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Pancho is a beagle that belongs to my son-in-law's younger brother who joined the Marines after college. I remember the outdoor picnic when he breezed by in his crewcut and neon blue sunglasses for a burger and a beer to make the announcement.

The only son of three to attend college, and quite the ladies' man, his own family was shocked at his decision. His older brother, my daughter's husband, joined the Navy before the ink on his high school diploma was dry. But all of this was almost twenty years ago, before Pancho was a twinkle in a Dad dog's eyes.

I remember the first time I met Pancho. He howled without mercy, would slip out of his collar and leash, running away for days and nights of sex until he was neutered. He still sings mournful songs of lost love to the heavens, or perhaps they are anthems of former freedom; it's hard to tell. He digs furiously because that's something they couldn't neuter out of him, and has killed more than his share of unsuspecting squirrels and baby rabbits.

Pancho is multi-lingual and Lutheran. More than once he has gone on a diet against his will. He is prejudiced against Chinese and Korean Christians, which is unfortunate since he lives on the grounds of a non-denominational Christian conference center. He has no beef with the Latin Evangelical Outreach members, or perhaps they give him beef, which explains the lack of growling and the enthusiastic tail-wagging when an LEO member walks past.

He lives there because his owner's parents live and work there, as do my daughter, her husband and my grandkids. Little children of all ages in the extended family love Pancho, and he, them. Or maybe it's their chicken nuggets and ribs that inevitably fall on the ground that he loves. Goldfish crackers and gummi bears. No birthday party, BBQ, or random get-together is complete without Pancho.

His real home is Virginia, where he was born, but since his master's overseas posts in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, he seems to have lost his southern accent to a New Jersey one, tinged with German, which is spoken in the home of the Marine's parents. They too, await the plane that has been delayed by dust storms in Afghanistan. Another plane will all too soon take their son off to another post to learn African for his next assignment. Pancho has decided he's too old to learn another new language, that, and he would rather just fly in his dog dreams.

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