Monday, March 29, 2010

Cara and The Beagle

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Cara, aka caramama, and I have a parenting blog called Cara Mama. I started the blog after having my daughter (who is now 3), and I write about my kids, being a mom and my family. Even though I now have 2 kids (my son is 9 months), my husband and I still consider our dog and cat our furbabies, and they are an essential part of our family. This picture shows our beagle in my lap, one of her favorite places to be. The Beagle is now 8 years old, and even though she’s 35 pounds, she thinks she’s a lap dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

With two young kids, I don’t have as much time for the pets as I used. I’m taking this opportunity to spend a little quality time with the Beagle at a local coffee shop.

What's brewing?

I’m drinking the house blend with soy milk. I judge how good a coffee shop is by their house blend.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Since I’m a nursing mom, I need extra calories in my diet. So I’ll go ahead and have a chocolate croissant to go with the coffee.

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

Although I wish I could spoil my dog with treats, she has food allergies and no ability to control herself around food in general. I brought her 3 milk bones, but that’s all she can have.

How was she united with you?

The man who is now my husband (Londo) and I debated for weeks and weeks about when to get a dog. I was ready, but he wasn’t quite ready. Then 9/11 happened. We both left work early and spent the day sitting on the couch watching the news. Although our cat checked in on us, he’s not the snuggling sort. And with all the sadness on the news, I realized that I really needed a furry companion to cuddle with when I’m upset. By the end of the day, I turned to Londo and said that was it. We were getting a dog the next week. He agreed immediately.

That week, I found an ad in the paper announcing full-blooded beagle puppies who would be good hunting dogs or pets. I called and talked with the woman, who assured me that the puppies had been socialized with humans and she could see that a few of them would be ideal pets.

Londo and I drove 45 minutes into the Georgia countryside to go check out the pups. The woman and man raising them were very nice and friendly, and all the puppies were so adorable. We were the first people to come look at the pups, so we got the pick of the litter! We did all the little personality tests on the puppies, and the Beagle not only did great on the tests, but she was surely the prettiest little puppy of the whole litter. While we signed the papers, the Beagle hid under the buffet in the dining room. On the way home, she snuggled in my lap the whole way home.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Rabbit. She’s a beagle, through and through. She comes from hunting stock, and beagles were breed to hunt rabbits. You can always tell when she’s on the trail of a rabbit as opposed to any other animal. Her entire demeanor changes, as does the timbre of her bark and way she sniffs the ground.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, Frisbee...?

She LOVES to play with squeaky toys. She loves to fetch them, play tug-of-war with them and just sit down chewing and squeaking on them.

You have an active blog? Is The Beagle ever an inspiration for it? A distraction?

My blog is about family life. Although it focuses mostly on my kids, the dog is part of our family. She is both an inspiration and a distraction for my blog—heck, so are the kids!

Where's her favorite place for an outing?

She loves to take walks around the nearby lake. She does really great keeping up with the stroller and letting my daughter hold on to part of her leash, while I really hold on to the other side. (Her favorite place in the world, though, is our bed snuggled up to the pillows, as you can see in the picture [at left].)

Who is her best pet-pal?

Her best dog pal is my mom’s dog. Over the years, they have spent a lot of time playing together. They are the same size and have similar playing styles, so they really enjoy each other.

We also have a cat, who is like a brother to the Beagle. As in, sometimes they get along great and will hang out near each other or even play together, and other times they bicker and get each other into trouble. But I definitely think there is a bond and friendship between them.

What's her best quality?

The Beagle’s best quality is how social she is with everyone. Beagles are pack animals who thrive when they are with others and are known for being good with kids. My dog has been fantastic with the newer additions to our family. She plays with my 3 year old and is careful with the baby. She is gentle with them and seems to really enjoy being around them (especially at dinner time). The Beagle is a very snuggly dog, too, which is especially nice on cold, winter nights!

If your dog could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She would definitely change how we limit her food. We have to for her allergies and to keep her from overeating, but I KNOW she would love it if we just let her have at everything in the fridge on a regular basis.

What's her proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

I would say that the Beagle’s proudest moments are when she does her tricks. I used to work with her regularly on a bunch of tricks, from shaking her paw to rolling over. She loves the attention and the treats when we practice and show off her tricks.

Her most embarrassing moments were the two times she had to wear a special, medical bootie on her paw. Before we realized how bad her allergies were, she had licked one of her paws excessively. To let it heal up while we adjusted her food and diet, we had to keep her paw in a little silver and black, lace-up bootie. She knew she looked ridiculous and it was a very odd feeling to try to walk with it on. In fact, she mostly walked on the other three legs.

Visit the "Cara Mama" blog.

--Marshal Zeringue