearly lying. Nobody that knows me would believe for a minute that I just "decided to clean the bathrooms." I was saving my marriage. Don't ask.

I first heard it when I was on the second bathroom. Something slammed into the back door. Bailey? I jogged toward the kitchen in time to see my Beagle dart away from the door and begin a loop around the backyard. She was being followed by a VERY LARGE chocolate lab. And she did not have much of a lead. After she made her circle she slammed into the back door again, jumping against it so that she could briefly see inside. I have to wonder what was going on in her walnut sized brain. The lab got there before I could do anything about saving her. And so she began her next lap around the yard with the lab in hot pursuit. When she came around and slammed into the door again I opened it and tried to drag her inside but the lab was too fast and he ran over her in an attempt to get in himself. I slammed the door catching him mid-body. Then I pushed him back outside. This did not please Bailey who suddenly found herself circling the yard yet again. Hey ... it was her or me!

It took 4 more laps, a pair of thick leather fire place gloves and a well placed pile of milky bones off to the side of the door (hopefully to distract the lab ... though it didn't work) for me to grab her around her little scrawny neck and yank her inside as the big dog snapped at her tail.

You have never seen a beagle look more grateful in her life. She did not even wait for her usual "welcome back into the house and thanks for peeing outside milky bone." She went straight for her cage and dug under her blankets. I do believe that if she had opposable thumbs she would have closed and locked the door behind her. The lab trotted away. Probably finished off a squirrel or two before going home himself.

It's been nearly 5 hours since the prison break ... Beagle style. Bailey has not rung the bell once. She doesn't want to go outside. I think I may have to grab a baseball bat and go with her if I want her to go outside before bedding down for the tonight.

Thinking back on this day I have to say that church was really wonderful this morning, I had a great Mexican lunch and the Bears (finally) won this afternoon. And yet I really think the highlight of my day was seeing Bailey The Killer Beagle "get hers." After all the times I have chased her around the neighborhood this was total justice. She is the most arrogant dog alive and today she received the gift of humility.

Thank you, Mr. Chocolate Lab, wherever you are.