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

The whirlwind

It was a Friday, I remember. The 19th of April 2019. “Come on”, said mum and dad, “we’re off somewhere new for an adventure”. Into the car and around the motorway we went. Indeed this was somewhere new. Somewhere called Essex. When we arrived in somewhere new called Essex, I wandered into a new house and was immediately let off the lead. Suddenly, out of nowhere, 7 beagles, a Jura Hound and 2 Dachshunds were onto me, arooing and barking. What was this, I wondered. It was like a maelstrom of tails and fur. I wasn’t complaining as it looked like fun but I was becoming tired after a while. Some time later I was reshackled and we wandered around the nearby park with one of the beagles that had originally assailed me. We didnt really pay much attention to one another as there were many sniffs to take in. One of the Dachsunds came along as well so we kept on waiting for him to catch up. He had little legs. Mum and dad did plenty of talking and then we left the lady who lived there. We came home and it was back to normality. Or was it?

A week later on Saturday 27th April – day 1

It was a week later on a Saturday and I wondered if there was something wrong. You see, I don’t usually get a double parent walk at the weekend. However today they were both anxious to make sure I was out and about quite early. Having returned from my walk, I resumed snoozing until there was a knock at the door to my house. I wanted to ensure that the intruders knew who’s home it was, but I was immediately told to sshhh. How rude, I thought. The front door was closed and the door to the kitchen opened. I saw that one of the beagles who I had met the week before was standing in my kitchen. It was the same beagle who had walked with me around the park. What was this sorcery? How did this beagle get here? Who were these ladies standing in my kitchen talking to my mum and dad? I decided to disregard all the questions and just show this beagle around my garden. Fortunately, as I was off lead, I could run around having unfettered fun. We ran around and around like a couple of wailing banshees, so much so that the grass was a blur beneath our paws. He was a bit quick, this beagle visitor. We decided we would graduate quickly to bitey face games and I was glad to see that he was also quite good at this too. The humans were deep in discussion most of the time. However they still noticed when bitey face was getting a little rough. Before I knew what was going on, the two ladies left the house and the beagle visitor was still here. I was a little confused.

You’re the boss, right? Uh huh.

At this point mum and dad looked at each other and were clearly making plans to try and keep us in order and to restrict the shenanigans which undoubtedly would follow. Unfortunately for me this meant that a water spray bottle was used far too often and usually on my head when I got too rough. To be honest, I was soaked. Darkness soon arrived and I was ready to go to bed. My house guest was still here, I still had confused ears. I’m cool with visitors borrowing a bed so I kindly showed him what to do when it was bed time. He looked a little unsure as to where he could sleep so I jumped into a bed next to him and showed him it was a comfy place to curl up.

Sunday 28th April

Morning sun broke early through the curtains and I opened a weary eye. He was still here. This was great. A round of early Sunday morning supervised bitey face in the garden was followed by a brisk walk with dad. We returned to find mum and my house guest in the garden. She seemed to be showing him some training, so I just got on with eating my breakfast. We managed to get another seriously good session of bitey face, and then shenanigans, in before we were harnessed up for a second time and we went for a pack walk to the local fields. This was great fun, I couldn’t believe my visitor was still here.

When we got back, dad picked up the house guest and stood on the scales. Normally this is not something that dad does voluntarily as it usually ends up with fits of hysterical laughter. However this time he looked at mum and said “10.3 kilos” when he stepped off. Now, even as a beagle, I know that dad doesn’t weigh 10.3 kilos. Darkness fell once more, and the house guest was still here. This time he understood quite quickly that the comfy bed within a bed was the place to go. Let the chorus of snoring commence.

Monday 29th April

Back to school. Wake up early, stretch and there he is still curled up, nose pressed tightly into the side of the fluffy bed. I thought, this is great, as I tried to get past him without waking him up. No chance, as he was onto me like a flash, his little teeth nibbling my ear. Right, I’ll show you, I told him in no uncertain terms and we became a squabble of beagles writhing on the floor. At this point I should woof that this isn’t the best way to wake up my mum and dad, who smartly separated us and made sure that shenanigans were cut short. I had another long walk with dad and this time I returned to find the house guest asleep in a chair. Mum had already taken him out for some training. I was getting a little more accustomed to him now, so the bitey face waited, ooh, until five minutes after I had returned home. However this session was also terminated fairly smartly as we were “getting too rough and needed some down time”. We’re Beagles, hello! Earth calling my parents. Soon after our fun was stopped I realised that even whirlwinds blow themselves out now and again. My house guest seems to like sleeping, somewhat surprisingly, more than I do. I accept that chasing each other around the house and garden, aroooing at the top of our lungs and playing bitey face for ages, may have something to do with our combined tiredness. However he goes out like a light.

Synchronised snoozing

The afternoon was topped off with our first zoom around the garden without close supervision. Mum and dad felt they could trust us to race around and not play bitey face as much. We did not disappoint them. Kind of. My house guest is mighty quick across the ground. However I know all of the shortcuts so I could keep up with him.

