The Break-in

Another day, another break-in.  Fortunately canine, not human thieves.  As Mike recounted in an earlier post, the beagles have conquered many a garbage can.

We're good dogs, really!

This time, it was a kitchen cupboard.  It’s where we used to keep packages of rice, pasta, sugar and other staples.  We even put a padlock on the cabinet, but since we get into that particular cupboard fairly often, we sometimes forget to lock it.

I forgot one too many times to put the lock back on and came home on one too many occasions to find rice or uncooked spaghetti scattered all over the floor and partially eaten. (Luckily the dogs either didn’t eat enough of it or were more or less okay from it.)  After that, we removed any food items that weren’t in a can or jar–containers we assumed the dogs couldn’t open.  For Pete’s sake, sometimes we have trouble opening those jars!

On a recent weekend I temporarily put some bags of dry lentils in that cupboard, put the lock on, albeit not all the way locked. When Mike and I returned we found black-eyed peas everywhere!  Later, evidence turned up that Scooter had indeed eaten a bunch of black-eyed peas.

The incident that really got us shaking our heads was the time I thought I smelled pizza on Scooter’s muzzle.  When I made my way into the kitchen, I found Harley licking up spaghetti sauce off the floor with just a small amount of sauce left in the jar.  We’re talking a 25 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce that Scooter (we know she’s the instigator) somehow cleverly got the lid off.  It was a brand new jar that had never been opened.  A friend surmised that since I had found the unopened jar in the living room the day before, the cap must have somehow loosened or the seal inside popped.

Still, how a creature lacking opposable thumbs managed to get a lid off a jar of spaghetti sauce that I struggle with is a mystery to me. With these two beagles you just never know!

Our kitchen - locked cabinets and all

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Dr. Spiderman

Or, How Many Lives Does a Beagle Have?

This vet doesn't make house calls.

When we picked up Harley and Scooter at the Humane Society, we filled out a form they give you to make sure you are competent, loving, responsible and so on.  It was kind of a long form, with some difficult questions. (Reminded one of us of the form that Arlo Guthrie had to fill out while sitting on the Group W bench.)

One of the questions on the form had to do with how much money you expected to spend in the first year on the pet you were hoping to adopt.  Fair question.  People should know that pets cost money.  Beyond food and regular vet visits, shots, toys and stuff, there are unexpected costs.  If you adopt a dog thinking you are only paying a few bucks a week for dry dog food, you may not be ready for all that living with a pet involves.

Not being wealthy people, and having just had an older beagle (the famous Gus) that was

Gus LOVED the snow!

sort of easy going–while on the other hand knowing that beagles are a handful–we answered somewhat liberally (we thought) with something like $1500 for the first year.

You can see where this is going.

Suzanne and I very quickly learned both the number and website for ASPCA poison control. (They are available 24 hours a day.)

(888) 426-4435

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/

We learned how to mix peroxide and water, and how much, and how to get the dogs to consume it (dogs will eat almost anything to get to peanut butter.)  We even got the opportunity to weigh about a pound of regurgitated grapes to see how many might be still in their system after applying the above remedy.

After several expensive-to-VERYexpensive trips to the emergency vet, Suzanne and I noticed that one of the vets at the emergency clinic (the beagles, of course, seemed to have a way of getting in more trouble on the weekend) looks a little like Tobey McGuire.  Well, if you can’t have a little gallows humor when you’re looking at not being able to afford that vacation you so badly need in order to take care of the health of a couple of the sweetest creatures on the planet, then you might as well just start crying right now, Mr. or Ms. beagle “owner.”

So, of course, I started teasing Suzanne and the beagles that the dogs were getting sick just so Suzanne (or they) could spend a bit more time with the handsome veterinarian. Now, when they get into trouble we’ll often threaten them with “a visit to Dr. Spiderman.”  It doesn’t seem to make any difference to the dogs, they really didn’t want to go to any vet, any time, but it has helped lightened up Suzanne and my outlook a bit.

And, no, ladies and gentlemen, we are not going to tell you which emergency veterinary hospital Tobey McGuire works for.  You’ll have to figure that out yourselves.  We hope we aren’t back there any time soon to get his autograph, either!

Losing the Battle of the Garbage Can

Not Harley and Scooter...but it might as well be.

Being dogs, Harley and Scooter will eat almost anything.  And like other dogs, they need to be “trained” to stay out of the garbage can. Well, as you’ll find out from the other posts on “Damn Beagles,” these two are much better at training than being trained.  Oh, and they’re smart and resourceful–and apparently determined.

Garbage Can Round X

Might as well get right to the point: a normal garbage can is not enough to keep Harley and Scooter away from the garbage.  That battle was lost quickly.  And while we may concede that someone could train these two “trailer park beagles” to stay out of a normal garbage can, we soon realized that this someone wasn’t Suzanne and me.

So, after putting the small garbage can up on the washer or dryer for a while, we went shopping for a beagle-proof can.  I don’t remember now whether we bought more than one, but we looked at more than a dozen, in several stores.  It took me a while, but I talked Suzanne into something that looked like it would fit right in at an outdoor park, or in a warehouse or industrial setting.  Yes, we got an industrial strength garbage can for our kitchen (or utility room, depending on where it proved successful, and somewhat on the aesthetics.)

Must have taken a day or so for Scooter to figure out how to push the spring loaded lid back.  Even less time was needed to get the lid off; a little longer to pull the plastic bags around the tightly placed lid; no time at all to knock the garbage can over…etc., etc.

I’ll digress slightly to say that, yes, we believe, with Harry Belafonte, that “the woman is smarter,” and blame Scooter for the more clever, determined misadventures that these two canines get into.  (This is based on experience, not prejudice, by the way.)

If you come to our house, you can still see where Mike strapped the garbage can to the wall so that Harley and Scooter couldn’t knock it over.  He’ll gladly, if somewhat abashedly, show you the velcro he bought to help keep the spring loaded lid from being pushed back.  Most obvious is where the small grocery bag hangs from the out-of-reach-of-beagles cupboard handle.

What you can’t see is the perfectly good, industrial-strength garbage can.  Mike finally conceded defeat and took that to the clean-up day with other useless household items.  He sincerely hopes that someone will rescue it for use in a warehouse somewhere where there are no beagles.