This is Reagan, or as we like to call her: Pupper, Reagy, Goober (and all its various forms), Boo Boo, Rae Rae, Muppet, Little One, and so many other names. We hardly ever call her Reagan. She's a 4-year-old, adorable beagle-collie-who knows what else mix. We still have no idea. She has the coloring of a beagle, and the size and face of a collie. The one thing we can't really figure out is what kind of dog she got her curly tail from. We decided that she was made in a lab from various parts of all different dogs. Whatever she is, she's certainly cute!
I first met Reagan about a week or so before we adopted her in early 2016. My mom and I got up early in the morning and braved a snowstorm so we could meet her at a shelter about two hours away. She had just arrived maybe a day earlier, coming all the way from Alabama after being abandoned. According to an email from the woman at the shelter, she was "so cute and a perfect fit." That was enough to motivate us to go. At first sight, we knew she was the one.
I remember when I first saw Reagan. She was just a 4 month old puppy, small, skinny, and covered in her own poop. When the woman brought Reagan out of her cage and into the other room so we could meet her, she wouldn't stop shaking. Her tail was in between her legs, and she wouldn't really look at us. She was so terrified and helpless. But she was also so cute and so sweet. We knew right away that she was the one. All my mom and I wanted to do was take her home to people who would love her unconditionally. My dad agreed too when he went to meet her, and then she was all ours!
Fast forward about four years after adopting her. Reagan has become the light of all our lives. She brings us joy and happiness everyday. Reagan loves any and all kinds of praise, whether it's treats or us clapping and saying "good girl!" or just lots of head and butt scratches. She soaks it all up. Reagan can perform a variety of tricks such as sit, roll over, beg, play dead, and my personal favorite "tidy up" where at the end of the day before bedtime, she cleans up all her toys that she played with during the day.
One of our favorite games to play with Reagan is hide and seek. It's a way for her to let her beagle side show and use her hunting instincts to find us. Someone will hide, and we'll tell Reagan to find them. So for example, "Reagan, hide and seek Mom!" or "Reagan, hide and seek Mary!" She uses her nose to guide her, and is ecstatic upon finding us. Probably because she knows she'll be rewarded with treats. She's really smart like that. So smart that she made up her own game in order to draw more attention to herself. Every time somebody comes home, she steals a shoe by the door. It could be anybody's shoe. She picks it up in her mouth, and brings it to another room in the house, in an attempt to hide it. But we usually chase after her before she can. That's the part she really loves.
One of Reagan's favorite things to do is eat. She loves pretty much all foods, but her favorites would have to be cheese, peanut butter, watermelon, and triscuits. She loves to beg for food. Any time I'm in the kitchen making something, I have to always watch my back. If I'm not careful, I could trip and fall over her sitting right behind me. She likes to trap me behind the counter, and the only way she'll move is if I give her food. Another way she'll beg for food is by simply placing a paw on my foot, or scratching the oven. She does this more with my mom than with me. She'll keep doing it and won't stop until she gets a bite. Those puppy dog eyes are very hard to resist, so she usually wins.
If I were to describe Reagan in one word, it would be unique. From her colorful coat to her irrational fear of the dishwasher, she is unlike any dog I have ever seen before. Usually the first thing people ask when they meet Reagan for the first time is what kind of dog she is. They can pretty much tell she's a beagle based on her coloring, and they see the collie in her too.
Her personality can go from sassy to classy in an instant. One minute she'll be teasing you and playing around, and the next she'll be perched at the top of the stairs with her paws crossed, looking down on all us peasants. I call her Regal Reagan when she does that.
Reagan has a laundry list of strange fears. Like most dogs, she's afraid of things like thunder and fireworks. But Reagan is also afraid of the vacuum cleaner, hula hoops, rocking chairs, going up and down stairs (she has since overcome that one), and even being too far away from home. She's the one dog who doesn't like taking long walks. When one of us takes her out and the house disappears from sight, she'll turn around and want to go back. Even if we want her to go further, she resists. It's usually a group effort to get her to keep going. Sometimes she barely gets past the driveway. But that's how we know she'll never go too far if she ever gets out!
Reagan also doesn't like things being around her neck or on her back. She automatically freezes, and her head and tail droop a little bit. One time, we tied a balloon to her tail, hoping she would chase it and grab the string. But instead, she tried to run away from it. She got even more scared when she realized it was following her, and then just stood there until someone came to take it off her. Putting something around her neck, like a flower crown, for example, is the only way to get her to sit still for a picture. We also just like to make her wear things. Other than that, she is extremely camera shy and won't look directly at us once she knows she's being filmed.
I can honestly say that Reagan has changed all our lives for the better. For my family and I, she became something for all of us to bond over. We spend more time out of our rooms and playing with Reagan either downstairs or outside. We leave our bedroom doors open for her so she can come and go as she pleases. She brought us closer together.
A dog really is a human's best friend. Reagan has shown empathy, concern, and comfort when we're in distress. She is the best form of therapy. I remember once having a really bad mental health day, and was laying in my bed all upset. Reagan came all the way upstairs to my room and nudged my hand to make sure I was okay. I gave her a few scratchies and felt much better.
Reagan has motivated us all to be more active and spend more time outside. We play in the yard and take her for walks. Sometimes we'll even just sit outside with her while she suns herself in her favorite spot in the front yard. She loves it when we throw her ball and she takes off like a rocket to go catch it. She comes back so proud of herself. Other times, we're running with her, stealing the ball so she'll chase us. She's getting us to run, move, and have a great time outside, even though she doesn't like it for long.
Reagan has taught all of us a thing or two about responsibility. She is a living creature who requires basic needs like food, water, and shelter. Sometimes when I'm home alone for a few days while everyone else is away, I sometimes forget that I'm not just responsible for myself. There is someone else in the house that still needs my care. I have to feed her, and take her outside multiple times a day. That includes very early in the morning, and very late at night. She is the best company while no one else is around. Earlier this year, I was home alone for two days, and instead of talking to myself like I normally do, I just talked to Reagan the whole time. It was kind of fun. I never felt alone or lonely. I had my pupper to keep me company.
Although I consider myself to be more of a cat person and I find dogs a bit intimidating, there is no furry friend I'd rather have right now than Reagan. She is sweet, she is funny, she is entertaining, and just super cute. I've found that she and I are similar in personality. We're both on the introverted side. Reagan is perfectly fine playing by herself, and doesn't always need the company of other dogs (although it would be really good for her). I'm the same way with people. Reagan and I both come off as very friendly and very approachable. Our outgoing personalities make us seem like we're more extroverted than we actually are. But if a stranger approaches, we immediately put on the defensive. If we decide we don't like that person, we let them know. For Reagan, it's a simple low growl, whereas with me, I wish I could growl at people I don't like without it being weird.
Reagan and I love to sit together and just chill. We both like to play outside and go for walks. We also love a good, long car ride with the windows rolled down all the way. It took her a while to warm up to me, because I was away at college when we first got her. I only came back every couple of months, so she didn't really get to spend a lot of time with me. But once I was back for good and started being more consistent, she became less afraid. We're pretty good friends now.
I don't say it enough, but I really do love her. She has changed me for the better by showing me responsibility, friendship, and the true meaning of unconditional love. I am thankful for her every day, and honestly have no idea what I would do without her.