Elvis the Singing Beagle

By John Clise

Elvis was my sweetheart. He left this world far too soon. His canine companion, Priscilla, lived to be 22 years old. She was a Feist. Since she was only about 12 inches tall on her tip toes… I called her foot stool. Elvis’ bay/howl could be heard a good three quarters of a mile away singing to the moon… according to the neighbors.

Elvis was the runt of his litter. He was like Rick Astley. Looking at him you wouldn’t think he’d have such a booming voice. He sure could howl. It was loud, beautiful and long.

My sister got him for me from a local breeder after I came back to West Virginia in 1992. I suspect I’d been fairly mopey, and she thought I needed a friend to cheer me up. She always knew when I was hurting.

He was so sweet and tiny. He was a curious little fellow as a puppy. He also had a wild desire to chew up everything he could wrap his paws around… including a couple of records, a few trophies, blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, chair legs… and I don’t know what else.

We’d ride around in my car even though he couldn’t see over the dash. We’d make trips to the McDonalds drive thru. He’d have a cheeseburger. I’d have two.

In the evening we would lounge around listening to the radio. Mainly the oldies and public radio as those were the only two stations we could get.

He was with me four years before someone poisoned him. He got loose and died shortly after coming home. He must have felt bad. Usually when he got loose, he’d be gone a couple of days. I had no time to take him to the veterinarian. The veterinarian was 25 miles away. The closest emergency animal clinic was 70 miles away. There was just no time.

He came home after one of his adventures with a little Feist in tow. I named her Priscilla as I said earlier. She was devoted to him. Completely. I thought she might leave after he left us, but she stayed. She lived to be 22 years old. Her face was gray, but her smile never faded.

She and my niece Maria were the same age. Priscilla may have been a little older than Maria. I think Maria definitely took it the hardest when she passed.

Neither Elvis nor Priscilla cared for their insulated, heated, clean straw bed having doghouse. They much preferred to be fireside in the house when the weather got cold out. Summer rains were an entirely different story. A warm summer rain guaranteed two wet, stinky dogs would be waiting by the door to get in at some point. They would be allowed inside and escorted directly to the bathtub. That kind of water was not a favorite of theirs.

While Priscilla had a small bark, Elvid did not bark at all. He would bay like Snoopy only much louder and much longer. Sometimes all night.

The good townsfolk would stop me on the street to either complain or tell me they loved it. I lived on a hill above town. To the complainers I’d just shake my head in disbelief and tell them I didn’t hear a thing and slept like a baby. I did hear him, but I did also sleep like a baby.

He was such a wonderful friend and then he was gone. Just like that. Sometimes I can still hear him in my mind.

I hope to see him again at the Rainbow Bridge.


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