I was delighted when a beagle named Uno won Best of Show at the Westminster Dog Show. I have always been partial to beagles and over the years I owned two.
My kids named the first one Toby and when my wife filled out the paperwork for the AKC registration, she thought, Toby is too short. I will give the dog a middle name. She filled in Toby John, thinking that was a unique name for a beagle. The AKC wrote back and said there were already two beagles named Toby John so our dog would have to be Toby John III. That seemed like an even classier name to me.
The day we bought Toby, I took my two young children, Andy and Susi, along so they could pick one from the litter of six. They chose a puppy that appeared to have a map of Panama on his back. Our family lived in Panama at the time. And so Toby John III became part of our family and even learned how to bark in both English and Spanish.
Being a male, Toby was prone to roam whenever he caught the scent of a female (the proper term is bitch if I'm not mistaken) in heat. He often disappeared for 3 or 4 days while pursuing his romantic interest. Once Toby was gone for over a month and my wife offered a reward of $25 to any of the kids on the block who could find him. Within half an hour of posting the reward notice, a boy rang the doorbell and told us where to find Toby. He was hanging out in back of the kitchen of a nearby Army post along with a female in heat. The Army cooks fed the two dogs plenty of scraps. As a result, Toby was able to satisfy both his appetites.
Toby was fearless when pursuing a female in heat and often took on males twice his size. I swear, there were several mixed breed dogs inhabiting our neighborhood that had some beagle genes. As fearless as he was under those circumstances, he was a lowly coward when it came to thunder or any loud noise. Panama has some pretty big thunderstorms, and at the first sound of thunder, Toby would begin trembling and whining, and no amount of comforting would calm him down.
Toby was with us for 14 years and died tragically when a truck ran over him. We missed Toby terribly but a year or so later, I learned someone was selling beagle puppies. I hurried over to the seller's place and was told that all the puppies were the offspring of a male and female who were from the same litter. In other words, products of incest.
Consequently, the puppies were being sold for a low price. I picked out a female, knowing that females were not prone to roam and were very protective of their master's home. We named this beagle, Akee. We couldn't register Akee because of her incestuous conception but she became a very warm and loving pet.
We picked the name Akee because when my daughter was a toddler, her cousin had a gerbil named Mickey. Susi mispronounced Mickey and said Akee. So Akee it was. Akee was a great communicator and she used body language and sounds to convey what she wanted. For a dog cookie, she would stretch her front legs and give a short bark. When she wanted to go outside to check her pee mail, she would stand by the front door with her nose pressed against it. When she was ready to come back inside, she would bark twice. She was also a wonderful actress. When it was time for her bath she would become a sack of potatoes, nearly impossible to lift.
Akee loved sitting in my lazy boy, but only when I was gone. If I went outside for a minute or two, say to take out the garbage, she wouldn't attempt to jump up into my chair. But the moment I left and she heard the car start, she made a beeline for my chair. When she heard the car pull into the driveway, she would jump out of the chair. I could always tell she had been in my chair because the cushion would be warm.
Akee became very ill when she reached her 13th year. We had to put her down because she was suffering so much. We still miss her. When I first heard about Uno winning Best of Show, I thought, too bad Akee and Toby are not here so I could tell them that one of their cousins had become famous. Maybe there is a heaven for beagles, and if so then Akee and Toby already know that Uno is Numero Uno.