Saturday, July 28, 2007

Millie the dog

Our dog is not adorable. She looks sweet enough, but she is simply not one of those wonderful, trustworthy, loyal family hounds. Not in the least. She is snarky, she is greedy, and she snores like a truck. Yet somehow this annoying beagle has insinuated herself into our hearts. I can't explain why I love her, but I indisputably do.

It's not as if Millie tries to be endearing. Far from it. I can think of countless ways she unhinges me.

When no-one is paying attention, Millie sidles into the house and fossicks through the bedroom and bathroom bins. She sneaks away with tissues, and drags them out to the lawn for chewing. When our children were small, Millie would steal nappies and do unspeakable things to them. She once ate a whole packet of my birth control pills, the morning I was leaving on an overseas trip. One Easter, Millie found Laura's Easter eggs and ate the lot. This dog is a stomach on legs.

When we have guests over, and we escort them to the door as they leave, Millie quietly gets up on the table to eat the leftovers. She doesn't give a hoot if she gets caught. We can yell, smack her, lock her out, ignore her for hours or all of the above, but Millie doesn't mind. She is undeterred. She does the very same thing at her next opportunity.

Then Millie has some other quirky (read idiotic) habits. If we have visitors over and decide to lock Millie outside, she gets very upset. She whines and whimpers. She stations herself on the back deck, right outside the dining room, and periodically leaps up in the air so she can glimpse everyone inside. Our guests are treated to the sight of a beagle head, ears flying, appearing at the window at intervals.

I haven't ever owned another dog (or cat, or bird), but from talking to experienced pet-owners, it seems animals each have quite distinct personalities. Millie is no exception. She is gluttonous, obstinate, sneaky and grumpy. And yet, she also waits for me on the front deck when I go out - even when Fatty and the kids are home, and she could be lying inside in the warmth. She leans against me as I pat her soft caramel head. She waits, without sound, at the back door each morning, until we finally notice her sitting there. Sometimes it is an hour before we register her presence, yet Millie sits motionless, silent, as if she is The World's Best Dog.

The sweetest habit of Millie's is one I cannot explain. I have no idea what leads her to do this, but she does it every night.

Last thing at night I open the back door, and tell Millie to go outside. She obeys, albeit with a mournful sideways glance. Then she heads for her kennel on the back deck, and settles in as if she were sleeping there all night. But as soon as I walk down the hall to bed, Millie makes her way under the front of our house and sleeps on some old shelving directly under me. The lying down in the kennel is all a charade! Millie has never slept a single night there (I know this, in case you're wondering, because I have to endure Millie's nocturnal snoring, echoing up through the floorboards!). And yet each evening, as if trying to appease us, she pretends she is snuggling up in her doghouse for the night. And then instead of sleeping in her kennel, or on her dog bed under the house, Millie lies much less comfortably, for the sake of being nearer.

No matter how irritating, a dog always loves. And that, I suspect, is why we forgive them almost anything; why they worm their doggy way into our deepest affections.
Millie the weird, naughty beagle ...... we love you, nose to tail.


Alice said...

What a wonderful description of your idiosyncratic Millie. I'm sure I'd know her anywhere. I love the going to bed ritual - sounds like some small children I've heard about.

I think she's just 'playing hard to get' and withholding her affections so that you will love her more. She knows it's working.

I hope all five of you have a great weekend.

Val said...

I'm not a fan of dogs, but I DO have a soft spot for beagles. My sister had one years ago, and she (the dog) had a voracious appetite too. Must be a beagle thing. And she definitely had a personality.

It's touching that Millie wants to trick you into thinking she's sleeping in her doghouse. And she DOES look adorable to even me.

John Cowart said...

An endearing post! "Stomach on legs" is a great line.

We had a dog named Sheba who lived with us for 17 years; although she's been dead for about five years now, I still forget and save scraps for her when we go out to eat.

shellyC said...

One day I would love a weird, grumpy dog like Millie too!! She sounds fantastic - strange habits and all.

Remiman said...