Before he went to bed, he had a bit of an accident. I think he thought that mum and dad would be angry with him, but they just changed the duvet and put the cover in the wash. He was shaking a bit in his bed but he needn’t have worried. These two are kind, I can vouch for that. I thought I would help him settle in his bed as he looked a little worried. He seems alright, for a pupster.

Om nom. Can’t believe Dex let me have the chewy rhino.

Tuesday 30th April

Yawn, stretch and morning is here. I slept so deeply last night, I can’t imagine what caused that to happen. Anyway we managed to wake mum and dad up again, but our shenanigans were cut short equally quickly. Dad and I went out for a walk whilst the house guest and mum went off for a shorter “training” walk around part of one of my favourite places, Pednor. I had a great time strolling around the fields at White Hill.

He was asleep when I got back so he must have had a good time and learned some walking tips. A quick (read 30 minutes) whizz around the garden chasing each other and general shenanigans mixed with rough and tumble ensued. I think my nap is well earned. My house guest seems to be following me around a little more. We aren’t playing bitey face as often and we can walk past each other without being naughty. Something must be wrong. He’s calming down and, apparently, so am I.

Tip toeing past the sleepy old Beagle Harrier

We had great zooms around the garden again and when we were told to break it up, we did. Wow, I must be getting old as I actually listened to my parents. We had our dinners together today, for the first time and we didn’t hassle each other. He doesn’t try to pick fights when I am on my bench bed which is good as I can get some down time.

Where is that pesky young pupster?

He does eat quite a few sticks though so they keep him occupied. Dad soon put a stop to the twigs on the grass by cutting it and hoovering them all up with the lawnmower. Bad luck little pal. I keep on looking at him and wondering if I was like that when I was a pupster. I don’t remember but I hope so. Whisper it quietly, but I am getting a bit more used to him after a few days. We will see what the next days bring.

Wednesday 1st May

Morning everyone. As dawn broke I looked wearily out of my bed. My house guest is still here and he hasn’t chomped my ears yet. Things are looking up clearly. We had the first part of our breakfasts together, although we were supervised closely by mum and dad. I was then off for another walk with dad, this time to the fields which is always fun as I get to pull on the lead and try to chase deer and squirrels. My house guest went off for another training walk with mum.

Once we returned he was asleep in the chair so I decided to try and get into the house without disturbing him. I was successful as far as getting through the door. Sadly he was onto me like a flash once I got into the living room. We became the customary squabble of beagles in the various rooms as we continued our now traditional, and extensive, sessions of bitey face games.

I shall pretend to be asleep, then pounce

I was so engrossed with the renewed shenanigans that I completely forgot that I hadn’t yet had my second breakfast. I have breakfast in two halves, not two whole breakfasts, sadly. Anyway, it seems that we are learning to play nicely sometimes when we are in the grounds and the house. Mum and dad are getting a bit more relaxed with us being together and the water sprayer hasn’t been used as much. I have just realised again that my house guest sleeps an awful lot, and in all sorts of strange positions.

Comfy? Of course

We were wandering around in the garden just before lunch and I was pleased that the water spray bottle hadn’t been used on my head for quite some time. Then I realised that my house guest was sniffing around the orchard, some 20 metres away. Maybe there is a connection between the water spray and shenanigans? I will have to think about this a little further.

You know, it’s weird having a little house guest around. I am so used to being an only dog around here that sharing beds, my grounds, lending him a harness, lending him a food bowl and allowing him to sleep in one of my six beds, takes a little getting used to. I think he wants to be friendly but he keeps on trying to nip my ears when we aren’t playing bitey face. Then he wants to snuggle up but I don’t seem to want to. Maybe this will take a little more getting used to.

It’s lucky he’s good at sleeping as mum is looking up training tips for him, to see if they can bring him a bit more into line and get some good habits instilled early. I’m not sure he would be cheered up if he knew what they are looking at teaching him. Apparently it’s too late for me, as a wise and hardy older Beagle Harrier. Phew.. Anyway, he’s been here nearly four days. Time has flown.

Thursday 2nd May

Morning breaks and the sun streams through the windows. My house guest is asleep and I am gasping for some water. No sooner am I out of bed than my now customary shadow is close by. Mum and dad are clearly wiser to the upcoming commotion and are out and about quicker than usual. We took breakfast together and mum is teaching him some more manners when it comes to waiting for his bowl to at least be put down on to the floor. He’ll learn.

Dad decided to take me for a stroll across Pednor this morning and we bumped into my house guest early into the walk. He is still under initial training by mum. We went our separate ways after a short distance together so he could concentrate. Through the field went dad and I, past the horses and up onto the wooded path, down into the valley and then up the hill on the other side. Turn right at the top and road walk it back to home. I love this part of my walk, its really pretty in the early sunshine.

Anyway we returned just after mum, to find the second half of my breakfast was about to be provided so it didn’t take long before we were out in the garden. Resumption of bitey face was instant and my head became wet equally instantly.

