We suffered a cold snap last week when temperatures barely lifted themselves about zero Celsius for swathes of the UK. I know this isn’t as bad as other countries have endured however, for us, its a perennial big news story. The allegation is that if London gets more than 1 centimetre of snow, it grinds to a halt. I’m not so sure.
In any case, the sun seems to be showing its face this week making a welcome return as far as I am concerned. Lenny and I have been exploring the highways and byways around our new home. The ground is drying out so we can go careering across fields and along bridle paths at top speed. Actually thats not strictly true as we could go careering along if we weren’t shackled to parents. The flowers have started to flower and the tips of the shrubs and trees are due to burst into their Spring coat in the near future. This means the smells and colours will be ours to enjoy very soon. I like Spring. It’s a sign of the rebirth and regeneration of the life which has lay dormant for the Winter months.
We’ve been doing quite a bit of relaxing in our new home. I mentioned in a previous post that Lenny seems to have settled far quicker than me. This still remains true to a large extent however it has been noted that I am beginning to chill out much more readily during the day which is always a bonus for everyone concerned. I got some very helpful and thoughtful comments and advice from many friends to my post about my inability to relax here and I am thankful for each one. I assure you that I am feeling more at home now, even though its taken a month and I am still scared of the bleeps on the induction hob when its switched on. We can work on that though.
I’m off for a snooze. My brain and nose have been filled with the scent of flowers, trees and squirrels today. I even stood in awe as Lenny spotted a herd of deer prancing across a field today and yelled his head off. I am proud of my protege.
There was nothing out of ordinary to alert us as to what was in store for Lenny and I yesterday. Waking up as normal, I stretched and climbed out of bed to go and see mum who is the gravy bones dispenser. My tongue was duly crossed with the brown bones of tastiness and I sloped back off to my bed for a snooze. I think dad was pleasantly surprised there was no kidney pounce. In any case breakfast for Lenny and I was taken in the Utility Room once the parents had decided to get out of bed.
As soon as we realised it wasn’t raining we were quickly on our toes and pulling our respective parents along the road. Suddenly we were turned around and marched back towards home. We had hardly started our walk. What was this sorcery? Dad opened the car and we were cajoled into our travel crates. Lenny and I looked at each other quizzically, what was going on? It wasn’t time for the v-e-t visit, surely? Then we were off the driveway and headed down the road, turn right and then turn right again after a mile or so. The road went left and then right, we were getting lost now until we pulled up at somewhere familiar. When the boot was opened, a scent filled our noses that told us we were in for a fun time.
It was the seaside! I could hear the wind, and the waves as they gently crashed upon the sandy foreshore. Come on Lenny, let’s go. As we trited to leap out of the boot, we were swiftly caught mid boing, harnessed and told to be good. How bothersome of our parents to cut short our attempted shenanigans. We crossed the road and pulled our parents across the stony section of the beach toward the softer sandy section. We had visited this place before but we hadn’t been on this part of the beach so we were in for a treat.
As we wandered along the top of the pebbles we saw the seawater tempting us away to our left. Mum and dad had little choice but to go to the edge of the water so Lenny and I could find dead crabs, seaweed and cuttlefish pieces washed up along the sand. This was fun, we walked along with grins on our faces and the wind in our ears. The scent was high and Lenny was taking it all into his scent factory. Behind us another beagle strolled past so we took the chance to bay. Loudly. Very loudly. So loudly in fact that people on the promenade heard us and started smiling. Further along the sand Lenny found a dead crab and picked it up. He suddenly realised that seawater tastes disgusting so dropped it immediately and went to grab some seaweed instead. He spat that out too. We strolled along, saying hello to people who all kept their distance from us, so keeping everyone safe whilst the quarantine is still in place. The another beagle came strolling toward us and we met him in customary fashion, proceeding to tangle our leads and try to play bitey face with him. Duly embarrassed at our uncouth behaviour, mum and dad continued to walk away whilst apologising to the other beagle owner. He just laughed. We walked all the way along the beach to a river which we couldn’t cross so we returned to the car, all the while running in circles, tangling our leads and generally making mum and dad laugh. When we got back to the car something strange happened. Dad told Lenny to “Hup” into the boot and he did so immediately. Lenny doesnt like travelling in the car as he still gets some travel sickness but he had just leapt in freely. My brother was so happy from his walk that he had apparently forgotten about his travel sickness. I followed him into my crate and we both laid down for the return home which was nearby. What a morning we both had.
