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5 reasons to love a beagle

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How do I love my 11-month-old beagle puppy? Let me count the ways—or at least list the top five.

How significant are these lovable points? Enough that we forgive even her most annoying misbehaviors to date, whether baying (to the possible dismay of our Warrenville neighbors) or chewing a book to destruction (when book and dog were left unattended together and momentary boredom ensued).

After all, the problems only happen because of our lack of oversight, right? So, on to the plusses of this most endearing beagle.

1. Outstanding cuddle skills.
1. Outstanding cuddle skills. Susan NC Price

1. Outstanding cuddle skills.

Perdita earned her place in our hearts and household by her charming willingness to nestle on a lap or under an arm whenever a sitting person gave opportunity. With no person available, she finds herself a cozy cushion nest instead.

2. Persistent cuteness.
2. Persistent cuteness. Susan NC Price

2. Persistent cuteness.

Of course Perdita looked cute at mere days old, when tiny enough to lie within even my own fairly modest sized hand. No surprise that she maintained her appeal through puppyish stages of small head big ears and clumsy baby bounces. But even now that her growth rate has slowed and she’s near her adult size, she manages to combine an ability to strike a classic and elegant pose with the adorable head tilt and effective puppy-eyes.

3. Endearing intelligence.
3. Endearing intelligence. Susan NC Price

3. Endearing intelligence.

Dogs may achieve no more intellectual skills than those of a two- or three-year-old child, but they have immense social and emotional intelligence. Perdita, like our shiba Seiki, has learned to recognize all the important actions in the household, such as kitchen activity that might lead to feeding and the putting on of shoes or jackets that could signal dogs getting walks. And the need to release the ball so it can be thrown again.

4. Overwhelming beagliness.
4. Overwhelming beagliness. Susan NC Price

4. Overwhelming beagliness.

I’d never planned on having a beagle before Perdita arrived in our lives as a 5-day-old pup. My knowledge of hounds in general concentrated around their tendency to bay rather than bark and their scent-hunting abilities. I knew they were physically attractive, but had no idea how winning a beagle’s enthusiasm and energy could be. Still photos can’t convey the effect, and even videos barely hint at the full amusement factor of beagly energy. When not following an interesting scent, Dita harasses Seiki into chasing her, which always brings a smile to my lips.

5. Enthusiastic affection.
5. Enthusiastic affection. Susan NC Price

5. Enthusiastic affection.

Dogs in general gain a special place in our hearts through the enthusiasm with which they greet their people after an absence, but Dita overachieves in this area. She'll act like we've been separated for months upon seeing us after an hour-long errand—or overnight in the same house. She likes this back-window position when waiting in the car, just so she can see me coming sooner.

When I've truly been gone for days, she practically wriggles out of her skin with joyous leaps and dancing. There's good reason Charles Schultz portrayed Snoopy doing a happy dance so often.

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