The yard was full of beagles of varying age; the senior-most was nine months old. The youngest had seen but forty days. He hadn’t a name yet, and, of course, in that pack of over twenty, he was the frailest.
But he didn’t lack the pluck of the older ones. There were only two dogs of another breed — the Siberian husky — and they were too fast for the beagles, and stronger, and what was happening when we went in the place was that the beagles were chasing a husky round and round the yard, to wrench from his mouth a piece of doggy-rope. With the neck stiff, the head high, the eyes ever straight ahead, he was at the pack leader and the chief perpetrator of the din. The beagles had no chance; the hardy husky was simply unbeatable.
We’d gone there for the forty-day-old beagle. He had competition from a pretty one, two weeks older. She was full of mischief, whereas our chosen one was aloof, with a four-inch-long PVC pipe between his teeth that he wouldn’t give up. During a brief period when the dog-dormitory was open, the female toppled a cardboard box full of tonic and stuff from a table which she jumped on to, pulled something there, dislodged something here, and, coming out, answered our call and came over and chewed on our fingers.
But the tiny male, detached and tottering on his own little planet, had already a firm purchase on our heart.
The owner assured he was a pure breed; his vaccination had been done on time; he’d been dewormed; his papers would come in three months from the Kennel Club of India; his coat was dull because of all the dust in the yard in which he was tearing around — one dry-wash and he would start to shine. We accepted the promises applying to each an overload of doubt but bought the chap anyway, paying the quoted-price-final-price. Not that I didn’t try to bargain; when I did, he pointed to an older beagle: “You won’t believe me, sir. I paid six and a half lakhs for him. He is Serbian.”
So we have this British breed of dog at home now. He has been two days with us and the house, and we are smelling of him and his pee and his poo. The breeder hasn’t yet sent the details of the vaccine he’s given or the date when he did the deworming. I just messaged him my third reminder now.
But we’re smiling all day. We’re so sure our lives are changed.