The Untold Story of Remodeling with a Beagle

Bruegger and the Third Floor

Methinks I've over-dramatized the title just a bit.  This isn't the story of some Snoopy-like super beagle swinging a hammer and tossing a saw, no - this is just a simple story of a long-remembered day I had with my first beagle - Bruegger.  

Beagle leaning out the pickup truck window

Disclaimer - No Hard Feelings

Before we get into this, in order to spare the feelings of Linus, Bruegger's successor, (go ahead and snicker - you anthropomorphize your pooch too!) I want my family and Linus to know this in no way diminishes my love for the Linus-Monster.  Here, just to assuage feelings, I'll include this shot of Linus I took off the animal shelter's website the day before I broke him out of jail, lo these many years ago now.

Beagle looking straight at the camera

Okay to Move On Now?

So, the very first project posted on House 173 was January 1, 2010's story of the 1998 third floor renovation, which was way back when Bruegger, also a jailbreak, was still a young lad.  Today's tale is of a mere few hours of a day wrapped by weeks of work on the third floor renovation. But those few hours are among the most precious in my memories of Bruegger.  It all started with a long outdated attic turned bedroom, a rookie homeowner (yours truly) and his trusted pal - Bruegger.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Agnes Repplier

Just to give you an idea of how sweet a pooch Bruegger was, I enjoyed laying in the grass in my back yard, which was always very concerning to the hound.  He'd always check on me and stand guard right next to my head.  God forbid as much as a butterfly flitted past - Bruegger would sound a serious warning to the intruder, and startle me out of my slumber.  I don't have a picture of me in the back yard with Bruegger, but here's one of me on the floor - very nearly the same reaction (OMG I had hair back then - and it wasn't gray!):

Beagle checking on his human

Sorry, I'm Tarrying Too Long

Isn't it hard not to linger just a little too long when we look back at those sweet times in our lives - the people and places, and not the least - our pets?  Obviously I've done that here - my apologies.  So, we come to the story.  As I was remodeling the third floor here at 173, which had many decades earlier been converted from attic to a bedroom where two boys grew up, and Mr. Mosher's study.  By 1998, it was long past due for an update, so I gutted the attic, which by the time of this picture I had already insulated:

Gutted attic with the insulation installed

With the walls and rafters open, it was the perfect time to redo the electrical wiring.  With the electrical panel three long stairwells down to the basement, I endeavored to feed the wire through the walls all the way down.  I used the vent pipe as a guide because I knew it rose all the way from the laundry room in the basement right on through the roof of 173.  

Some of my favorite books about dogs: 
Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls
White Fang - Jack London 
Old Yeller - Fred Gipson 
Lassie Come Home - Eric Knight 

Now, that might not sound like much, but this involved blindly pushing a pull-wire, constantly going up and down the stairs.  First it was the third to second floor, where I had to cut the only hole in the wall I needed, then up and down from the second floor to the basement.  Then came the worst!  Once I had the pull-wire through, I had to go from the basement up to the third floor to unkink the wire so I could go back to the basement to pull it another couple inches, because I was doing this alone!  Well, not quite alone.

Here's Where Bruegger Comes In

I say not quite alone because, for the first 5 of the roughly 7 hours it took me to run the wires, and the first probably 100 or so trips up and down, Bruegger was right at my heel!  It didn't matter how fast I was going, if I was dragging, stomping, swearing or darn near crying in frustration, that dog's little beagle legs just kept turning.  I remember stopping for a break on the third floor stairs, and Bruegger just sidled up next to me, crushing his head against the side of my chest.  I wonder if he was begging his human to just stop?  Eventually Bruegger took leave and I found him sleeping the sleep of the dead - exhausted I'm sure!  Sorry for the quality of this picture, but here's Bruegger on a different day...still hanging out with me!

Beagle watching the attic remodel

Rookie Mistakes

Remember when I said that in 1998 I was still a rookie homeowner?  Well, here's photographic proof...

Attic insulation and renovation

See the green arrow?  I'm sheepishly pointing out the electrical outlet that was already in the third floor.  It wasn't until last night, August 7, 2020, some 22 years after the events of this story, that it dawned on me that, because the floor joists ran from one side of the house to the other (of course). I could have tapped into the electricity that was already up there!  It would have been a matter of pulling up a couple floor boards and a couple of hours tops.  But nooooo - I had to run my a&& off!  Then again, a more experienced man wouldn't still be cherishing this memory of my time with Bruegger!

Beagle leaning on his human's chair

See you later - I'm going to give Linus a hug,
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