Marigold, our friend

I was going to write a blog this week on another set of wonderful people who rescue dogs and bring them to the safety and security of loving homes here in the UK. However, I heard some awful news overnight about one of my dear friends, who I never met, but whom I felt I knew.

I am writing too many blog articles about friends who are going to the Rainbow Bridge. Today is no exception and it fills me with dread and quite some sorrow to be tackling the subject once more.

Marigold lived in Midwest America, she was 13 and a half which is a pretty good age for a beagle. Marigold was one of the happiest, laid back, most outgoing and friendly pals I have ever woofed with.

Marigold happy as usual

Marigold was always out exploring the lake, the park, the parking lot and even the takeaway section of the local burger joint. She loved life, she never had a cross woof for any body or any pal. She is a thoroughly decent, kind and lovely friend.

Enjoying a stroll by the lake

Everyone loved Marigold and Marigold loved everyone. She passed to the Rainbow Bridge peacefully and with a piece of her mum and dad’s hearts going with her. If I am truthful, she has taken a piece of all her friends hearts with her. It is an honour to know of you Marigold, and it is an equal honour to know that I am one, amongst many, of your friends.

Come on, the critters are over here

Run free dear sweet Marigold for you are out of pain and suffering. Farewell my friend until we meet again and you can show me the way across the Rainbow Bridge. Today I patrolled in your honour.

Farewell sweet Marigold

Farewell but never goodbye, Marigold my friend. The world seems a little emptier today.

I have something in my eye.

Big brother is watching you, Lenny

I’m getting used to this being a “big brother” idea. Ok, so I am not his brother in the strictest sense of the word. However he needed help settling in and as the senior beagle, I could step in.

Once we had recognised more fully that Lenny’s initial position was pretty much the same as mine when I arrived, the ideas started to come back to us. For instance how had mum and dad handled walking me? Did that work? If not, let’s see if there is something different can be done. How did they resolve the walking? What happened when I didn’t want to sleep in my bed, but on the big bed? How did they sort it out. How long did it take for me to become used to waiting for my food instead of diving straight in? Could I help or hinder their attempts at ensuring Lenny wasn’t the same as me. Hang on, what’s that last one all about!

There is a significant difference though. When I arrived there was no other dog to greet me and to show me the ropes as it were. I wandered into mum and dad’s life and apparently turned it upside down. We were all learning as we went along and we all made mistakes along the way. However there were also little triumphs which became more and more frequent. When Lenny arrived on the scene I was in a position to lend mum and dad my expertise in handling rescue beagles. Whether they wanted to listen to my woofs of wisdom, I don’t know, but I offered them anyway. It seems they already had a pretty good idea of handling a disruptive influence so they were able to use some of their knowledge on little Lenny. Hang on, that’s another slight on me isn’t it? Ugh good grief.

His training has helped him understand that he has a home for life here. He has to brush up on some manners such as not snatching treats from mum and dad’s fingers as well as waiting for the ok before eating his food from his bowl. He is doing really well on these, and even I have impressed ears for him. This also means he is more likely to listen to commands, unlike me on most occasions. Dad said that Lenny had understood “leave” very quickly when he was at training last week. I know they are practising regularly as I hear “Leave” and I even I have to double check the command isn’t for me. Having said all this, I am ahead of Lenny in some respects. I do know to sit at the kerb when crossing the road and waiting for my food bowl to actually be placed on the floor before I inhale my food. I know to walk close and I do know about not pulling hard when we go down slippery slopes. These are just some of things I have learnt, as I am often times told that I am a good boy when I do the right thing. I think it comes from repetition and knowing that I will get a tickle or some treats for being good. Lenny will have to learn these things too, along with many other new tricks it seems. Not that I am enjoying watching him being put through his paces each day, of course. No, not me.

Did someone say “Leave” or “Dinner time”?

I have been watching mum and dad since Lenny arrived and it occurred to me that the relaxed aura which had come into our life recently and prior to Lenny was regressing a little. We had become much more accustomed to one another and I was relaxing sufficiently to ensure that they weren’t on the edge of their seats every time I went out into the garden or wandered off to lay on a bed in another room. Now some of the concern seems to have crept back into their lives. I suppose it doesn’t help that Lenny and I usually follow each other around the house, trying to nibble each others ankles and ears to provoke the other into a squabble. We are reducing the number of times we start picking on each other for a squabble though. He is gradually understanding that he can stroll about and snooze in whatever dog bed he wants to, or lay on the rug and sun puddle. I think that, once the training has taken more effect, he will be able to wander around without thinking that he is being watched all the time and without mum and dad wondering where the little tyke has got to. Again though, they are relaxing with him as he is becoming more comfortable in the house and garden.