It was as much as we could do to raise our heads later in the day to eat our food. Ok, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but, we were tired and happy. We had been to the beach, we had been sensible when we encountered people and we had a good time. Hopefully everyone follows the rules and Lenny and I can go to the beach more often. Maybe even get an ice cream.
Same breed, different dog. This is a phrase I have been hearing quite often since we have moved kennel. Apologies, since we have moved home.
My parents have been pondering on the difference between Lenny and myself. Specifically the time it has taken Lenny to settle into his new environment, which was about thirty minutes, and myself who hasn’t properly settled after three weeks. Lenny seemed to walk into the house and explored as soon as the external doors were closed. He strolled about sniffing and checking every room with the result that, after thirty minutes or so, he was asleep on the sofa. I strolled about with him, again checking every room. However I seem to be of a mind that this is still a strange place. As a result I haven’t really slept properly since we have arrived, every time someone leaves or enters a room I want to know what’s happening and if a parent happens to be outside the building I pace around the room and then lie very close to the door, awaiting their return. According to some this isn’t very helpful as, opening a door with a beagle behind it, seems to be a hazard to health and human access. Who knew? Lenny just lays in a tight ball, nose tucked under his tail, almost as if he knows that he is safe and secure.
At my last kennel (sorry my last home) I was almost the same behaviourally when someone left the house, or went to retrieve something from the garden, garage or even another room. It is a difficult thing to quantify really but I think I have some inner fear of being left behind once more. When I first adopted my parents back in December 2013, I had been in and out of a home and rescue so I didn’t know what to expect. We worked hard to help me overcome my initial fears of belonging to a place I could trust and rely upon. I had my moments where I could relax and was sometimes found sleeping with a “silly grin on my face”. I suppose I was getting used to the daily cycle and starting to relax when, like a hand grenade, Lenny was dropped into my world. He seemed to feel at home almost immediately whilst I didn’t know what had just happened and was readjusting to a new aspect of my life.
Fast forward to the current home and Lenny wanders in, sniffs, strolls about and then leaps onto the sofa for a snooze. I wander with him, sniff, stroll about, sniff some more, whimper when someone leaves the room and then lay on a chair with my eyelids drooping shut whilst I try to keep them open just in case something is happening. It’s not even as if we have different things here. We have the same sofas, the same chairs, the same beds all over the house, the same blankets, harnesses and leads and the same food in the same bowls. The routine of eating, snoozing, going for a walk and bed time remains pretty much identical. Lenny’s brain seems to just switch him off like the proverbial light, whilst my brain is asking “what’s next, what am I missing, why is this happening”. I think my parents fear I will not be able to settle, that my brain is so “hard wired” that even if I am so tired I can hardly stand on my paws, my brain will still try to tell me not to sleep properly in case I miss something.
The conundrum remains unanswered. I will have to stay awake and alert for more clues. Lenny, stop sleeping as you are supposed to be helping me.
After I had experienced the theft and then return of all my toys, beds and food, it was apparently time to settle in to my new home. I call it my new kennel but my parents insist it’s a home. In any case it is warm, comfy and very different to my previous kennel, sorry I mean home. For a start its on two levels and has these strange things called stairs. Lenny and I have wasted no time in chasing each other up and down these strange stair contraptions that take us to another place called “upstairs”.
