Christmas. . . and beagles

Nemo came to live with us two summers ago.  We had always had dogs, but after finally losing two old friends, we decided to take a break.  As much as we missed Kiwi and Dingo, there was something nice about just locking the door and walking away when we wanted to visit children or travel.  There was always time to get another dog, when our lives were less hectic and the sadness had healed. We were thinking years, maybe a decade. 

Then we got the call.  We’d gotten one like it before.  Kiwi came to us via our oldest son, who found her, a little chihuahua mix running back and forth on the Interstate in a terrible thunderstorm.  When he stopped to see what was going on, she jumped in his car.  She was ours for fifteen years.

Thumbnail image for Beagle puppy with ornament.jpgI’m not sure what’s up with this son.  He finds dogs the way a dowser finds water.  This time he was talking to a friend who had stopped bush hogging to visit with him.  The two men heard a little whimper and followed the sound.  There was a starving bluetick beagle puppy, about six weeks old, hidden in the grass just in front of the blades.  Son, of course, took him home and nursed him back to health.  He did not, to his credit, ask us to take him, although he had two large rescue dogs of his own and couldn’t manage a third.  But in between attempts to find just the “right” home, son’s wife brought the puppy for an afternoon visit, and when it was time for her to leave, Nemo stayed.

If you read my blog, there will be lots of beagle stories.  I apologize in advance.  Having never had a beagle before, we had no idea what we were getting into.  If you have had the pleasure of a beagle in your life, you will understand.   Although this is a professional photo and someone else’s beagle, the pose is absolutely accurate.  Nemo eats everything.  We have found the most amazing things in Nemo’s mouth.  We have SEEN the most amazing things on X-rays our vet was forced to take when Nemo had a tummy ache.

This will be the second year we haven’t dared to erect a Christmas tree.   There is no gate or barrier that would keep Nemo from destroying it.  Instead he sits in front of our piano, whining to get to the Celtic creche on top of it.  Gifts piled in corners?  No chance.  All our decorations begin three feet from the floor; the gifts stay unwrapped until Christmas eve and Nemo’s safely in his crate.

And yet, Nemo embodies the Christmas spirit.  He was a gift from the universe, one of those little miracles that could have turned out so differently.  He sleeps in my study while I write, and cuddles on the sofa while we watch television.  He insists on two walks a day, LONG walks, so I never have to worry about exercise.  He makes friends with everybody, and I now have new friends who have stopped to talk to us on our walking path.  And when I’m gone, even just for an hour, he greets me, as if I hold all the keys to happiness in my hands.

Sometimes the things that cause us the most trouble give us the most joy.  Nemo fits in that category.  I’ll bet you’ve had little miracles dropped in your lap, too.  Aren’t we lucky? 



  1. Son on December 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    “Little miracle?” I think Nemo is more of a big honkin’ miracle! There’s another beagle barking not far from my house. Can you handle one more?

  2. Emilie Richards on December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Son, don’t forget your Christmas present depends on keeping Mama happy. One beagle in a lifetime, my new mantra!

  3. Debbie Haupt on December 17, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Emilie, what a great story. It reminds me of a story I heard about a young man with a family and how he always wished he had the yard of his neighbor, one that was always manicured and perfect while his was always strewn with bikes and toys etc. Until one day the man had the perfect lawn because his kids were all grown and gone and now he wished for his imperfect lawn once again.
    Nemo maybe imperfect but the love he obviously receives from you and your family is priceless. I too have been pet free for the past few years after loosing my gabby (tuxedo cat), but so far I just haven’t found any one that’s spoken to my heart the way she did. One day it will just hit me and I’ll be a pet owner again, until that day I just enjoy my grand-dogs and grand-cats that my daughter informs me will be my only grandchildren.

  4. Emilie Richards on December 17, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Sometimes our pets really do come to us like gifts. I know when the right kitty comes along, you’ll know and be ready. I do believe in love at first sight–and love is a good thing when that love object is trying to eat everything in the house that’s not nailed down.
    When I walk Nemo, most of the dogs we encounter on our path are rescue dogs, who’ve come to their owners in numerous ways. One is a beautiful Greyhound named Taj. I asked about him because I planned a greyhound story for Happiness Key, and Taj was indeed a racer. There are so many like him, and may they all find good homes the way Taj did.
    Happy holidays to you and yours!

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