Chewing on an after dinner stick

I am not sure I am the model big brother for Lenny. We do tend to mess about quite a bit and the squabbling and silliness can continue for some time. We enjoy our time out in the garden. Once the rough and tumble of play fighting has eased we can do our own thing which usually means me sniffing for squirrels and Lenny chewing sticks. The first walk in the morning is sometimes the best as we are both scenting all the intruders in the garden from the previous night. Sometimes I want to play and other times I am lending mum and dad a paw when they are trying to teach Lenny to calm down and rest for longer periods during the day. I am quite excitable sometimes and this may have an adverse effect on him. As I said a short time ago, we are getting better at leaving each other alone for longer and the level of play fighting has subsided. We can wander around the garden minding our own business. We eat together and don’t try to steal each others food (as much as we originally did) and we can snooze in our beds close together. Often I lay and watch Lenny when he’s snoozing. I wonder if I was like that when I was a pup, if I was pesky and always wanting to find out where the boundaries are and how far can I push those boundaries before getting told off. I wonder if I can do things differently to help mum and dad with Lenny’s settlement into the house and routine. I know what they would say to that.

I wonder if he is happy? What I mean by “happy” is, content in his heart and knows that he is safe and loved, rather than just thinking “its a nice garden and there are beds and food so this should be alright”. I hope he does know that he is safe and loved because that is precisely what he is.

He’s alright I suppose

Yes even by me, his naughty big brother.

He’s growing on me. I suppose.

It’s been eight weeks since my little brother arrived in my house. Eight long weeks of getting used to each other and giving Lenny a chance to find his paws in a new home. When he arrived, no one really knew what was going to happen. In fact it’s still like that, sometimes. However, even I have to admit, that things are changing albeit gradually.

We are his first proper home and he would need some time to adjust and settle. Indeed we would also need time to adjust to having a lively young pup in the house. I have regaled you all with the early days of trials, tribulations and shenanigans as well as Lenny getting his first experience of training with local professional trainers. Dad is included in the training and we still aren’t certain who exactly is being taught sit, stay, down and leave it.

Anyway they postponed the second training session by a week as the weather was really bad and as the session is outdoors so everyone would have got very wet. Dad decided it might be a good idea if Lenny went to visit his grandma. I have met her quite a few times and she is really nice. She even has tasty ankles which I always try to lick. It makes her laugh and I know she loves me. I told Lenny to get her ankles if he could as she would laugh and love him like we do. So, they set off in the car only for dad to notice after 15 minutes or so that Lenny was drooling and looking quite frightened and trying to pace around in the car boot travel crate. When they arrived at Grandma’s I am sorry to report that Lenny was ill and was very eager to get out of the crate. This didn’t bode well for the return trip. However he managed to get home without further problem. Mum and dad started looking up what might be wrong with him and it seems most likely that he gets motion sickness. They also asked some of our many friends if any other beagles suffered from motion sickness. If so, how did they get round it. There were some very helpful replies especially from other Cyprus Beagles parents. So mum and dad decided they would block out his peripheral vision in the car in time for his next visit to the training sessions. Dad reported that Lenny seemed far more comfortable and happy travelling this time. Lenny even half heartedly wanted to get into the car for the return trip from the training. I think it helped that they had a full on session so his brain was probably quite tired from all the thinking he had to do.

Proud ears at learning new things

It seems that pups are fairly susceptible to having motion sickness and we hope we have gone some way to helping him in his plight. This is a shame and I want him to grow out of it. I have woofed with him that he isnt allowed to have this motion sickness as we have way too meet ups with friends for him to be being ill. He woofed he will try to get better.

Now that was funny.

In the meantime we have been tearing around the garden like a couple of banshees, chasing everything we can find and generally being very beagley about life. We are getting on with each other far better than we were a few weeks ago. He’s even managing not to bite my ears so often, so that’s all good.

A beagle centipede? No, just my brother in hot pursuit

Time and patience. We march on.

Lenny’s learning – yes he is.

As you may know, I have a little brother. I say little but this isn’t true as he is as tall as me and has longer legs than I do. We actually think he is related to a giraffe.