Lenny and I also wasted no time in taking our parents out to explore the local area to try and sample the delights it has to offer. So it was that dad woke up with a beautifully executed beagle kidney pounce nice and early on the first full day and he was dispatched to make a cup of tea. We don’t want him slacking now, do we? Within a short time we were exploring the village and met a beagle who lived close by. He was very well behaved and wasn’t on a lead which was both surprising and disappointing. Surprising that he was well behaved and equally as disappointing that he wasn’t up to shenanigans. I suppose we will have to make up for his polite behaviour. Not yet however as we still had to scent where the local critters lived. We went down the road, across a road, up a road, across another road, under a bigger road, over the bridge, along another road and then found another road to walk along. All the while our noses were no more than 5 centimetres (that’s 1.9685 inches to old money aficionados) off the ground. We had to take in all the new smells that the village had to offer us. We had to be careful though as street lights were in different places to those we were used to and we found ourselves too regularly almost upon them. We returned home and rested whilst mum and dad did some unpacking of their belongings. Our stuff had already been unpacked and put away in cupboards, so it was good to see them get their priorities right. We went out a couple more times on the first full day and fell into our beds for a long lazy snooze. In fact I was so tired that I snoozed on Lenny’s bed which was a bit dangerous as he is a bit of a vampire. I think he was equally tired so didn’t bother trying to attack me.
The peace and tranquility was shattered on the first Sunday we were here however. We went out across the fields and were having a great time exploring and seeing new places to enjoy in the future. Suddenly Lenny was pulling and jerking on his lead whilst all the time baying at the top of his voice. Whatever could have possibly caused this commotion. As I looked up, there were seven Roe deer prancing through the field in front of us, maybe 100 yards away. It would have been rude of me if I hadn’t joined in the general commotion so I duly obliged mum and dad by doubling the volume of baying. I am not sure they were all that impressed as we were swiftly turned around and we walked a different path all the time listening to mum and dad muttering something about “why didnt we get Labradors or Poodles?” Then we went out on our final constitutional of the day and a fox must have wandered past the front of our home a short time before. We managed to bay, pull and jerk for the entire walk around the block whilst conveniently forgetting that we had “things” to do. We were quickly reminded of our duties however. Apparently it’s lucky we don’t have neighbours yet.
Then, during the week, we found the lane which leads to the path which leads to the pub which isn’t open yet. Mum and dad seemed happy to have found the path to the pub.
We have behaved ourselves really well so far, even if I do say so myself. There has been quite a bit of disruption to our daily routine. There has been so much unpacking and moving things about that we sometimes didnt know if we were coming or going. We haven’t yet been allowed out into our garden as the turf and soil need time to bed in apparently. It is tantalisingly out of reach for another week or so.
My internet has been non existent for a week or so which means I have some serious catching up to do. I feel like I want to tell you about everything that has happened in one message. I will string them out a little however.
There was sad news indeed that on 4th February one of the best, brightest and most lovable furs made his longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Boot was the brother fur of Charley Beagle who sadly made his way to the Rainbow Bridge in September 2018. Boot was the sensible one (I know Boot and Charleys mum wont mind me saying that) whilst Charley was the maverick with the cheeky streak. Boot was a working Cocker who was always happy when he was out on the moors doing his job. Mind you he was equally as happy curled up in front of the fire, resting his head on a beagle belly, whilst savouring the warmth of the flames. He knew where the pub was so he could walk his parents there without fear of recrimination and they could sit and enjoy themselves. He was the animal whisperer as he had a special knack of being so gentle with every other creature he came into contact with, be it sheep, pig or even a parrot. Boot loved to curl up on his mum and enjoy gentle strokes and ear ruffles.
I had the pleasure, nay the privilege, to meet Boot on a number of occasions and I even introduced him to Lenny. He was at the Beagle World Record when we became record breakers and he was at his home when I arrived unannounced with my parents to help deliver Charley’s bench. I met Boot for the first time when I, again, arrived unannounced at the meet up in Yorkshire. Throughout every meeting he was a fun, happy and wonderful fur who knew he had the best of life with loving parents who looked after him. Even in his dotage, when his legs were beginning to fail him, and the forgetfulness was becoming more prevalent, he still managed to encourage his mum and dad to push him in his chariot wherever he needed to go. He went to his favourite cafe for a cinnamon bun and a ponder.
The world is an emptier place without friends like Boot. Sadly the Rainbow Bridge is gaining more friends whose calling has come. Rest easy Boot my friend, and fare you well. Seek out Charley, Raffa, Gunner, Fred PH dude and many more who have preceded you to the everlasting meadow. I miss you but my heart is full of pride for knowing you and, better still, being your friend.
