Elvis was an exceptional hound. Born in the fall, I decided to keep him indoors for his first winter. He was house trained within 2 days. He would wake me up around 6AM with a bawl like a much older hound to take him out. The only issue with him in the house was at family dinner time. Like most beagles his world revolved around his stomach and he would do anything to get some people food and with 2 young boys in the house, he was successful.
Elvis was part of a litter of 6 males, all were chocolate tri’s except Elvis. From the first days, he stood out, not only with his markings, but his personality. While his littermates were tussling with each other, he would sit on his rear end and stare at me. Within a week, I knew he was going to be my pick of the litter. As the pups grew older, the others would romp around and be into things, but not Elvis. Elvis was at my feet waiting to see what I was going to do. He just seemed more intelligent than any beagle I had had at that point.
The winter he spent indoors was a long, hard winter. The snow was very deep. As usual, I had corn out for the deer so the family could look out the window and watch the whitetails. It was not unusual to have 15+ deer come in at evening. I had installed motion lights so that when the deer would come to feed, the spotlights would come on and we would watch. One particular night, the deer were out and Elvis had to do his business. Since he was not started on anything, I let him out to take care of things. Well he got a whiff of the deer and went to see what that attractive smell was. Whether the deer felt safety in numbers or because of the depth of the snow, they did not bolt. Elvis got to about 15 feet and the deer started stomping their feet at him. Elvis was “cured.” He never took anything other than a rabbit his entire life.
As spring came, Elvis was getting restless. One morning I let him out and went about getting ready for work. He would usually be waiting at the door for me to let him in and have his breakfast. Not this morning. I went out to check on him and sure enough, he was started. I watched the rabbit come off the hill with Elvis pretty close behind, giving tongue like a seasoned hound. No doubt he was the easiest hound I ever started.
Elvis moved to the kennel with the other hounds and I kenneled him with his father, Blake. I never had an issue with him in the kennel, never fighting or barking. He was also one of the cleanest hounds I have seen, going to the bathroom in an area about 2 square feet. As he matured, he would growl at his daddy if he was still eating and Blake had finished, but never anything more than that.
Elvis was not a wind splitter. He was about 15 ½” and moved very gracefully but never wild and crazy. He had absolutely no wasted motion, very deliberate in everything he did. He was not slow, by any stretch but he would run in the middle of my pack. I soloed him quite a bit because he was just a joy to take out. If I packed him, he handled better than any hound afield and he would pick some of the toughest checks that the pack encountered. He had many rabbits harvested over him and I would run him places I could not take other hounds because he handled so well. We hunted next to roads and farms where I was hesitant to take the others because I could direct him and call him off anything, even a rabbit.
We were hunting next to a paved township road one time when the rabbit decided to cross the road. I went to the road and waited for him to push through. Sure enough, a car was coming at the same time. I gave Elvis the “whoa” command and he stopped in his tracks. I went up to him and waited with him for the car to pass and then he continued on the line. We got that rabbit and it is clear in my mind as if it were only yesterday.
Another occasion, we were running near a strip mine with a sulphur swamp in an end. The rabbit went to hole and I called Blake and Elvis in. When they came up the hill, both hounds were orange. They had run through the swamp and were soaked in orange slime. Elvis looked at me with an almost human expression like he was saying “it was the rabbit’s fault, we were just following.”
I have many stories about Elvis. He was a truly memorable hound. One of my greatest regrets is that I never bred him. I was always concerned about his size. Elvis developed a tumor in his throat at about 10 years old and passed in his sleep lying on his board like he was sleeping. I have his half sisters and nephews and nieces here but he was a one-of-a- kind hound. I miss him.