We believe he’s around 8-9 months old so his puppy-ish brain should be capable of processing information and instructions given to him by the various people who now run his life, or believe they run his life. Since he has been here, we have tested different methods of possible training for him. One of the current methods is being loose lead walked by mum each morning, whilst I am dragging dad around some of my favourite places and getting my hunting fix. Lenny is then taken out for more loose lead walking around lunchtime so that he can remember some of the things he has picked up on the earlier walk. Mum says it’s quite frustrating sometimes as she has to stop every time he pulls hard on the lead but often times he can walk quite nicely. There are always distractions such as squirrels, cats, people and cars on his walking route so it is taking some time for him to understand what is required of him. He’s getting there but its just a bit slow sometimes.

Come out and play all you rabbits

However we are ratcheting the pressure up somewhat as he is going to training school for the next 6 weeks with dad and he has no idea. I mean Lenny has no idea, not dad. Although maybe I need to hold that thought until the training school has done their thing to both of them. I think that mum and dad are looking forward to seeing Lenny become better able to understand basic commands and actually react well to them. Apparently it is too late for an older beagle in the house, but I have no idea who this other beagle is.

Wonder if I can hide from training in here?

Lenny and dad have come back from their first training session and dad is smiling. My little furry brother, however, seems to be quite tired. Somewhat disconcertingly his breath smells of treats so this requires some interrogation. Am I allowed to do waterboarding if he doesn’t admit he’s been fed copious quantities of sausage treats? Dad said it was very interesting, good fun and he’s picked up some good tips and ideas. This all sounds a little ominous for my brother. Should I tell him though?

He’s going to be clicker trained, has learnt sit, down and basic recall. Also he’s going to be socialised as much as possible every day. Dad was advised that Lenny needs to be walked toward other well behaved dogs and their owners to try and get him used to being around other furs and not over-reacting or baying and pulling. This could prove interesting as there are also cats and squirrels on his circuit walk and he always pulls and yelps at them.

Concentrating on my “down”. Ooh a leaf, delicious!

What will he make of it all when the training days are finished in five weeks? We will just have to wait and see. I will keep you all updated, I promise. In the meantime there are regular training sessions in the garden when mum and dad teach him to sit, recall and lay down. Even I have worked out that if I sit, lie down and come back when called, I can get treats too.

Do the training, blag some treats.

Win win.

Farewell Port Hunter

It is with sadness that I must write of another beagle friend who has passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Port Hunter lived in northern California. I never met him, but I was honoured to be able to communicate with him regularly and call him my friend.

His love of life, his sense of adventure and spirit of freedom always shone through. His life was full of fun and adventures. His mum was his rock, and PH was hers I think. They were inseparable, as often as possible being out on the hills and trails enjoying the sights and scents of the countryside. PH became ill over the last few years and soldiered on despite being poorly. He was determined to enjoy everything he possibly could at his mums side.

Lovely poppies

I patrolled in his honour today. I walked the fields and byways near where I live. I smelled the scents, admired the views and peered from the top of the hills just the same, as I know PH would be doing on his patrols. I even managed to chase a squirrel up a tree. I hope he would be proud of my efforts.

In your honour PH dude.

It is a privilege to know friends like PH. I never met him but I feel as if he was a good friend. We spoke on many things being good, bad or funny. Always polite, always approachable and always as happy as possible, he will be missed.

Farewell dear, sweet Port Hunter, travel well to the Rainbow Bridge. We shall meet in the future and be able to patrol together. In the meantime rest easy dear friend, for your time down here is done. Gone from our sight but never absent from our hearts. Always farewell and never goodbye.

Why?

I have sad ears.

Oh brother! Lenny, wherefore art thou.

I have briefly taken over Dexter’s blog to introduce myself. I had better hurry along before he notices that I have borrowed his computer.

Here goes. I was found as a stray in Cyprus. The people that found me said I was a stray on the streets. I went to the municipal pound who then phoned the nice Cyprus Beagle people. Anyway it only matters that I was found and rescued by Cyprus Beagles. I wasn’t in rescue in Cyprus long before I got a plane ride and found myself in the UK looking for a new home with a family to watch over me and make sure I have a life full of fun, direction and treats. I must not forget treats.

When Dexter and his mum and dad came to see me, I had no idea who they were but I could see straightaway that Dex is a good lad with a kind heart. I introduced him to my friends and we played a while in the garden. We went out for a walk whilst the humans chatted about things and I introduced Dex to the local park. I told him I hadn’t long been in the rescue lady’s house but I knew the park well. Dex and his parents left fairly soon after arriving and to be honest I went back to playing with my buddies. It was only when I was put into the car the following Saturday did I wonder what was happening. I was on the motorway and we were going somewhere new.