I noticed something strange happening a while back, maybe in late November. Whilst Lenny and I were snoozing or running around the garden like a couple of hounds possessed, things were going missing in the house. A little freaky but I thought I would keep an eye open in case it kept on happening. Which it did, and I thought I should investigate.
During the course of my attempted reconnaissance I was unceremoniously shooed away by both my parents when they were hiding things in boxes, including our toys, leads, harnesses and some treats which would store for a while so they wouldn’t need them. This only raised my suspicions even further but every time I went to investigate I was told to go and lay down and stop being a trip hazard. Apparently humans cannot see very far when they are carrying boxes and crates around the house. I had no idea. One of the rooms in the house looked like a storage warehouse which was concerning as its a house and not a storage warehouse facility and I am banned from snooping around the boxes.
The weekend has passed and the box numbers have increased. Plenty of stuff is now being put into boxes and then carefully stacked in the rooms that Lenny and I are not allowed to play in. My parents are numbering and labelling everything and more rooms are now being filled with boxes. I never realised they had this much stuff.
My parents seem to be getting more excited, or is it agitated, over the increasing number of boxes which are appearing in my house. These infernal things are starting to block the race tracks that Lenny and I have had around the house for some time now. This is grossly unfair. How am I supposed to chase after him?
The latest weekend has finished and it has snowed so my focus has been on watching Lenny enjoy himself in his first taste of snow. Sadly I have not persuaded him to try yellow snow but I am working on it. In any case a number of boxes have been added to the packed ones stored in the bedroom that Lenny and I are not allowed to enter, let alone play in. This is getting very strange indeed. I will get to the bottom of this mysterious parental activity.
Yawning as I awoke from my slumber on a rainy Thursday morning I am surprised to see the parents already out and about, with more boxes being added to the already groaning stack. Suddenly knock knock, arooooo bark aroooo and we are once again shooed out of the way, put onto our harnesses and kept quiet whilst three men come and steal all our belongings and put them all on a big lorry. We’ll be back tomorrow to get the rest of the stuff, they cheerfully tell us as they leave. I searched around the house and could only see bare rooms, bare walls, bare floors and everything echoed. What was this trickery? I had no time to think about it as my parents were quickly into their stride and cleaning and dusting and making the house look spick and span, whilst all the while being empty. Ok, I will sleep on this and try to work out what has gone on. I was rudely awakened once more on a rainy Friday when three men returned to remove the rest of my belongings. Dad was busy helping them steal our stuff whilst mum held on tight to Lenny and I. We just looked confused at each other. The house was empty, utterly bereft of anything except walls, floors and ceilings. And a roof, of course it still had a roof. A final whizz around with the vacuum cleaner and the lorry doors shut with a clank. And that was it. We were hurriedly bundled into the car and off down the road we went. Two hours later we sat outside another very smart looking house whilst my parents spoke to a man about the house. Then the guys who stole all my belongings were giving them all back to me. I had very confused ears and three hours later, Lenny and I sat in a new house surrounded on four sides by boxes. Mum and dad were there thankfully as they finally explained to us that we were now going to live here, in a new kennel that they had purchased. I had to explore as I wanted to make sure that my treats pennies had been wisely spent. Having wandered, sniffed and nosed about in every place I could find, I think they have spent my treats pennies wisely so I approve.
Lenny and I took the parents for a stroll to have a sniff and to investigate our new local surroundings. Mum and dad were of course extremely grateful that we made sure they walked us whilst it rained and we all got wet and had fun. There are so many walks that we will find here that I am looking forward to checking out the new area. It’s going to be fun as we had already found the muddiest track really close by so that’s a bonus for us. There are plenty of other dogs around here and we even saw a fellow beagle on our first full day. He was very friendly, as you would expect, and was very well behaved, which was a bit surprising.
Hopefully I will be able to explore more places and find more fun things to do. I am looking forward to this, the new chapter in mine and Lenny’s life. We have to wait for the garden to dry out before we can go racing around out there like a couple of possessed hounds. Apparently the turf is very new and the soil is very squashy so we need a dry few weeks. The garden is frustratingly out of reach.
Firstly however we need to find out where all those pesky squirrels live so we can do some serious bothering.
