Alvin, A Mostly-Beagle, and the Eleven Things I Learned from Him

Written by RitaC on June 7th, 2017

When I first met Alvin, he was sitting in the middle of a country road near my house. He wasn’t a puppy, nor was he full-grown. I pulled over, and he ran toward the woods. I sweet-talked him until he lost his fear. He came to me, tentatively. I led him to my car and boosted him into the front seat.
I sensed that Alvin might have come from the house that sat off the road down a long lane. None of us in the rural neighborhood knew anything about the people who lived there, except for what we could see: broken down cars and strewn trash. Much later my pet-sitter told me she had seen others dogs there that resembled Alvin. By that time I knew he had been ill-treated. I would never take him back.
Alvin disliked men in uniforms, children, and all but three adults besides our three family members. He loved us intensely, and we loved him the same way. He walked with me daily on what would become a bike path. Then, it was a train track with a gravel bed, unused for years. Sometimes, Alvin ran off-leash and I would hear his yodel-bark when he had treed something. Once I got between him and a groundhog with a tall, flimsy stalk to separate the two before the groundhog scurried away.
He barked at hot-air balloons and five-gallon water jugs I rolled into the house. When he looked out the windows, he growled and barked at anyone walking on our road up to a half- mile away in either direction.
Alvin was my walking buddy and my writing buddy, napping nearby as I wrote. He was a protector, a job he was born to do.
As dog stories go, he gave us many years of dog love before he succumbed to cancer. His paw prints are imprinted not only on a garden tile but in our hearts.
Here is what he taught me.

Eleven Things I Learned From Alvin, A Mostly-Beagle

1. Sometimes no matter who’s calling, you have to keep
on going the other way.
2. Proceed with an action only after you’ve truly decided
it’s okay with you.
3. Accept and celebrate diversity.
4. Protect those you love.
5. Walk everyday.
6. Live in the moment.
7. Love unconditionally.
8. Break the rules, sometimes.
9. Lie in the sun.
10. Have fun.
11. Take naps.


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