We arrived at Dexter’s house, went in and I immediately ran out into the garden, with Dex in hot pursuit. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. This was great, there were flowerbeds, grass, trees, hedges, a log store and a shed. There was even a gravel patch. Wow. Just wow. I raced around at breakneck speed with Dex, trying to take in all the sights and smells. All the while he wanted to know who I am and where I was from. It felt like we didn’t have time to relax on the lawn so I just whizzed about, enjoying myself. Then the ladies that brought me here said goodbye and told me to be a good boy. And they were gone! I was here, in a new house with new people and a new friend. I had no idea what was going on so I raced around the garden a bit more. This was all new to me, and to Dex as well. He was a little confused at this new young tearaway suddenly arriving in his house and disrupting his routine. It was a lovely sunny day so we spent a large amount of time in the garden, mainly engaged in play fighting and bitey face games.

Getting to know my brother better.

Only when we were both sufficiently tired did we retire to the living room and took the chance to have a nap, before commencing bitey face again. These extensive sessions of play fighting would be a recurring theme for a while, unfortunately. When it came to bedtime, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that I had a bed all to myself with blankets and even a cushion base. Dex had the grace to show me which bed was mine. What a good fur.

When I awoke early the next morning I had to check around me to see if this was happening. Indeed it was real as there was Dex in his bed sleeping away with his leg hanging out of his bed. This was a sight I would have to get used to. I thought it might be fun to wake him up, however this proved to be a bad idea. He was already awake. Not only did we start play fighting but it also woke up Dexters mum and dad who weren’t best pleased with the early morning beagle alarm. At this point I can only confirm what Dexter said in his blog about the water spray bottle being wielded precisely by mum and dad. We were both soaked quickly. It was effective though, as we stopped for a while. I had a walk in the afternoon with Dex and he showed me one of his favourite walks in the fields behind his house. This was fun. I could get used to this. In fact, I have got used to it.

The first week went by in a flash to be honest. It was all new to me what with a routine that was being implemented and new things I needed to learn. In amongst all the routine and rules, Dex & I were squabbling for considerable periods and this was causing mum and dad to become worried. We were new to this “living together” lark and we didn’t know what we were supposed to be doing. Dex had been an only child for the first 5 years in his house, and I came from a background with no real system, routine or rules. Both Dex & I heard the humans speaking to the ladies who had delivered me. There was concern in their voices and I think the travel crate was in the car ready for my return. Maybe this was the reality check I needed. I could see they wanted me to settle, to succeed in making this my home and to enjoy life with a new brother. Both Dex & I could see that we needed to change something, but what?

The following day Dex and I were in the garden. We started play fighting and the water bottle didn’t make an appearance. We must have gone on for an hour or so and only when it got a little heated did either mum or dad step in. However no water bottle at first. We were letting off steam, sorting out our differences if you like or clearing the air. When we went a little too far in the play fighting and the water spray did appear. Eventually we both relaxed on the grass, albeit some way apart from one another.

Hello brother.

Gradually there seemed to be a better understanding of the routine. As each day passed I got more of an idea that there are meal times, down times, training and walks. At the end of the second week, there was another phone call and this time the tone was better. Once they had finished the call, I got tickles and back scratches from mum and dad who also told Dex and I that we are now brothers so we had better start behaving nicely. I was staying. Excellent news. We looked at each other and knew it was up to us now to make it work. Dex had been at this stage before, he told me, and he didn’t want to mess this up for me.

So, you’re sleepy as you’ve read all those books?

When we were out on walks together we would be alongside each other for a while until one of us got a scent and went on our merry way individually. I was pulling on the lead and harness trying to copy what Dex was doing, where he was going and what he was smelling in the hedgerows and fields. Apparently this couldn’t go on so it was decided that I would be walked separately to Dex and I was also to get some training in the garden and local roads, where there are fewer distractions. I have been booked on some training sessions which, apparently, I am going to enjoy. It seems that one beagle who pulls a lot is quite sufficient in this house.

I am three weeks into this new adventure, I am settling down and the routine is becoming more like normality. Dex and I still get to play in the garden and house, but we are also becoming accustomed to each other. We have proven, thus far, that we can live with each other. I have a great chance to make sure this is my forever home and I don’t want to mess it up. Dex is a good fur and an excellent brother. Hopefully I won’t let him down. His mum and dad are now my mum and dad. I feel loved and wanted so all is good.

Giving me a cuddle, or pinning me down?

I will update further when I get a chance to borrow his computer. In the meantime I’m going to try and be a good brother to Dex. Wish me luck.

Is he talking about me again?

Look out he’s coming back.

