A writer’s dog: Daphne the very tiny beagle
I can’t believe how many of my writer friends have beagles. Recent examples featured on this blog include Blossom the New York City beagle and Buddy the gentleman beagle. Today’s Q&A is with Abbie, a Kansas City-based writer, reporter, blogger and keeper of a petite rescue beagle named Daphne.
Who is your dog and what is her story?
I adopted Daphne (originally named Paige – when she’s really bad, I call her Daphne Paige) from Basset and Beagle Rescue of the Heartland in October 2008. The woman who fostered Daphne before I adopted her was incredibly sad to see her go, but was happy she found her forever home.
I believe Daphne came to BBRH as a stray. She’s a tiny beagle – only 20 lbs. I’m not sure if she is a mutt, but she definitely has all the typical beagle personality traits (loves food, howls, digs, runs away – a lot — etc.) She fell incredibly ill with pneumonia as a pup but is in pretty awesome health now. Daphne is coming up on her sixth birthday soon, and is just as bouncy as the day I adopted her.
How did she get the name Daphne?
While growing up, I watched the heck out of the cartoon Tiny Toons. The duck, Daphne, was my favorite character. I swore I would name my first dog Daphne.
You’re the third writer I’ve interviewed recently who lives with a beagle and has ties to The Pitch newspaper. What do you think is up with that?
Perhaps writers adopt beagles because the breed is incredibly social (need a source? Go on a walk with your beag’.) Daphne is always introducing me to new people whether I like it or not. Also, while Beagles can get incredibly wound up and nutty, they know how to relax. Daphne keeps my anxious news writer tendencies in check.
Have you noticed any major personality or behavioral differences between Daphne and your parents’ new dog, Josie the cocker spaniel?
Both dogs are very energetic, but in different ways. Josie is more of a run-around-and-chew-on-toys-until-you-drop type of dog. Daphne loves going on long runs, followed by sun bathing and sleep.
Josie is a bit more protective of my parents than Daphne is of me, but I think that’s because Josie has a rougher history than Daph (she was found in a field, abandoned, and she had to fight for food, and ward off male dogs.) Also: the butt sniffing – Daphne is a pro. Josie, however, doesn’t enjoy this type of canine fun. Daphne has taught Josie how to howl, though. Whenever the two get together for a play date, Daphne starts howling and Josie joins. This goes on for about 2-5 minutes. The neighbors love ‘em.
What’s most awesome about Daphne?
Her energy and burrowing ability. She can burrow under anything. Currently, her favorite hiding place is under the bed. She finds solace under the mattress if she’s feeling sad, tired, happy, mischievous, or if there’s a thunderstorm in the area. Daphne’s also an awesome cuddle bug.
How much time do you get to spend with Daphne? Does she help you accomplish writerly things?
I get to spend a lot of time with Daphne because I work from home most of the time. Daphne has a lot of separation anxiety issues, so leaving involves a lot of treats, pets and blankets (she handles my absence much better if I cover her with a blanket before I leave the apartment.)
Daphne is anti-writing and reading, and is a head-scratch seeking diva. Anything that involves my hand sans her head is unacceptable.
What sage advice do you have for people considering adding a beagle to their family?
Make certain you walk your beagle a couple times a day. Beagles have an insane amount of energy. Also, never leave your food out with a beagle around. Daphne has consumed bagels in two gulps, snatched sandwiches and loves stealing fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you have a fenced yard, your beagle will one day try to escape. Daphne has tried to escape various fenced yards – and has successfully done so – many times. I’m lucky to still have her, honestly. Her microchip has helped me find her more than a few times. Beagles aren’t really able to walk or wander without a leash, either. Beagles will follow scents no matter what.
Also: that howl. It’s so loud. Daphne’s howl is akin to French siren. Keeping her howl in check was really difficult at first (I had to use a citronella spray collar for a while.) Daphne keeps her own howling in check these days, though. She knows when and where she can howl, and does so during appropriate hours of the day (not, say, at 1:30 a.m.) Not all beagles have loud howls, but it’s something to keep in mind.
You can read more of Abbie’s writing over at her blog Ginchy!