Saturday, May 14, 2011
We got Starsky in August of 2003. We had just closed on the purchase of our first home. Adam claims that we had an agreement to wait six months before getting a dog. He was not at all amused when I had him driving up Sedro Woolley to look at a litter of beagle puppies just two weeks after closing. We fought about it the whole way, even having to pull over so I could throw a massive tantrum. I sobbed and wailed, "I've always wanted a dog and couldn't have one when I was little! You can't tell me that I can't have a dog!" Adam didn't stand a chance. The puppies we went to look at were six weeks old and would be ready to go in a few weeks. However, we were looking for a black male pup and these pups were all light colored females. Wasn't it convenient that there were two little 9 week old male pups, both black- running around, cute as can be? Before Adam knew it, he was driving 20 minutes to the nearest ATM to get our $300. We came home with Starsky that very night.
He was a great dog from the beginning- so much personality. We tried to train Starsky, and he had the basics covered. He'd sit on command or lay down. But, ask him to shake or roll over- he'd look at you like, "you're kidding, right?" Beagles are funny dogs. They will love you unconditionally, but don't necessarily want to impress you. Starsky made his presence known at all times. He was pretty needy, which is why nine months after getting him, we came home with Max. Starsky and Max could not have been more different, yet they complimented each other perfectly. There was no question that Starsky was the alpha dog, but he let Max get his way almost all of the time. He loved the companionship so much that it was worth being pushed off the dog bed. He'd just let Max get comfortable, and squeeze in next to him. They were partners in crime, too. Starsky had the agility to grab food off of the counters that Max just does not have. I'm not sure how Max is handling the loss of his buddy. We can't tell if he is moping or just being himself. We are giving him lots of love and hope that he is ok.
Starsky was my first dog and I learned a lot about the less glamorous aspects of dog ownership. I now know more about canine anal glands than I ever would have imagined. Starsky had a chronic smell that led me to google, "my dog's butt stinks." That search informed me that Starsky had an anal gland issue which made him smell funky. So, after a few visits to the vet for relief at $20 a pop, Adam went on YouTube and learned how to take care of it himself. If that's not love, what is? We even had a family song for the event, "Defunk the butt, gotta defunk the butt." Not much funnier than hearing a three year old sing that along with his dad. This is a totally inappropriate paragraph for our dog's eulogy, but I felt we all could use a little comic relief.
This has been a hard week, but as Adam said, Starsky died happy. He loved nothing more than making an escape and running like hell. I can't count how many escapes he made in the eight years we had him. He loved to be chased. When we'd take him to the dog park, he always got a chase going. Somehow, he'd get 5 to 10 dogs to chase him all in a line. He'd be at the front, letting out his beagle howl, tail wagging at full speed. He was a punk, and he fit into this family perfectly. He loved this family and wanted nothing more than to be loved in return. He was sweet to our kids, even though he lost out on some attention when they came along. I hope that where ever he is now, he's got wide open spaces to run and also a nice, sunny space in a garden to nap, preferably a garden full of fresh, stinky compost. Goodbye, Starsky. We'll love you always.