The art of compromise

My life was turned upside down recently when a new beagle strolled into my house. My mum and dad and I took our time to decide whether to agree to adopt, and accept, Lenny. He’s my new Beagle brother rescued by Cyprus Beagles. His presence upon a house which has gradually become quieter, more organised and less stressful, would have a lasting impact and we wanted to try and make sure we were doing the right thing by all concerned. We had read and seen too many stories of dogs being rescued and re-homed almost on a whim and it doesn’t work out for one reason or another quite soon after the adoption has taken place.

It was, as we expected, a little hectic when he first arrived. For the first week in particular things were really upside down and nothing was in any real order. We were all getting used to having a young, probably disorientated, very lively eight month old pup running around. To be honest I didn’t truly know what hit me. I have been an only “child” since December 2013 so the change for me was probably the greatest test. I am used to my own company, my own bowls, beds and which parent to snuggle up to when I feel a little blue. Now there was this young Beagle champing at the bit, and chomping on my ears. Adjustments were clearly needed however after being on my own for so long. The question is how would I adapt to the changes and how would he find his paws.

That’s where the squirrels live, just over there

There are some rules which we all try to stick to with Lenny. Firstly my night time bed is my bed, so he doesn’t sleep in it. My bed on a chair also belongs to me so that is a no-go for him. And that’s it for the hard and fast rules really. Most other things are fairly flexible and I sometimes don’t seem too bothered by him trying to steal toys or food from me, for instance. In fact he tried it with some of my food when we were eating recently and I almost just stood back. We are being fed side by side and at the same time, as this is the clearest way to show that there is no favouritism between us in certain aspects of living here. On this occasion he just stuck his nose into my food bowl and it was only when he was unceremoniously stopped by dad that he got the message.

As soon as he arrived he stole a toy that was a present given to me by a friend. I didn’t seem too concerned by it. He has pretty much destroyed the toy now so it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t too fussed. There seems to be some toy guarding which mum and dad will work on with him. It is lucky that I don’t really have many toys so the said guarding isn’t a huge issue for me.

He is removed from the big bed if he tries to get onto it for the night. He wakes up way too early for the rest of the house and we regularly play fight in the garden, until mum or dad steps in when we become over boisterous with each other. Again there is no favouritism when it comes to being sprayed with the water bottle.

I am getting used to having him around if truth be told and I think he is becoming more accustomed to living here and having some structure to his life now.

Sorry, what did you say? I was distracted by a fly.

We can see the subtle changes and these are becoming clearer each day that passes. When we were first together, there was quite a large amount of bitey face play fighting. This still takes place however it is becoming less common and we are learning to break off from playing without being told to by mum or dad. We are becoming more accustomed to one another and can walk past and lay down near to each other in the garden or in the house more often. We are able to eat side by side fairly well albeit with a parent standing between us.

He arrived without basic training and has been booked onto a course for beginners in a couple of weeks. Whilst awaiting the start of his training course with the professionals he is learning to give paw, sit, stay, lay down and to wait. All of these are being applied fairly vigorously so he learns quickly and can take these manners on with him for later in life. Another part of his training is to walk properly on a lead so that, one day, he will be able to go off lead in certain areas where the scents aren’t too great to override commands. I won’t be able to go off lead outside of my garden and I know this. It may be difficult for me watching him run around free as a bird at first but it is something I will just have to get used to. Given my early escapes and escapades when I was rescued and arrived, I am thinking it is better to be safe than sorry. I hope for Lenny’s sake that he can be trained and then trusted to go off lead in some places. I do think it would be a bit rotten luck for him to be shackled for the rest of his life here.

So, the humans are pushovers, then? This could be fun.

We are getting along more as buddies now. When I wrote the blog about his first two weeks, I tried to express what happened day to day. As he’s been here for three weeks now I can try to provide a wider appreciation about how we have adapted to each other in a situation which is very new for both of us, of course. We didn’t know what to expect of each other at first. This isn’t surprising. We were quite rough with some of the playing and it seems there was an element of trying to sort out the hierarchy. This was resolved by mum and dad stamping their authority on the situation. We were antagonising each other from first light when he arrived but now we can stroll around the garden together without nibbling each others ears or neck. We can go out on lead walks pretty much side by side although this is most likely because my prey drive is very high and I don’t know he’s there half the time. Slowly, slowly the changes are coming. I hope for his sake that the changes continue and we can live together peacefully. I am adapting too, this is a big change for me. I think sometimes that people forget that the biggest challenge is for the incumbent dog who’s life alters immediately when they’re being asked to accept another dog into their life.

I need to get used to seeing the camera.

He will make a good brother. He’s gone up in my estimation since he arrived. The best part is that he will be a good brother to me.

Happy because he’s staying