Look, I have a confession: When I first saw the Bewitching and Beguiling Beasley (henceforth known as 3-B), I said, “Ummm … what are you?”
I grew up with medium to large dogs, and while my brief stint as a dog walker put me in contact with smaller breeds, I’d never met a lapdog before. And certainly not a senior, one-eyed, (nearly completely) toothless Pekingese for that matter. I was a little wary of this dog and her behavior. What do you do with a dog who doesn’t really walk or play fetch or like to go for runs and is totally aloof and not interested in high-pitched nonsense?
The answer, I would find, is you don’t do anything except fall under her spell. The words and photos that follow explain how it happened.
Which is how I might have ended up dog sitting the Bee’s Knees (one of her many nicknames). During a day at the office, The Beez (that’s another) trundled from her bed and stood at my desk, fixing her lone eyeball upon me. Have you seen that Jim Henson movie The Dark Crystal? There’s a one-eyed mystic character named Aughra. It was kind of like that. Then I fell into a dreamlike state, and when I awoke, I had just finished uttering the words, “Sure, Lori, I’ll watch Beasley for the weekend.”
“You will?!” exclaimed Lori, “Oh, that would be the best!”
“Wait — what just happened?” I said, but Lori was too excited to hear me.
And that’s how I ended up staring at That There while I tried to fall asleep. Her one eye turned as she considered me with a look that read, “What are you doing here?”
I said, “You brought me here!”
To which she snorted with obvious pleasure.
That weekend it was just me and the Beezus. I developed a song that goes, “Beasley! Why are you wearing a little hat? Why are you wearing a leetle hat? Hat hat?” referring to the muffin of fur that crowns her head. (This unique plate of hers has also earned her the name Biscuit Head.) It was also the weekend I came up with several new nicknames for her, my favorite being the Bewitching and Beguiling Beasley … because that’s exactly what she did to me. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m now part of the 3-B Fan Club.
“Beastly Beasley! Your table manners are atrocious!” I told her as she pouted at the dinner table for my Thai food. “It is unladylike to behave this way, my One-Eyed Friend.”
She eventually snorted and trundled away down the hall, like a small fluffy tank on some forgotten mission. Later, when Cow — the feral cat Lori feeds — showed up, asking rudely after Beasley (Cow is deeply in love with the Little Heartbreaker, but I fear the affections go unrequited), I said to him, “I am sorry, Cow Cat, Lady B is not accepting visitors at this time.” He responded by loafing aggressively in the doorway.
Beasley is a lady of many names and many stories that we’ll never learn. She has a secret life during which she turns into a caterpillar and nibbles on clover while awaiting the moment her butterfly wings will burst forth from her shoulders; at night she transforms into an owl and flutters about the rafters, scuttling off on midnight adventures with Cow the cat. Occasionally Beasley is a straight-up bunny, leaping into her bed with unexpected agility. However, most of the time, she is a sloth and a sorceress, or maybe even a queen seeking refuge in our humble world.
Rescue dogs in particular hold secrets about their past lives, and it’s up to our imaginations to weave their narratives, tying them into our own. After adoption, they accept our stories and our nicknames and our songs with a wagging tail. Maybe it’s just a projection of our own secret desires and stories — you don’t know how many times I find myself wishing there were magic in this world — but dogs are not about to psychoanalyze us. Or, if they are, they’re keeping it to themselves.
Legend has it that Beasley flew in a private plane from Los Angeles to San Francisco, landed at Muttvile, and then, looking Lori in the face with a single eye around which all the universe spins, decided she was too old for adventures and that it was time to go home once and forever. Lori didn’t know then that it would be an adoption rather than a foster, but Beasley sure did.
I’m sure the first day Beasley met me, she chuckled at my hesitation and said to herself, “Don’t you worry, Pink Haired One, you will be mine.”
Maybe there really is magic in the world, and dogs are the channel through which it travels. I’m a believer now.
How have your dogs brought magic into your life? What nicknames do you have for them? How did you come up with them? Share your stories in the comments.
Read other stories about magic and fostering here: