Two months ago, we became the happy owners of a female beagle pup. My cousin breeds beagles, Sam and Alex saw the latest litter over dinner at my cousin’s house, and they didn’t stop bugging me to get one until I finally relented — with conditions. Well, one condition — that if the cats give birth in the future, all kittens will be given away to friends who like having cats in their house. They agreed and we brought home a beautiful and hyper-active beagle whom we would eventually name “Penny” after the character in The Big Bang Theory. The photo above was taken at my cousin’s house on the day we brought Penny home.
Why Penny? That wasn’t anybody’s first choice for our beagle’s name. Sam initially wanted Galunggong (GG for short), I posted the idea on Facebook, a friend nicknamed Gigi objected while another friend suggested Dooga which he felt was the feminine counterpart of Doogie. It was all very funny but, in the end, we named her Penny. Well, Sam did. Alex liked it, I had no objections and Speedy would never have said no because he loves The Big Bang Theory.
Having Penny was a revelation in many ways. Sam and Alex had always been proprietary over their pets and they were constantly reminding each other which cat belonged to whom. With Penny, they were content — happy, even — to call her THEIR puppy and they don’t fight over her. The first few nights after we brought Penny home, Alex played with her during the day but Sam took her to her bedroom to sleep there during the night.
The curious thing is that Alex never liked dogs. We’ve had four over the years and she hated them all. But, with Penny, it was love at first sight. She carries her around in her arms like a baby, pets her, feeds her, bathes her, takes her walking… How she transformed from dog hater to dog lover was simply marvelous.
Then, it was parting time. Alex works and she’s currently on a nation-wide tour to bring a play (she does lights) to different parts of the country. When she leaves the house for each leg of the tour, there is always an extended goodbye scene with Penny. She calls home everyday and, if Penny is awake, Alex asks that I put her on speaker phone so that Penny could hear her. When she came home from the Bicol leg of the tour, she had a personalized bracelet for Penny — too small for a collar but we’ll figure out how Penny can wear it. It never ceases to amaze me how much she adores this puppy.
Sam? I never doubted for a moment that Sam would love this dog from Day 1. She was more insistent about getting a beagle, in the first place. One time, we went to Laguna (I was doing a cooking demo) and we brought Penny with us. Speedy prepared a towel-lined box for her which was placed at the backseat between the girls. But Penny didn’t want to sit in the box. She wanted to be on someone’s lap and able to look out of the window. So, Sam and Alex took turns. It was a sweltering day. Penny hadn’t traveled that long before and, while sitting on Sam’s lap, she threw up. I thought Sam was going to get mad at the dog but, despite her repeated utterance of “yuck” in different tones and intonations, she simply handed Penny to Alex so she could clean the mess which landed on her thigh and shoes. If she was upset, she quickly forgot about it.
What about Speedy? How is he taking the new addition to the household? Well, to be picturesque about it, Speedy treats Penny as though I gave birth to her. He’s a new father all over again. He’s the most conscientious about regular visits to the vet for scheduled shots. One of the girls usually goes with him so that he can focus with his driving. One time when both girls were out, he had to take her by himself because I was up all night and was unable to wake up to accompany him. He happily relayed how behaved Penny was on the passenger seat.
Speedy and Penny often take their naps together — he on a chair and Penny on his lap. When he watches TV, Penny is by his feet most of the time. At night, the few hours that Speedy and I (and the girls when they’re home) watch movies together before bed, Penny is with us. While we eat chips, Penny has her dog treats. She especially loves animal crackers. And Speedy spoils her. No pet — not even Pepper — had Speedy buying new stuff every few days. Just yesterday, he bought two new collars for her and declared he’s not done yet because he’ll buy collars in every available color.
And me? Although everyone has given Penny a bath, I have given her more baths than all of them combined. I like doing it. I especially like holding her close while I dry her with her towel.
Penny is at that age when she’s still small and light enough to be carried around. We all love doing it. And we have this crazy wish that she stays this way — always. But that’s impossible. At 18 months, a beagle reaches its full height and size. That’s more than a year away. We have a lot of time to adjust to the reality that Penny will not always be small enough to be petted like a baby. By that time, she may be too heavy to sit on our lap but we won’t love her less.