Jamie's gone. He was our Beagle friend, family member, and personal Disney star. He had all the moves of a Disney animation, except he was real life. He would run ahead, pause, look back at us with his left leg lifted and pointed, just like Bambi. And he could smile. Just like Thumper.
After 17 years, Jamie left us, quietly, in his sleep, in his bed, but I remember that Christmas Eve we brought him home, snuggled inside my son's coat to protect him from the cold. Jamie was rambunctious, inquisitive, proud, stubborn, bright, happy, and often dazzling. It was amazing to see how such a tiny bundle of energy could transform a space and make everyone happy.
Living with Jamie, we saw where Charles Shulz got his ideas for Snoopy. On the first night home, Jamie climbed on top of his doghouse (yes, we had a doghouse in the apartment) and howled. All that was missing was the moon. We were always seeing Snoopy on top of his doghouse. Now I know why. That's what Beagles do.
Jamie was always into everyone's business, just like Snoopy, and he was deeply reflective. You would often see him lying there pondering the universe. He had a deep sense of justice and would scold us when we had somehow wronged him.
We were never able to get a really good picture of Jamie. All his best images are still inside our heads. Every move was so beautiful, with such personality and verve. His tail was the indicator of his moods and usually it was straight up, proud and beautiful. I often called him "proud tail." But when he felt guilty for some infraction, it was curled down between his legs.
But all of his features were dazzling, his soft, brown floppy ears, the white arrowhead on his forehead, and his beautiful tricolor blend of brown, black, and white. Throughout his 17 years, Jamie looked puppy-like, youthful. I think it was because of the zest and energy that was always the source of his animation. Even as he entered his 17th year, people would sometimes mistake him for a puppy.
Jamie lives with us still, in our memories, in the spaces he inhabited and visited. All his love, indignities, energy, concern, joy, and animation --- still dazzle us like Disney --- but he was and is, real.