As soon as I managed to open an eye this morning I had a feeling that today would be different and maybe fun. I was proved correct. I was not surprised to see that Lenny had sneaked onto the big bed during the night. He does try his luck far too regularly and usually gets kicked off but last night was quite chilly around here. I knew he was on the big bed as there was a strange lump that wasn’t mum or dad shaped. When I shook to make sure I was heard, Lenny roused from his slumber and slinked past me whilst aiming a sly bite at my ear. I looked out of the door to see the sunrise was beautiful and almost fiery in the sky. We went out for our morning constitutional in the frosty garden and by the time we returned to the kitchen door, the cloud had rolled in so my parents decided to have some breakfast before taking us over the fields. I get used to them taking liberties like this so I settled down at a window to watch for squirrel invaders into my garden. That is when it started, light and fluffy at first and then heavier and heavier. It was snowing and we were going to have fun, I could feel it.
We were harnessed and then out of the door, turn left and down the hill, turn left down the lane and footpath and turn left at the school. Lenny was pulling and yanking on his lead, so much so that mum was having to rein him in as she slipped on the newly laid snow. It was then that I remembered that Lenny hadn’t seen snow before and, looking at the heaviness of the clouds, we were going to get a fair covering of it. Anyway onward and up the hill to the first field which was already filling up with snow. Let the shenanigans commence. We pulled and jerked our way around the field, got snow plough noses and then wandered through the deeper stuff until the bottom of our harnesses acted like snow shovels. Lenny was running around like a fur possessed. He had this silly grin on his face as he tried to run and then bounce through the snow. Along the edge of the next field, up the slope and then toward the big field at the top. I figured that the far end would be the deepest and I was proved right once more when we got there and even I was having to leap almost gazelle like to make sure I walked and landed in the deepest parts. Straight through the woods on the return journey and the trees were covered in their wintery coats. Still Lenny has this grin on his face that he was in his absolute element. I was also enjoying it so much that I had forgotten to introduce him to yellow snow. That I had been warned by my parents not to be so horrible to Lenny didn’t contribute to my forgetfulness at all.
When we got home we both got towelled down and warmed through. Before I had my second breakfast I decided to cavort around the garden only to arrive back at the kitchen door to be captured by dad and then I had to watch Lenny go racing past me to do “snow zooms”. I watched him having so much fun that I felt happy for him. We were a bit worried that he might not like snow or think it very strange stuff. However, watching him run around and aroooing made my little heart sing with pride.
He’s sleeping soundly on one of our eight beds in front of the wood burner at the moment. I wanted this day to come for some time. I wondered what he would make of snow and now I know that he loves the stuff. Maybe making him eat yellow snow is a bit naughty. I’ll save that for another day.
As if yesterdays sad blog wasn’t sufficient for the near future, I heard today of another kind and happy soul who has made their way to the Rainbow Bridge in a distinctly untimely fashion.
My friend Fred lived in Germany with his parents. I came across Fred early in my Twittering career and he has remained a resolute and funny pal ever since. Most weekends I would see that he was accompanying his mum on her Parkrun and he was clearly the centre of attention for the volunteers who were there to make sure everyone got around safely. Let’s be honest, he was always going to be the centre of attention, the handsome devil. Even when it was time for dinner I would see Fred waiting im-patiently beside the counter for his mum to hurry up and make the food, cut up the fruit and ensure that he had something tasty to eat. Typical beagle you may say. There is nothing wrong with making sure our parents do things right and on time, say I. Whether it was sunshine, rain or snow (I wonder if he ever had all three?) he was outside and enjoying his life running around being silly and making everyone smile.
His parents were supposed to be married last year and Fred was to be the ring bearer. I suspect they will be sad when they do finally have their lovely day and there is no four legged pal to accompany them to make sure they do it all correctly.
So when today I saw that he had succumbed to a number of nasty tumours, I was saddened to see that he had made the longest journey. His parents made the bravest, and the most difficult, decision to release him to the company of those who have passed to the Rainbow Bridge before him. As with Lucy yesterday there will be far too many of our friends and allies who will be awaiting his arrival. He leaves behind a legacy of fun and a life lived fully. Run free Fred, free from cares, woes and troubles. You are once again young, healthy and you now have the warmth of the everlasting sun upon your fur.
