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The joys of little hound dogs

Karen Wils photo A young litter of beagles.

ESCANABA — There’s nothing like the smell of newborn puppies.

The warm fuzzy feeling of a pup only a few days old, is something that you never forget.

Even though it is always easier to raise a litter of puppies in the summertime when they can be outdoors some, it often seems like the cycles of mother nature provides us with winter puppies.

From the time I was a young child, my uncle (the late Alan Hendrickson) raised field trial beagles. It was always so much fun for me to visit his kennel. I knew every hound by name.

I recall Beauty, Bandit, Sadie, and Cindy. The nice thing about these black, brown and white female bundles of energy was they produced the next generation of hunters in Alan’s kennel.

Sixty three days — those were magic words back then. That meant one of the lucky lady hounds were expecting a litter sired by a field champion.

When pups were brand new, I remember my cousins and I getting to peek at them down in the warm safety of their kennel house. When the pups were a few weeks old my uncle would tuck them underneath his coat and carry them indoors for us to see.

Wobbly little legs would try to scamper across the kitchen floor. Lots of human hands were there to cuddle and hold each pup. Some people think all beagles look alike, but each little hound has a unique tri-color pattern. Some beagles have no black markings. Rusty, red, copper, fawn, lemon, black and tan and blue tick, are some of the color varieties of beagles.

As a young adult my uncle would sometimes ask me to check on a litter of pups in his kennel if they happened to be born during deer season when he was gone to camp.

My aunt was a busy lady and checking on sometimes messy little beagles was not always her thing. But I guess I always had a love for messy little things.

Seven messy and marvelous beagle puppies are at my house right now. Oh, yes we thought we would have a litter much earlier in the year, but that’s not the way it happened.

The greatest thing about this litter of pups is that they are definitely good medicine dogs. Besides bringing back lots of good memories of litters from years ago, this current litter is giving me much encouragement and desire through a difficult time in my life.

Doctors have discovered that my cancer (or “wood tick,” as I have called it) is back and new treatments are needed. When you are not feeling your best, nothing can cheer you up a bit like the whimper of a wrinkly beagle puppy!

So many people have been so helpful to me and this new family of happy hounds. I thank you all. Keep the prayers coming as I clean up puppy pee. Winter puppies grow fast and winter does not last forever.

Next spring, I’ve got some dog training to do.

I will keep you all updated on health issues and in the meantime, I have a super talented sister who pinch hits and writes columns for me.

Thank you all, and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

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Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.

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