The Real Beagles of West Point–Sex Education and the Poor Decision Not to Adopt a Rock

pound hounds2A few months ago, I went somewhere I should never be allowed to go—the local animal shelter. I blame social media, as I do for so many other poor decisions in my life. Scrolling through the news feed, there she was; sweet little floppy eared Bernadette with that Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial look.

I decided I would just browse; no promises, no commitments (I also had my eye on a cute little miniature mutt from the city named Donald Dotterson and planned to visit him next). I went alone to avoid the perpetual kid gimme syndrome.

Next thing I know, I’m on the floor of the visiting room not only filling out the paperwork for Bernadette, but also playing with her brother Raj. The rest is all a blur. I vaguely recall asking if it would be a problem that I have an unfenced yard. Apparently not since I assured them I would be perfectly happy walking TWO wild beagle puppies in freezing temperatures several times a day.

Once approved, I was adoptive pet mother in overload mode. Pet gates, matching beds, toys, treats and a laundry room redesign plan that would be fashionable, yet functional for my new babies. I had a vision. The puppies running through a field of wildflowers, playfully chasing my children until I drowned in a bucket of cuteness. Delightful paw prints and kitschy dog quotes stenciled on the wall. Loyal, constant companions who can’t talk and only require dry food from a bag.

This was the dream relationship I had been waiting for since my divorce–or so I thought. I should have stayed with Beary Brown, pictured above. He has now been removed from the sofa and placed in the stuffed bear witness protection program to save his life. The Maya had her own plan. She wanted a purse dog, but was willing to work with the newest members of our family if they would just cooperate. Have you ever tried to put an elf costume on a beagle? A cozy sweater? Yeah. I hadn’t either. pound hounds

Well, they shredded the beds, the puppy training pads and all of the toys. Next on the canine destruction list was the drywall and part of the floor. Dryer vent? Chew toy status. Electrical cords? Severed. As I stared at giant holes in the wall, my cutesy references to my Motown Mutts (R&B) had turned into pleas for advice and interventions.

Next came spay and neuter day. Thanks to Raj and his behavior right before we left, I had to answer lots of questions from an 8 and 9-year-old about exactly what he was trying to do. I went with the vague, “He thinks he is trying to make puppies” and thought I was golden.

We get in the car and The Maya says, “So, let me get this straight. A dog puts his paws up on another dog’s behind and that is how they make puppies?” Sound the Mommy alarm! I’m about to have a major parenting fail. I explained nervously that there is a little more to it, but we are in a rush. My son Nicholas just shook his head saying, “The circle of life may have scarred me for life.” Me too son—me too.

When we returned to the vet to have the sutures removed, I decided to take them separately since again, I was solo that day. They opted to just handle Raj right there in the waiting room after he let all his business hang out and peed on everything. Good times. The vet referred to their behavior as beagle drama. I’m sure one assistant rolled her eyes and said, “Here they come again” under her breath. Welcome to my world sister!

Note to self—you are not the dog whisperer. You killed a cactus for goodness sake! It’s a miracle you have managed to keep two children functioning. Where is the pet rock, circa 1975, hmm? For those who are Googleaholics like me, I looked it up. Wow. They are still available and come with your own certificate of authenticity. The pound hounds come with a different guarantee —that you will be the one certifiable by the time they mature.

All I had to do was  adopt a rock-$19.95 and you’re done. Seriously, has there ever been a more brilliant marketing campaign? I will add that to the list of things I wish I had thought of in order to stop living below my full financial potential. I bet they will not be paying on their student loans until they are 65.

Oh well, too late now. The pound hounds are family–the kind that come to the cookout every year, show up empty-handed, borrow some foil and then leave with 4 take home plates. Beagle Mama Drama—the struggle is real.

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