My Stockholm Syndrome

I miss our beagle, Libby.  How can that be?  From the first moment we met, she terrorized me.

I was fixing dinner at my soon-to-be husband’s house.  A fresh bouquet of wildflowers graced the elaborately set dinning room table.  I stepped out of the room and when I returned, Libby was on the table, eating the flowers.

“Bad girl,” I said.

The floor trembled and the room shook.  A deep menacing growl emanated from the space around the table.  I took a step back.  Libby returned to chomping on her snack until the beautiful bouquet looked like it had been trimmed with a weed wacker.  She jumped to the floor and trotted off, pausing for a moment to belch.

My husband, John, was completely enamored with Libby.  The two of them would sit on the couch watching TV.  I walked in one time to hear him whispering, “Oh, Libby, your ears are like silk.”  A little bit jealous I pointed out that he never said things like that to me.  “But,” my clueless husband said, “your ears aren’t like silk.”

I came home from work one day to find her stumbling around the kitchen, a jar of peanut butter stuck on her head.  However, whenever I reached down to pull it off, her rumbling growl scared me away.  It wasn’t until she’d licked the jar clean that she came over and bumped into my leg indicating she was finished and I could remove it from her head.

Phinias once found Libby in the middle of his bedroom, surrounded by the trash from his wastebasket.  He leaned over and pointed his finger at her.  “Bad girl,” he said.  She darted toward him, then ran out the door.  It took a minute before he realized she’d bitten off the tip of his finger.

So, how did I grow to love this monster?  For one thing, she was a great teenager alarm.  Whenever Phinias or Ferb tried to sneak out after we went to bed, she howled loud enough to wake the dead.  For another thing, I never had to vacuum.  She could have been the prototype for the Roomba, as she snuffled her way across every inch of the floor sucking up any debris along the way.  Dust Bunnies?  Excellent!  Dirt?  No problem!  Crumbs?  Jackpot!

When she was old and gray, her body riddled with tumors, the vet said it was time to put her down.  John held Libby in his arms and she quietly faded away.  The next morning I woke up and realized I’d left the closet door open.  I ran over and looked down at my shoes. They sat exactly as I left them, not a Libby tooth mark to be found.   I crumbled to the floor and cried.

I miss my monster.

17 thoughts on “My Stockholm Syndrome

  1. Sara no "H"

    Isn’t it funny how dogs grow on you? Beagles are my fave. I had a half weinie half miniature beagle and those little legs always kept up with the big dogs. I’m sorry she is gone.

  2. Cathy Robertson

    What an absolutely beautiful story. Our animals have a way of winning our hearts down to our soul even when they are “bad” sometimes. I love Libby now and I never even met her! Thanks for the humor and the tears I shed.

  3. Janet

    I remember coming to your house after we had eaten at a barbeque joint. I had leftovers in my purse. When I set my purse down to give you a hug, Libby made me realize why they call it a doggie bag. She had it in her mouth and swallowed and was swaggering away with tail wagging before I could say Bad Girl.

  4. Bob

    You are a very kind person. Any pet would be proud to live in your house.
    Too bad you didn’t know about the dog whisperer then and Libby’s bad manners could have been corrected by sending her to LA…one way.


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