A Tale of Two Dogs: Monroe the Beagle and My Forever Friend, Oscar

January 3, 2011

Monroe the Beagle with Right Eye InjuryLast year at this time, I was surfing the Internet looking for just the right birthday present for Wrinkled Randy. Honestly, we have everything we need, and we’re not fans of clutter. Have you ever noticed how, the older you get, the more “stuff” owns you, instead of you owning the stuff? Less is more, said English poet Robert Browning, in his 1855 poem about High Renaissance painter Andrea del Sarto, although the phrase is more commonly associated with architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who adopted it as a precept for 20th century minimalist design. (Thinking: See how much clutter has accumulated in my brain over the years?) As a fan of minimalism and good, clean design, my eyes were attracted to a stainless steel bread box. Wrinkled Randy loves new stuff for the kitchen, and even more so if it’s stainless. But it was between $100 and $120. For a. . .bread box? This was a bit much. It seemed wasteful, and. . .decadent. There are starving people out there, for cryin’ out loud. I just couldn’t do it.

Monroe the Beagle Looking Miserable

Taking another tack, I Googled ““Beagle rescue”, as this is a dog breed which Randy particularly loves. I really didn’t have a plan. I found STAR, a Rowan County, Kentucky animal shelter. And there I saw Monroe, of whom I’ve thought many times this year. What actually happened to his right eye, we shall never know, but this is how Monroe was found by a dog warden with a fondness for Beagles. Monroe needed eye surgery. Which costs money. The bread box paled in comparison. I laid out a plan to Randy: We’d skip the yuppie bread box we didn’t need and donate the remaining $150 needed for Monroe’s eye surgery instead. He was delighted. This is one of the many perks that come with Randy: He has a kind heart.

We donated the money to Music Professor Sue Creasap (left) of STAR, with Opie, Adopted by Dr. Roma Prindle (center) and MSU junior Bradley Swartz of London, KY

Monroe responded well to the eye surgery. There was talk of sending him to Beagle911 Refuge and Rescue in State College, PA. Beagle911 describes itself as “a place where old, sick, injured or ‘out of time’ beagles might find a safe refuge and, with a bit of wonderful luck, a new forever home.” Many months went by, and I continued to wonder how Monroe was doing. Had his eyesight been saved? Had he found his forever family? As a situation in my own life evolved, by now I had a personal need to believe in the goodness of people, in their humanity. In kindness. In a conscience.

Oscar, Christmas 2010

This is Oscar, one of my forever friends, just before Christmas 2010. He came to me on a bitterly cold day, on February 3, 1997. He was about four months old, and a Beagle-Chow (a Chowgle?) mix. Because he’d been living in a barn, he smelled. A lot. While the owner of the pickup truck drove 35 miles to bring me Oscar, Oscar huddled on some straw in the bed of the truck, unprotected from the weather. He seemed lethargic. I’d seem lethargic, too, if I’d just been transported 35 miles in the open bed of a pickup truck in frigid temperatures. I took him to the vet for a bath and his first set of shots. However, the vet said that Oscar had pneumonia. I soon found myself at the pharmacy, spending $188 on antibiotics to save Oscar’s life. Later, the vet told me that Oscar probably would have died, had he not been started on antibiotics that day. After his bath, Oscar had a beautiful burnt orange-colored coat.

We were inseparable. He slept at my feet in bed every night. Oscar had his forever home. Or so I thought. A time came in 2004 when Wrinkled Randy and I were injured in an automobile accident, when an elderly man with Alzheimer’s struck our car. Randy’s back was broken. His mother died of cancer in Canada, just a day or two after the car wreck. He became stranded there after her funeral (different story), and I wanted to get him back to the States for medical care. I figured that since an American driver had injured him, American driver’s insurance could pay for medical care here. But there was another problem. Funds were short; I couldn’t afford to board Oscar. Over a short period of time, Oscar had become quite testy around small children. It wasn’t safe for either Oscar or small children to leave him unattended, save for a young man who came to feed Oscar every day.

Reluctantly, I considered other options: Put Oscar down or give him away to someone who did NOT have small children. My ex-husband sprang to mind. He lived above his woodworking shop and I knew he was lonely. I asked if he would care for Oscar. The reply was that he would like to have Oscar, only on a permanent basis.

Finally, I wrote to Beagle911, inquiring about Monroe. A second chance at life. Monroe, you have paid me back many times over. Don’t die, Oscar. Although he lives only 20 miles away, I know I’ll never see my beloved Oscar again.

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” (Book of Revelation, King James Bible). Legend has it that St. Francis on his deathbed thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him throughout his life, and his donkey wept.

Read our Thanksgiving post, in which we share the best dinner roll recipe we’ve ever found.

Photo credit: Morehead State University

Copyright © 2011 pajamadeen.com

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