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Letters from America
Throw Me a Bone — What in the World Is a Beaglemation?
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
A beagle-dalmatian

I am the owner of an ornery beagle-dalmatian. “Hank,” was a wee six-week-old when he showed up in my kitchen about seven years ago. Back then, he was unusually small, so much so that he resembled a hamster. In fact, for a year, I was wondering if he truly was a dog. But I learned rather quickly that the distinct, ear-piercing, teeth-chattering, nerve-fraying bark was no doubt that of a canine. No gerbils can raise blood pressure like that. Feisty and ill-tempered, the puppy raged and terrorized me at every opportunity. But we were friends. I would take him on walks, give him bacon treats, rub his ever-growing girth, and play tug-of-war with a thick rope with which I occasionally envisioned strangling him to death.

As he has grown older, he has become more than just a member of the family, he truly believes this is his residence, and we are mere guests. Every room in the house, at least once, has served as his loo; he barks just to hear himself bark, sleeps atop furniture, underneath it, and even partially inside it, like the poor couch he somehow burrowed into with his razor-sharp talons. He’s an old man now with the bladder of an ant and regularly gets me up in the middle of the night to go out.

On walks, he is not the typical companion. He pulls and tugs on the leash, using his teeth and as if trying to walk me, wrenching with such ferocity I fear irreparable rotator cuff damage. He prefers to use the street as opposed to a yard to do his business and thinks nothing of trampling every flower bed in his path. He reminds me of a WWII Sherman tank, crashing through and over anything and everything unfortunate enough to get in his way.

He growls at other dogs, nips at little children, and takes off at any glimmer of freedom. He’s been run over by at least one car and has a metal leg, and I wonder sometimes if he doesn’t suffer some kind of cataract blindness regularly colliding with objects, such as the wall, and repeatedly falling down the stairs.

One Christmas, he even ate Santa’s cookies. If he was green he would be the grinch’s pet if not the grinch himself. One day we decided to rent an Airbnb condo at Lake Keowee, South Carolina. It was my daughter, myself, my girlfriend and her two boys, and our ornery beagle-dalmatian, Hank. Upon arriving at the condo, Hank raced into the living, squatted on the fluffy rug, and soiled it. He has zero inhibitions and freely goes when and where he chooses, whether it is the passenger seat of the car, on the bed (while we are there sleeping…twice), or in a stranger’s living room, no place is off-limits.

Hank does not get yelled at, nor does he get spanked. He is spoiled. He is overindulged. And if I was to pick a human in history who was reincarnated as Hank, it would be Henry VIII. One day we were in Greenville, South Carolina, wandering along Main Street. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, warm, the sun was shining, and the six of us were having a wonderful time (Number 6 being Hank). At some point during the walk, as Hank tugged furiously, choking himself with the collar and Tiara, my kind-hearted and thoughtful girlfriend, suggested we get him a harness. “It is more humane,” she said.

So, we stopped at a pet store and purchased a harness. In the process of attempting to put the thing onto him, we experienced a zombie apocalypse. Hank does not care for having his paws touched in any capacity whatsoever. I gently attempted to lift his paw and put it through the harness loop when this ornery beagle-dalmatian went ballistic! Like a great white shark with a seal, was Hank on my hand. He grabbed ahold of it with his needle-sharp fangs and attempted to swallow the thing whole. He chomped, munched, ripped, and tore at it. Blood, red as a candy apple, dripped down my hand, and just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, he released it and latched onto the other one.

Hank is not a small dog. He is strong and has jaws like a crocodile, and the pain was electric as he went to town on my other hand. “Hank! What are you doing?! We are doing this for you!” I shrieked, “What part of this aren’t you understanding!” I had to pry my damaged hand out of his vice grip. All that was missing was this ornery beagle-dalmatian to fall into a death roll. There on the crowded sidewalk, horrifying the crowd that had already gathered even more. As it turned out, in the end, Hank seemed to enjoy the harness much more than the choker collar. And for a thank you, as we drove back to Charlotte, Hank reached over the middle console of the seat and ate my peanut butter cracker. My daughter, Hank’s best friend, just giggled and squeezed a fat roll.

After seven years, I finally went onto the internet and looked up a Beagle-Dalmatian and learned that it is an actual crossbreed of a dog called a Beaglemation. A dog website of unknown credibility lists them as “very active.” That is probably the greatest understatement of all-time. It also says they are “playful and affection members of the family…” I had to double-check the website to make sure it wasn’t a parakeet website. The website then states that they “require a yard.” Wrong! They require a county! And they say that “small animals might be irresistible to them,” why don’t we stop right there and toss in human hands and peanut butter crackers as well. I learned that in the 1800s, there was such a thing as “The Beagle Club” in England. No longer do I ponder how the Red Coats lost the revolutionary war. Dalmatian’s came from the Mediterranean and are visible in artwork dating back to the 16th century. They are dogs that have an innate horse fetish, or so it has been rumored. I imagine a human hand fetish too, but that never made it to the canvas.

All jokes aside, Hank is a wonderful pet and sidekick. He is energetic, entertaining, cuddly (once or twice a year), and our home wouldn’t be the same without him. We love our Hank!



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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