The male, microchipped dogs are about 3 years old. At 27 pounds, Tucker is the smaller one. Clancy, with a bigger head, weighs in at around 35 pounds. “I can pick them both up under each arm,” she reports.
During the first days in their new surroundings, “we were all sniffing each other out. You could tell they were bewildered ... they missed her and were waiting for her to come back.” The beagles’ play “turned relatively rough” one day that first week in mid-summer. They were separated by Jake Taylor, Portsmouth, Ohio, whom Joanne Schrimpf had coached in swimming while the couple lived there for five years. Taylor is spending the summer at their home while he performs a Berea College internship in Cincinnati.
“That was the only bad night,” recalls the friendly woman. She spent it watching reruns of “The Dog Whisperer” for guidance.
Friend Pam Staat gave the dogs welcome-to-Batesville presents. Schrimpf observes, “They take the squeaker out of any toy. Then out comes the stuffing.” Luckily only toys have been destroyed and not human belongings. While their owner jogged with the duo, “I’m just going on walks with them” at least twice a day. “They’ve gained several pounds, but I lost several!”
The biggest challenge in caring for the dogs? She replies, “My hate of bunnies that are going to disrupt my day.” When the beagles spot one, “It gets so loud. They howl. It’s just dreadful.”
“We’ve gotten several e-mails from the soldier’s father,” who was in the military as well. He wrote that “her knowing that the dogs are comfortable is allowing her to perform her mission more effectively.” The couple and servicemember e-mail back and forth and photos will be sent soon.
The soldier reimburses the Schrimpfs for any expenses, such as food, medicines and vet bills. “She sends me a check every month.”