Right from the beginning, my dream of playing fetch with my dog evaporated. When one of us would throw a ball or toy, Rocky would chase after it. The only problem was, he wouldn't bring it back. Therefore, the game of fetch became a game of catch-me-if-you-can."
A couple of years ago, he finally started bringing the ball back, but now he is 10 years old, and age is catching up with him. He will play fetch until he gets tired. Then, he waits until you have already thrown the ball and turned around to see why he did not chase after it. "You go get it if you want it, I'm done" is clearly written on his face.
Beagles are very stubborn, and Rocky has his very own personality. Even with his thick fur coat, Rocky hates the outdoors, especially in winter. All we have to do is say the word "outside" and he automatically starts shaking and shivering like it's 14 below. He will then either make his way behind the couch, where he thinks he is invisible (he hasn't caught on that the mirror behind the couch reveals his hiding place), or he'll refuse to make eye contact with us because he believes in the "if I can't see you then you can't see me" philosophy.
Once he has been "booted" outside, Rocky has one final move. He continuously paws at the sliding glass door so that the noise bangs throughout the whole house. It is extremely embarrassing for us to explain to visitors that we are not having an earthquake, it's just the dog.
Rocky has learned only one trick in his whole life, and that is to beg. My grandpa taught him that one. Now whenever my family and I sit down to eat a meal, Rocky can be found sitting up on his two hind legs and begging with those pleading eyes for us to just throw a crumb down (like we don't feed him enough already!). He has very poor manners when it comes to eating, and it has gotten to the point where we have to warn people: "Watch your food or the dog will get it." Rocky has been known to jump on top of the kitchen counter in order to get a taste of unguarded chicken.
When we first got Rocky, he was an outside dog. However, one Fourth of July he was terrified of the fireworks, so myparents let him sleep in their room, and he has been an inside dog ever since. First he got a small dog bed, just his size. Then a medium one, and now he has a large dog bed that is more than twice his size. Now he wants our beds. He knows which days he can work his way up into my parents' bed. On the weekends when the alarm clock doesn't sound, Rocky jumps on their bed and is allowed to sleep at the foot of the bed. That is, until he has inched and stretched his way up so he is smack in the middle and my parents are on the edges of the bed.
When my parents wake up, Rocky comes into my room, because I am usually the last one out of bed. At first I didn't want him in my bed, so I shut my door, but he pawed at my door so much that it was easier just to let him in. Once in my room, he has to lay right up against me and stretch out so that he has three-fourths of the bed and I have about one-fourth or less.
His newest thing is to get under the covers. When he jumps on my bed, he now finds it necessary to paw and attack my head and covers until I lift them up so that he can go under. Unfortunately, sometimes he can't breathe when he's under the covers for so long, so when I have finally settled back to sleep, up comes Rocky from the bottom of the bed, huffing, puffing, snorting and getting tangled up in all of the covers trying to find his way out. Once he's free, he decides that he's had enough sleep and goes to see what's cooking in the kitchen for breakfast.
I believe I was naive in thinking I could train a beagle. It seems to me that Rocky has my parents, brother and me very well-trained. I'm sure other
beagle owners understand and agree that beagles are smarter than you think they are.
Courtney Edwards is a senior at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo. Columns by area teens appear in this space on Mondays.