Lessons from a Beagle

by Doranna

I find that whatever I’m doing with my animals, I usually run into lessons that apply to writing.  Or to living.  All our critters have something to teach us–maybe some more than others.

ConneryBeagle: Me!  This must be about ME!

Oh, it must be.  And not just randomly, but because we are in celebration mode!



When I decided to get a Beagle, I did my research, connected with a breeder, and met the prospective sire/dam.  And then I waited two years for the litter, because sometimes that’s the way it goes.  I could have had a couple of other pups during that time, but…  I waited for what I wanted.  And got, as it turns out, just exactly that!

Connery has taught me about other kinds of patience along the way, of course.  Like just how long he’ll wait poised to leap while I’m working, because it’s time to throw his toy.

ConneryBeagle:  Throw it, mymom.

ConneryBeagle:  Throw it, mymom.

ConneryBeagle:  Throw it, mymom.


Well, maybe not infinite patience.

Peering Little ConneryTHE LESSON OF NOT FAIR.

Connery’s final puppy vaccinations triggered life-threatening immune issues that took us years to define.  In spite of his performance titles, he had barely reached the age of three before his trusted vet and I opened quality of life discussions.

But…this dog can be in utter misery one day, and bounce back to wagging tail the next.  He can spend a day in doggy ICU, and happily defy gravity around an agility field days later.  In fact, he persistently demands it.  So…not fair, but not YET.

Also not fair: An inexplicable series of attacks by giant breed dogs.  After that, Connery was so emotionally (never mind physically) damaged that a nationally prominent trainer told me he’d never recover.

Trainer:  Get another dog.

Me:  Maybe not.

It took 18 months of daily behavioral and physical work before we were a team again…but we were a team again.

Sigh.  After that, new health complications combined with new vet FAIL led to a year-plus of misery during which I did wonder if the time had come.  But finally, after fund-raising and the support of many friends, a specialist put him on a miracle inhaler that turned everything around.  Except…

It wasn’t supposed to go systemic but, you know, it DID, and left him stealth-vulnerable to injury.  Which he was.  Repeatedly.  Just by playing at home.

So we know all about Not Fair.

We also know not to let spend a lot of time sputtering over it.  It is, and it hurts, and one must honor that…but focus forward.

ConneryBeagle: Because it is like TRACKING!  Backwards is NOT GOOD!


I think what Connery has taught me more than anything else is to go with my gut feeling even when it makes no sense to the experts.  Luckily for us, Connery’s early vet was a miracle worker, and we’ve now settled in with some very fine care after double-relocation).

But along the way, vets have called me neurotic, obstructed solutions with ignorance, denied the ill-effects of their treatments because “that never happens,” allowed him to suffer rather than trying an atypical clinical solution, and otherwise failed us because Connery doesn’t fit into a neat little box of treatment.

This is a big one: The only times I’ve been frustrated with myself is when I haven’t stuck to my gut feeling in the face of the obstructive experts .  A very strong lesson indeed!

ConneryBeagle: Always listen to your gut.  Especially when it is telling you to EAT THINGS.


Because.  It just does.

First MACH

The First MACH


I mean, be honest.  By now someone is thinking, “How much time and money and grief are we talking?”  Because it has surely been a lot, and I’m not so naive as to think it’s over.  I joke that Connery is the reason I have a 13yo car, except it’s not a joke.

So yes, the costs are high.  The sorrows are reliable.  And yep, he’s only a dog, and not a very big one at that.

But.  His heart is bigger than this world.  And when something is important, we must persist.

Happy FaceJOY

Really.  This one goes without saying.  I hope.

So why the celebration?  It’s not just because Connery is about to turn ten when he wasn’t expected to make it past his early years.

It’s because in recent days, he came charging back from yet another Weird Thing to bay his way to his third Master Agility Championship (MACH3) and we are REALLY HAPPY!


He’s the first breed champion Beagle (besides the inestimable Squiggles) to earn a MACH3 and–aside from the inestimable Squiggles–has the most performance titles overall of any breed champion Beagle.



Like I said…amazing heart, this dog.

The best part is, he still gets to run.  His sturdy little self has always been both the shortest and the heaviest dog in his class, and now he’ll run at a reduced jump height–and continue to share with us all his enthusiastic Song of Self!

** Breed champion, Master Agility Champion x3, Versatile Companion Dog 1 (including Novice Obedience), Tracking Dog, Rally Excellent, Masters Agility Century, Masters Jumpers Gold, Excellent FAST, and Excellent Agility & Jumpers in NADAC; Canine Good Citizen.


Coming off a good legal A-Frame contact

Coming off a good legal A-Frame contact

The Big BAWH!

The Big Moving BAWH!

During the victory lap.  I think he'll enjoy that lower jump height, don't you?

During the victory lap. I think he’ll enjoy that lower jump height, don’t you?

Here it all is in Moving Pitchers!  And ooh, this is a tricksy, tricksy course–the dog is presented with multiple enticing choices every step of the way.  When I walked this one, I said, “Well, we can still try for the MACH tomorrow…”  But he did it!


BAWH!  That’s all about life, don’t you think?

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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8 Responses to Lessons from a Beagle

  1. Ruth says:

    You are both totally BAWHsome!

    • Doranna says:

      Thank you! Connery sends you a remembrance wag!

  2. Marilyn says:

    Connery is amazing. And so, too, is his Mom, who never gave up, and made it possible for Connery to be himself, to be the best Beagle it was possible for him to be. And then some!

    • Doranna says:

      That’s a wonderful thing to say–thank you!

  3. Sue Farrell says:

    I never tire of Connery stories. What cute pictures of him when he was young. You are so BAWHSOME Connery!

  4. naleta says:

    LOOK at Connery having fun! Good for both of you.

    • Doranna says:

      I like his expression when he sits on the table for the MACH run. Can’t tell on the video, but I did a big laugh for that. Not a usual expression for him, but indicative of his fun level.

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