beagle

This post has been sitting heavy over the past weeks as we got up the courage to click ‘Publish.’ On November 21st, we lost our beagle, Basil, to the forces of old age. He was 10 1/2 years old. We are devastated because he was our furkid and companion for over ten years. But we are also comforted that his end was swift, painless and that we were able to manage his high quality of life until the very end – including a last meal of scones and jam, like a true Brit.

Rather than rehash the past ten years of memories, we’ve been relishing in our favorite ones, those that always make us smile or cringe or laugh. To pay tribute to our B-man, here are a few of our favorite stories as well as photos going way, way back.

Basil Collage1

Puppy Pillow Drama: We were new parents. That’s the closest comparison I have to the insanity that was bringing a puppy into our home. He was a baby, for all intents and purposes, with all of the hard work that comes with one of those. Outside every few hours, up all night, crying and eating and pooping everywhere. We were totally out of our depth.The best/worst night of them all was during that first summer. Drew was working long hours at the restaurant and I was home most evenings with the puppy. In order to keep tabs on his movements, I was in the habit of letting him sleep next to my face, so I would wake up quickly if he was awake and causing trouble. One such evening I woke up to Drew arriving home from work. As he walked in the room, Drew said, ‘Don’t move. Something is on your pillow.’

Sure enough, the 5-pound monster had peed literally on my pillow while I was asleep. I was so furious and frustrated. I stormed off into the guest bedroom, and heard Basil crying as he realized he wasn’t welcome in the room with me.

The next morning, feeling resigned to my life being over as I knew it, I remember saying, ‘I’m not sure I can make it a year with this thing.’

Basil Collage2

The Chicken Incident: Beagles are notorious scavengers. Their noses are beacons, allowing them to scout out every semi-edible piece of whatever disgusting thing happens to be in their tracks. It’s foul. Basil was no different, and we can name hundreds of situations in which he ate something questionable off the street (hello, NYC, I’m talking to you!), dug up something in the yard, or helped himself to stray French fries on the street.When Basil was four or five, Drew came home one day to our Maine house to find the trash can knocked over. This was not normal behavior for Basil, but he did go shopping in the trash if he smelled something particularly tasty in it. This day, it took us a while to figure out what could have possibly tempted the pup to take such drastic measures. And then we remembered.

An entire chicken carcass, leftover from the previous evening, was missing.

We were immediately terrified. Chicken bones are not good for dogs, as they can splinter, causing serious damage. With an entire missing chicken, well, the potential complications were significant. We hauled ass to the emergency vet for x-rays, which came back mostly fine. They could see a few bone shards hanging out in Basil’s system but nothing that looked too scary. We breathed a sigh of relief and added yet another rule to our ever-growing list: take out the trash immediately if there are any (ANY!) bones in there.

The next day, we realized why Basil wasn’t ill – he had actually buried most of the carcass in the cushions of our couch. The still intact rib cage was stuffed behind a throw pillow.

His thwarted plan for a late night snack saved his life and ruined our couches. Perfect.

Basil Collage 3

The Motherland: Basil’s last two years were arguably his best. When we relocated to the UK, we joked that he was coming to his motherland – beagles are a British breed and it randomly happened that our dog named after an herb was also a pretty common name for humans over here. He even got used to the new pronunciation by neighbors – Bah-sil instead of Bay-sil.

We like to explore the UK, and on our frequent travels, we would always bring Basil along with us.

Side note: for Basil’s entire life, he never EVER went anywhere in the car that he didn’t like. And yet, until the very end, long car rides would make him nervous, and he would shiver silently, panting hard at the passing scenery, until we arrived at whatever brilliant destination we had planned, at which point, he would bound of the car, in doggy heaven.

One of the most memorable UK moments was in July 2014. We had taken a drive to the region of East Anglia, and during one hike we came upon a massive beach surrounded by sand dunes. We had no idea there were dunes in England, and with the tide out, the gorgeous beach extended for miles in all directions. Basil went bonkers running toward the water and then away from it, and rolling in the beached seaweed. At one point, two women galloping on horses rode past us, and Basil, seeing his opportunity, took off. Chasing horses. Down the beach.

It took us a while to catch up with him after that adventure, and he shivered in the car all the way home.

basil-5-min

Skunked: No dog’s life is truly complete without a serious skunk spray. Ours happened in our backyard, while living in Portland, Maine. Basil went out in the evening, when it was already quite dark. In that house, we could let him in and out without surpervision.

When he made his signature yelp to come back in, we let him in along with the most ferocious burning rubber smell I have ever smelled in my entire life. My eyes teared up from the fumes and we ushered Basil back outside to clean him up.Suffice it to say, it took the better part of the week for the scent to diffuse. Skunk smell actually doesn’t even bother me too much, but in those quantities – whoa.

And with that little adventure, we added yet another rule to the list: always take a look around the yard before letting Basil out!

2year-10-min

It’s difficult to distill down ten years to a few stories, but hopefully you now understand some of the trials and tribulations we’ve had with our pup. Basil was a loyal friend, walking companion and we love him very much. If you can’t get enough Basil in your life, here is the post we wrote in May when Basil turned ten and we fed him a cupcake which he immediately threw up. Nice one.

