A few years ago our beloved blue-point Siamese, Isis, died. To say hearts were broken would be an understatement. Several months later the desire to share our lives with a pet overcame our misery and we went in search of our new companion, a dog. The decision to switch species was based entirely on the fact that I am terribly allergic to cats and was enjoying being medication free. But I digress.
With a “humane society friendly” extended family we had one choice – adopt. Despite several false starts we found our new best friend, Dodger, a beagle basset mix. The owner was ill and wanted to place him before her condition deteriorated further and very much liked the fact that he would be going to a family with children who would undoubtedly fawn over him. So a well-trained Dodger came home with us.
Dodger was in our house twenty-four hours when he stole an unopened raisin bread off the kitchen counter and devoured it in its entirety. To fully appreciate the absurdity of this it is important to note that he has stubby basset legs and the raisin bread was pushed back on the counter. But this hound’s determination to find everything he could possibly eat propelled him off the ground and far enough onto the counter to claim his prize. We changed his name to the Artful Dodger and vowed to keep things as far back on the counters as possible.
In the few years we’ve had the Artful Dodger we’ve pretty much destroyed any and all good behaviors he once had. He’s well loved, ridiculously well fed and probably the happiest member of our family. He’s had many “bad thief” episodes, though I’m sure that nothing he’s stolen has made its way back to Fagan. For example, when he got into my older daughter’s halloween candy one year I know he kept it all for himself because we were seeing wrappers, and picking them up with new incarnations of their former contents, for days.
But it’s the Artful Dodger’s new talent that has prompted this writing. His ability to catch the wildest toss has become legend. He can actually leap several feet in the air, despite his stubby basset legs. He can catch while in any position and has been known to launch toward a morsel only to fall backward in his nearly 100% successful attempts to obtain the object of his desire. So we fear he may be leaving us in April, having become such an amazing catcher that we expect a letter any day informing us he’s been drafted by a Red Sox minor league farm team.