Sep 13, 2009

The Curious Case of the Fake Beagle

About a month ago I visited Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough during my lunch hour. As I was browsing their enormous gift area, I came across this extremely life-like stuffed Beagle. I had to have it. I had visions of putting this handsomely plush Beagle in one of our spare bedrooms as decorations. (OK. You got me. The spare bedroom really isn't a spare bedroom, but rather belongs to our adorable spoiled Beagle named Minnie. So yes...I bought a dog for my dog's bedroom.)

But the intention of using the stuffed Beagle purely for decorative purposes backfired on me, but in a surprisingly good way. Let me explain:

I came home that day and placed the stuffed animal on the kitchen table to show Spencer when he got home from work that evening. But at the end of the day, I was taking Minnie outside in the back yard to do her business, she happened to get a glimpse of the tail of the stuffed animal and got all curious. "Who's that?" I asked Minnie in my annoyingly sing-song high pitched voice. I took the Beagle off the kitchen table and placed it on the floor for her to inspect. She inspected it all right! She immediately went around to the backside of the fake dog and started sniffing which in her world meant, "Hello, I'm Minnie. Who the heck are you and why are you in my house?"

Minnie simply would not leave the dog alone. Eventually I realized that she was too bothered by the stuffed animal to put it in her room as decoration. Defeated, I moved the stuffed animal down stairs just to get it out of her line of sight and reflected on the fact that I just wasted $30 on a very life-like stuffed animal.

But here's the surprise. We found an alternate use for the stuffed toy. Whenever we want to get Minnie to do something that she doesn't want to do, like go outside to pee in the backyard when it's raining, we go downstairs and reintroduce Minnie to the fake Beagle. We tuck him under our arm and call out to Minnie. She spies the dog and instantly becomes alert and attentive to whatever is going on with the dog that doesn't presently involve her.

Some mornings when we get up, Minnie is lazing about in her doggy bed and doesn't want to go outside with Spencer. I don't know if certain days she's just moody and doesn't want to get out of bed which I can totally relate to, but her daily routine is to go stretch her legs in the backyard while Spencer scatters microwave popcorn for the birds each morning. However, now all he has to do is go get the stuffed Beagle and call out, "Minnie...time to feed the birdies" and she'll jump out of her bed and come running. It really is the cutest thing.

So strangely I bought this really life-like stuffed animal as decoration for my dog's bedroom and it's turned into a therapy dog for my dog. I'm thinking of buying the stuffed basset hound on my next trip to the bookstore. Right now it's looking to be the only way to become a pack leader without actually owning another dog.

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