We only get one go at this life. Live that life like Fred. And Raffa. And Gunner. And Lucy. And Pruny. And Charley. And Seb. And Bean. And Port Hunter. And far too many others that I apologise for not mentioning.
It was a lovely crisp start to my day. The rain of the previous couple of days had cleared to the east although for many people in the Midlands and north of England it was still sadly pouring down, causing flooding and misery aplenty. Our walk was nice as there weren’t too many people out and those that were seemed a little cheery due to the blue skies and chilly wind. Lenny and dad saw a rainbow in the distance, away toward the horizon.
Once we had returned and our second half breakfast was consumed, we went about our daily routine of messing about and playing bitey face before looking to snooze on our beds. Suddenly dad looked up from his computer and told mum something that made them both very sad. He had seen that Lucy Beagle whose parents visited the UK from Arizona in December 2019 had been taken ill quite suddenly. The most difficult but kindest decision had been made to release Lucy from her suffering and she went across the Rainbow Bridge to seek out far too many of our friends who have already made the journey.
I first came across Lucy a few years ago and when we spoke she was always polite friendly and clearly had a love for life and everything it involved. She would complain about toe nail theft, she would badger her parents for food and then look at them pleading for more in case they had forgotten that she had just had something. She would wait and listen for her parents to return from this work malarkey that they all seem to do, and then curl up and revel in the love that she was, quite correctly, given. Even when she damaged her cruciate ligament later in 2020 there was never a bad word from Lucy. She enjoyed the life she was living and the friends who she shared it with. When her parents visited the UK, both Lenny and I had the privilege of trying to show them some interesting things in London that maybe people aren’t aware of when they visit. I hope they enjoyed their trip. Lucy wrote a guest blog, which I was more than happy to publish, about her parents adventures in the UK.
I will miss Lucy, she is a good buddy. I say “is” because she may be gone from sight but she will remain forever in the hearts of her parents and many other friends around the world. I chased a squirrel in her honour today and mum said I nearly got it. Run free sweet Lucy, you are released from your worldly duties. You are free from pain and suffering, so seek out the friends who are on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge to look after you and show you the way. Dad just looked at me and I think his heart hurts a little as he knows I am getting older.
Ugh good grief it’s depressing looking out of the window recently. January has arrived with a vengeance, quarantine is apparently in full swing again and the rain and cloud have descended to dampen my mood.
I have been accompanying Lenny on walks over the last few days as the weather has been so rotten that neither of us can be overly enthusiastic about strolling too far for too long. Since Lenny’s dismal impression of Captain Oates on 5th January, the weather has become damper and more depressing. As a result we have been out and about, got wet, been dried when we return and then run around the garden for about twenty minutes in the morning and then again in the afternoon. The log burner has been lit and we can snooze in front of that, so there is a small silver lining. Ok its a warm orange glow. It’s about all we can be bothered to manage to be honest.
This morning was no different in that it was dark, the rain had persisted all night and our parents took the usual inordinate age to get their wet weather walking gear on. I don’t know why they haven’t got fur and then shake regularly like we do? Anyway out we went, and it was decided for us that Lenny and I didn’t need a long walk. Three miles would be enough. I wasn’t in the mood to argue, to be truthful. Around the lane into Pednor we sploshed, up the rise in the road and follow the road around to the right, then down the hill and through the gate across the field, through the next gate and across that field, through the last gate and turn right toward home. We didn’t even get to wash our paws off in the river as we didn’t need to. Home and we were duly towelled down so cue much running around the house playing bitey face whilst rubbing our still damp fur across as many items of furniture as we could manage. For some reason the parents weren’t enamoured with our efforts. Then it was into the routine of breakfast, pester mum, chase each other, pester dad, snooze, watch dad light the wood burner, run around the garden whilst the rain abated temporarily and then repeat the previous activities of running around and annoying parents.
It’s sleep time so I am off to the garden for a pre snooze run around to make sure there are no squirrel or deer invaders. Wish my parents luck as it’s very soggy under paw out there and if I get a scent I could be a long time.