We’ll miss you old friend. We are better people because of you.

basilbday-5-min

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  • December 2, 2015

    So sorry to hear of Basil’s passing. We have had too many such experiences on our own and know the pain of losing a beloved family member, in spite of the mishaps along the way! Wishing you the best as you have your first Christmas without him and hoping another fur baby works its way into your heart and home soon.
    Rhonda recently posted…Caught in Creativeless-nessMy Profile

    • December 2, 2015
      Julie

      Thanks for the support. It was a tough way to begin our week back in the US, but it was for the best.

  • December 2, 2015

    I’m SO sad to hear about this Julie. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful pup.
    Jackie Laulainen recently posted…The Ultimate Travel Packing List: A Year in a Carry On BackpackMy Profile

    • December 2, 2015
      Julie

      Always a difficult to decision to make. He was a major part of our lives, so he deserved a proper tribute.

  • December 2, 2015

    I know I already passed along my condolences in your last post, but one can never lament the loss of a dog too much. Our two pooches are in their senior years now (our corgi is actually Basil’s age) and while I think they’ll be kicking around for a while yet, I have no idea what I will do when it is time to say goodbye (though I know it won’t be pretty). Already we spend much of our time reminiscing about their doofier younger days, though old age hasn’t slowed them down as much as we had expected… just a few months ago, Emmy scavenged through our trash while we were out and ate about 16 chicken wing bones. We learned after that to always take the trash out immediately whenever bones are contained within (thankfully Emmy is essentially a trash compactor and had no trouble digesting her dangerous meal…). Traveling with the dogs hasn’t always been easy, but they have brought us so much joy and I know that the things that drive us bonkers now will be the ones we look back and laugh at when they are gone.

    Once again, I’m so sorry for your loss. Basil sounds like one heck of a chap and like the very best of dogs. What a wonderful life you gave him (& he you!).
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…When 2 Become 1: Lessons Learned Traveling Solo in CaliforniaMy Profile

    • December 3, 2015
      Julie

      Thank you for the kind words. All of those moments of frustration with a dog are greatly overshadowed by the joy he/she can provide everyday. Just have to celebrate the good times and laugh about the bad moments.

  • December 3, 2015

    So sorry to read about the loss of your pup. Reading about the skunk incident brought a smile to my face. I can only imagine.

    I wish you both the best as you go through this phase…
    Amarachi recently posted…My Top 5 Moments in Abu Dhabi & DubaiMy Profile

    • December 3, 2015
      Julie

      the smell is sooooo terrible. We had to give him a lot of baths to get the stink out of him. He also got sprayed in the face, so he was running around, barking, with his eyes closed. It was sad, but a little funny at the same time. Until our house stank for days. Then it was less funny.

  • December 3, 2015

    Aw! I’m so sorry to hear of Basil’s passing. It looks like he had an absolutely wonderful life with you two. I know how big of a hole is left when our furkids leave us. Hope it gets a little easier each day. Hugs!

    • December 3, 2015
      Julie

      thanks Susan. The house is much quieter, though Julie has been sleeping much better, without Basil constantly going between sleeping under the covers to sleeping on top of the covers all night. Have to find a positive somewhere in the situation, right?

  • December 3, 2015

    What a beautiful post. It made me tear up, yet brought a smile to my face. Basil may be gone, but these memories are precious and will live on forever! I’m so sorry for your loss, but I hope that every day gets a little easier for the both of you.
    Maddy recently posted…Where to Eat and Drink in Vancouver: The Ultimate Foodie GuideMy Profile

    • December 4, 2015

      It still makes me tear up a bit. Toughest proof-reading ever!

  • December 3, 2015

    Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that. I loved watching his ‘a day in the life’ Youtube video, and I hope you take comfort in all the great photos, videos and memories you have to remember him by. We lost a cat last year and although it took a long time to be able to watch it again, I love the video I have of him purring away like a pneumatic drill!
    Here’s to Basil and every mischievous moment of his exciting, fun-filled, world-travelling life! He sounds like a real character.
    Jenny recently posted…Sounds of Mexico: part 3 – Thanksgiving editionMy Profile

    • December 4, 2015

      Thank you. Losing a pet is always a challenge. They are part of your household and your family. The adjustment is difficult. Luckily, we feel assured in the fact that he had a happy life all the way until the end. He will always be missed though…

  • December 6, 2015

    I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your gorgeous little Beagle. Dogs get very near to our hearts and their lives are way too short. Basil’s life seemed to have been filled with so much joy and happiness (and mischief). This post must’ve taken a lot of effort to write. The last sentence brought a tear to my eye
    Dominique recently posted…Luxembourg City – Circuit WenzelMy Profile

    • December 6, 2015

      I had trouble editing it since it was so upsetting. Basil did have a great life though. He lived a full 10 1/2 years and had many adventures along the way!

  • December 8, 2015

    I am so, so sorry to hear about your beloved Basil 🙁 I unfortunately know that pain all too well as I had to put my last dog down after 10 years, when he was 15. Sounds like Basil lived a great life of adventure, though, and you have many good memories!
    Leigh recently posted…3 Days in PanamaMy Profile

    • December 8, 2015

      Lots of good memories and funny stories. Still think about him everyday, but at least he lead a very full life in his short 10 years.