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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: The Escape Artist
By Esther Phillips


I knocked on the door of the small brick house. I received a call a few minutes earlier from a man who told me that he had found my dog. He gave me directions to his house. His wife answered the door and invited me into her home. She beckoned me to have a seat. She said her husband was bathing my Beagle in the bathtub because she was very muddy. I couldn’t believe someone would bathe another person’s dog and especially in their own bathtub. After a few minutes of visiting with her, her husband came out with my clean dog.

I said, “I’m so sorry that my dog has caused you this inconvenience.”

He answered, “Oh, it is no trouble. I have two dogs and I just did what I hope someone else would do for my dogs.”

This was not the first time my escape artist struck. We had a lot of rain over several days so Mabel started digging under the fence. She would get a hole big enough for her to squeeze under and off she would go.

Every time I got her back home, I inspected the fence line to see where she got out this time. Then I filled in the holes with the loose mud and topped it with 12” x 12” concrete stepping stones.

Inevitably I got another call from the Vet that someone else had found her. This scenario happened no less than eight times over a two week period. It was exhausting, embarrassing, and making me angry.

The veterinarian told me that Beagles are hunters, and they have a very strong sense of smell so they will go back again and again to a place that has allowed them to go hunting.

I did some research to see if I could find ways to keep her at home. I found that Beagles were imported to America in the late 1800’s by wealthy sportsmen. They were trained to track foxes and were bred for rabbit hunting. They are energetic, very alert, active, and have a keen sense of smell.

It sounded to me like she couldn’t help herself so I hired a young man to build a gate to keep her out of the area where she kept digging out. Now she goes out there and barks at the gate!

This isn’t the first beagle I have had. My first beagle also was an escape artist. She was lost only a couple of times, however. She stayed around more because I still had small children at home and they kept her pretty busy.

So, you may say “Is she nuts?” “Why does she keep getting beagles when they keep running off?”

Well, I’ll tell you. One look into those soft brown eyes just about melts your heart. That along with their floppy ears makes them almost irresistible. They make a great family pet if you can keep them at home.

Finally, they become one of your best friends. They don’t require much from you other than your companionship.

I think George Eliot said it best, “We long for an affection ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.”

Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times.” (NIV) That is what our little escape artist named Mabel does for her family.

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This article has been read 420 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carol Sprock05/22/08
I like your writing style of drawing word pictures in snappy paragraphs. Very minor point of parallel grammatical structure: exhausting, embarrassing, and annoying (in place of "making me angry"). I also failed to see how neighbor's actions with the bath served a purpose in your beagle being an escape artist, though I thoroughly enjoyed that interchange and the unusual reaction of neighbor--perhaps belongs to a separate story?
Judy Bowers05/23/08
How lucky for Mabel to get bathed when she escapes. Perhaps those soft brown eyes serve her well in lots of situations. Good job!
Patty Wysong05/24/08
A charming story. We had a beagle but she was gone more than she was home. This brought back fun memories of her, thanks.
Laury Hubrich 05/24/08
This dog must be loved. Its way too high maintenance for me. Good job writing this piece:)
Marilyn Schnepp 05/27/08
Loved this story! Perhaps it is because I'm prejudice to Beagles also, and this did remind me of my little one's beautiful brown eyes and floppy ears. You did a great job of wordsmithing, and you're very lucky she didn't get lost on her many ramblings! Nice job!
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Congratulations on taking 15th place in your level with this piece, Esther!