Skeeter Bess

Once upon a time, we had a friend named Skeeter Bess. She passed away at the beginning of June and she was a beagle lover, a dog lover and she was loved by so many people. That weekend we started talking…again…about getting another dog.

My mother’s shih tzu lives with us, but he’s very much HER dog.

We have the prairie dogs, but they don’t go for walks. I would ponder Petfinder from time to time. Friends would post pictures of their dogs. I caught Denise peering at Petfinder more than once. No dogs until we move (in four years) turned into “We can’t get a dog right before BlogHer.” Then Wilma the Prairie Dog passed away DURING BlogHer. Denise said I guess this means we have to get a dog. I said no. I don’t want a dog anymore. But, I got home and I did. I am a dog person. Let me be clear here: I love dogs. I’ve never liked puppies…or had one.

We thought beagle because of Skeeter Bess. I secretly coveted (ok, nothing is secret) a bigger dog. We combed Petfinder. We pitched youngest child. Surely on this year we couldn’t find the right birthday present–the two of us could share a present? She combed Petfinder. She wanted to go to a friend’s house on Sat. I vetoed on the “we are going to find our birthday dog on Saturday.” I don’t think she quite believed me. (she was grumpy when we woke her up on Saturday.

We visited shelter number 1. Youngest fell in love with a dog named Pebbles. Hard. Fast. She wasn’t the right one. Maybe. I don’t know. Something held me back. We also happened to see two puppies play fighting and I rolled my eyes and looked at the others. There was a shepherd pup but tiny there.
We then paraded through a number of other “pet events” and shelters. Denise saw a beagle pup at event two that she liked. I saw a homely shepherd at another shelter I liked. That shelter also had a rottweiler that EVERYONE liked but…I didn’t think that our landlord who had hours before asked what kind of dog we were thinking of really wanted to ok a rottie. (though he’s a nice guy and probably would)
Then we saw amazing dog Athena–pure white purebred German Shepherd–surrendered with papers, obviously professionally trained, and SHED LIKE CRAZY. At this point there were tears because youngest fell in love, girlchild loved her, Denise really loved her but knew she wasn’t right for us, I sort of loved her but she was all white and just didn’t have that moment for me.

We ran errands. Came home. I talked to boychild who…claims he doesn’t like dogs and also will leave for college in exactly one week. He didn’t join the personal idea of hell that is “dog hunting.” I explained the days outing and that we were still looking. (something that shocked me really, I do find something to love in nearly every dog.) I said there were a lot of nice dogs, but did he remember the video from Wilma finding me at the pet store. That I wanted that moment. He understood.
Sunday, I didn’t really want to go dog looking. I was tired. I rethought the whole thing. Argh. But, there we were…ready. So, we headed to another shelter–they were picky–no rows of dogs. Pick one out of a book. The guy sized us up, said no to a couple that we were interested in. Then he agreed to bring out Zoie. Great dog. Crazy active. They needed to meet our other dog before she could come home. Denise wanted to buy some time I think. She wasn’t perfect for us. She was perfect for me. Not exactly right for a dog that is mine, Liz’s, ours. But, she really seemed right.
We stopped at another shelter–this one well recommended…and home to the litter Denise had seen the day before. Man there said no to a couple we wanted to see…not trained enough, didn’t seem like a fit. (mystical dog person powers again.) He trotted out a nervous dog that Denise really liked and who was well-trained, probably would have done great…but I felt meh about. Then we looked at the puppies–super young. We got one to hold. Everyone loved her…but she didn’t love me. Boo puppy. (She’s likely already been picked for a forever home – really nice puppy. Will make a great dog) Got back into the car. Denise “So now what?” “Let’s go back to place 1” We did. I wandered. Pebbles was gone. The shepherd pup I liked was gone. There was still a beagle. There were two “beagle/hound” mixes that were being shown. And there were some coonhounds that looked like cinnamon bread-really. But, Scottie one of the beagle/hound mixes had caught the girls eye and Denise’s eye. I sized her up. Ok. Let me see her walk. Can’t do until you have an app in. Ok, Denise went and filled it out. I watched the dogs.

Then we had time in a playpen thing with her. She seemed…right enough. Beagle for Denise, for Skeeter. Girls loved her. And this puppy looked like she would be enough of a big dog for me and like she would figure out I was her person. I talked to her a bit. I said ok. She was a compromise dog.

I don’t do puppies. I have a puppy. I have a dog. She came home and she won the heart of the anti-dog lobby in the form of boy child. (ears! Like a kitten! So quiet! So good!) She shares the couch with youngest. She hangs out with me. And yes, she is my dog. Our very own Zip.

The prairie dogs have smacked her nose a few times. She’s trying to make friends with my mother’s dog (who is also trying to show her who is boss.)

And after it was remarked that she needed a new name and that she seemed like a Southern dog, we knew…her name had to be Skeeter Bess.


  1. When we were dog searching (and it took multiple weekends) I said it had to be a dog we all loved or at least could agree on. Ruby is very much my dog but Charlie and Robert love her too.

    She looks to be almost as big as Ruby now (2 yrs old) so she might very well grow bigger.

  2. Oh, I love her. 🙂

    Also, jealous.

  3. She’s gorgeous. And I love the name and the story behind it.

  4. Thank you. I do too. I would rather still have the first Skeeter Bess in my life right now though. Smart, fabulous woman.

  5. Ah Jenna, go get yourself a dog. Firedog to the rescue!

  6. I LOVE HER. YAY!!!!!

  7. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend but what a lovely rememberance of her. As a fellow dog lover, I could love almost any dog but I’m so glad you found the one that was right for YOU, as well as all those in the household. Skeeter Bess is a beauty and may you have many joyfilled years side by side. 🙂 I look forward to hearing about her future adventures in your home!

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