Left: A trio of puggles
The frantic barking some 30 seconds after I let my dogs outside alerted me to the fact that I needed to check up on the pictured group of puggles. Now, normally I might be irritated that I no sooner returned to my dissertation when these clowns started acting up, but given the fact that temperatures in Northwest Ohio approached 65 degrees, I decided to spend some time wandering in the backyard with the canine crew.
Armed with camera and water bottle, I entered the one-third acre of urban wilderness known locally as my backyard. In the foreground is Sophia, a 3-year-old puggle we are fostering, while in the upper left is Eddie Haskell, followed by Chauncey in the lower right. Both of these male puggles we adopted through Planned Pethood, a local pet rescue group.
The object of their collective frustration was a squirrel they chased up my crabapple tree. Given the fact that the tree is only about 20 feet tall at its peak, this meant that the treed squirrel could chatter just beyond leaping range at the puggles without consequences.
So tantalizingly close, yet so frustratingly distant
Puggles inherit from their beagle parents a hound's sense of smell and a love of tracking and stalking game. Unfortunately, when you are in the 20 to 25 pound range, "prey" is pretty much limited to squirrels and field mice, but puggles have their fun.
Tiring of taunting the dogs, and perhaps seeing me as an equalizer in the game, the squirrel leaped from atop the crabapple tree and bounded for a much taller pine tree, catching the puggle brigade off guard long enough to achieve a clean getaway. The puggles gave chase and bayed up the tree (OK, it was more like "whined," but work with me here), but it was clear that their target bested them.
Yet the puggles persevere nonetheless, serving as a metaphor for an inspirational tale of indefatigability in the face of adversity and overwhelming odds that - in reality - probably belongs on a Hallmark card or some sappy broadcast equivalent.
I'll skip the effort of trying to provide a moral to this puggle story: after all, these are just dogs. Chasing squirrels is what they do.