Goodness, this is such a charming and humorous post, I'm at a loss as to where to start my comment.
If nothing else, this post has provided me with a new word from the Australian Lexicon: fossick!
Our pets, with all their idiosyncracies certainly do wag and wiggle their way into our hearts!
We have a Siamese cat with the atrocious habit of chewing shoelaces off at the eyelet if he finds you shoes lying about. We always warn visitors to put their shoes in the coat closet!
Just this week the little, loveable, treading-on-life's thin ice monster, fossicked through the cap I had lain over top of my running shoes to ...yup chew the lace off at the eyelet. Oh, and of course he eats the lace to boot. (Pun intended )

Alice said...

Jelly - I know I'm being a glutton with the comments (just like Millie) but I keep coming back to read it because it's such a loving, warm, yet slightly frustrated story. Thank you.

And may your mother's cows and their personalities live in peace

jellyhead said...

Aw, Alice, you made me grin like an idiot with your funny and kind comment! Thanks for coming by again and giving me a big smile this sunny Sunday morning!

meggie said...

I love this post about Millie. We had a Beagle cross, & she was a typical walking stomach! She would eat anything! Our Leo is naughty like Millie when it comes to sneaking leftovers! GOM had his toast out on our patio, & when he got up to get his cup of tea, Leo got up & golloped the lot!
You are right though, dogs do LOVE.

Anonymous said...

Now look at that face are you sure you are talking about the same pooch?

Princess Banter said...

Awww love truly is unconditional. But truly, your dog is soooo cute!!! Then again, we don't have to live with her ;) But still, sooo cute! Haha! I'm sure she's grown on you despite all the annoying stuff she does ;)

Puss-in-Boots said...

That face...butter wouldn't melt and cheese wouldn't choke her!

She sounds the most frustrating, loveable and wonderful's all personality, Jelly and she has so totally bonded with you, hasn't she?

I thought Labradors were stomachs on legs, but I think, from what you've said that Beagles would take that title hands down.

What a lovely whimsical post.

thisisme said...

Jelly, that was a really beautiful post. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face from first glance at the photo, and then all the way through. I'm having dog withdrawal really badly at the moment - cats just don't quite cut it, much as I love my boy.

Sandy said...

Loved reading about Millie and your post gave me a chuckle this morning. I've heard about big dogs reaching up to the table and stealing the Thanksgiving turkey, but never a short dog like a beagle eating the leftovers from the plates. hehehe.

I think Millie really wants to please you by appearing to use her kennel. Does she stay in her kennel as long as you are in sight? I think that's cute how she sleeps as close as she can get to you.

Kerri said...

She's such a pretty colour, and oh, what a face! Love the picture!
What a treat this story about Millie is. You write straight from the heart Jelly, which is why we all love to read your posts :)
We've had a couple of beagles who shared some of Millie's characteristics...especially the walking stomach :) They tend to be wanderers too.
Ross and I couldn't believe you've never owned another pet, considering your dear Jellyma is such an animal lover.
Absolutely beautiful post Jelly.
Beautiful post Jelly!

Kerri said...

Oops! Didn't mean to repeat myself. Sorry :)

Sharon said...

Beagles have that effect on people :)

She ate your birth control pills! Too funny.

Loyalty is a dog's most endearing quality, it's true.

TUFFENUF said...

I love dogs! Yours sounds very special; so loyal she just wants to sleep near you - even under the floorboards - that is so cute! My three dogs think that they are people. They sleep in the house and sit on the couch when they please!

fifi said...

sneaking under the house to be near you.....


how lovely!

Mimi said...

Millie is adorable and sounds a bit like my Emmy who once had her own photo album on my blog. Here is the link to the pizza recipe you were looking for. Happy eating.


freefalling said...

This is the most beautiful post!
I love everything about it.
Reminds me a lot of one of my dogs - Gypsy. Our other 2 dogs are like people but Gypsy is just such a dog. I've actually just come inside from cutting out fresh bird poo from the side of her neck fur - she likes to roll in it. Noice.
They sure do worm their way into your hearts though, don't they?