Grrr bark woof arooo

Then I did something really stupid. We were in the kitchen and still playing. Dad was wiping the water bowl spillage off the floor and I might have nipped his arm in my excitement. The resultant ten minutes of down time in the Boot Room was very boring, I can tell you.

We’ve just got through an entire hour without playing. Something is happening. Ok, it may be that my house guest is in the study (boot room) and I am in the living room but nevertheless, it’s fairly impressive. My head hasn’t been watered and is dry and I can even manage a nap without him wanting to play.

Mum and dad keep on speaking with the ladies who brought my house guest to my house last week. It seems the ladies are checking up on him whilst mum and dad are reporting back. I have no idea what they’re checking up on but its nice sometimes to have a guest.

Friday 3rd May

Another night of sumptuous sleeping has passed and I awoke to find my house guest curled up in his bed, snoring quietly into the blanket he is laying on. I managed to get out of bed, shake and stretch before an inquisitive nose appeared by the side of my face. We managed not to nibble each others ears for a further fifteen seconds. When we managed to clamp onto each other there was this worrying growl and we saw dad was sitting up watching us. For the first time we went into the garden together before our first breakfast and we didn’t squabble or play bitey face. It was extremely helpful that I was onto a squirrel trail very quickly and I was thoroughly distracted. Come on, says dad, we’re off for a walk around Pednor. My house guest set off with mum and I think there was a suspicious smell of cut up frankfurters as training treats in the training treat bag. I was of course mistaken, according to mum and dad. I think something is going on with the house guest as the walks with dad are long, usually around 2 hours. We get home and mum gives dad the thumbs up, I get cleaned up and then off into the grounds for some serious running around and general shenanigans. However the bitey face is still there and the running around happens more as I chase him to have the last word in our game. But the bitey face seems to be getting more growly on my part. We do however follow each other, sniff squirrels trails and, if you are the house guest, eat beech nut kernels.

It’s a strange time I think. We are both trying to show each other who is the boss and we have squabbled a little bit too much today. Maybe we are becoming a little more used to having each other around but for some reason there seems to be more tension today. We are having more regular times apart where we are being watched like hawks. However as soon as we are released we seem to want to continue our little battles.

This is my garden so my rules. Ok?

I know he’s a pup, and he knows I am an older dog, but for some reason we aren’t hugely tolerant of each other this afternoon.

Saturday 4th May

Even I was surprised when I was woken up at 5.45 this morning. It wasn’t particularly sunny and the light had only just really reached the windows. However, there he was, yawning and stretching as he came towards me. Here we go, I thought, which ear is he going to nibble first? As he slid past me to get some water in the kitchen, I was happy that my ears remained intact, it is my birthday after all. Well, we think its my birthday but as a rescue we don’t know the actual date on which I entered the world. We both wandered out into the garden for an early morning patrol and managed not to squabble as we were too busy tracing last nights wildlife trails. Dad disappeared shopping for a while and when he returned they had breakfast. I was still surprised that, as we hadn’t had any walk yet, my house guest was able to maintain some decorum in his behaviour.

We were soon on our paws and today promised great fun as we were going for a walk together around Pednor. Along the road, turn left up the hill and along the footpath toward the farm. Turn right, up the hill and then back along the road until we arrived at the horses field. My house guest was in awe of the horses, who just stood around eating grass. He arooed at quite a few people and mum was trying to persuade him to ignore people by bribing him with small morsels of frankfurters. I know this is true as I also got some frankfurters once I had cottoned on to his luck. When we got home we started to push each other around a little which meant that mum and dad had to step in and keep us separated for a while.

We went out again later in the afternoon for a shorter further walk. When we got back we were both really quite tired and this seemed to make mum and dad happy as it meant we weren’t as enthusiastic about ear nipping and general shenanigans. Mum and dad are looking at each other a bit worried as it seems that our continual “play time” is getting a bit rough and I am struggling to know when to stop the rough and tumble with the house guest. It’s not nasty, I just want to play beyond the point when he submits. When I am told to leave him alone, I seem to get really vocal and frustrated with everyone. Maybe it’s because I have been an only dog for pretty much all of my life.

Hope I haven’t messed up?

Sunday 5th May

My house guest was awake even earlier this morning, sometime around 5.35. This is early even for me, and that’s saying something. We were out in the garden at separate times which is a little strange however it meant that the customary ear nibbling and fighting was non existent. Mum and dad are watching us both again however they needn’t worry as we haven’t been near each other in the house. We even managed to lay in our beds quietly whilst mum & dad are eating breakfast. They’re chatting away and they still sound a bit melancholy.

We went for a circuit around Pednor. The house guest was attached to mum and we all set off. I was straight onto a trail and marched off accordingly.

Squirrels are this way. Follow me!

The house guest isn’t as reactive any more to horses, runners and cyclists which is good. Mum is feeding him copious quantities of frankfurters to distract him but nevertheless he has improved. When we got back we were still not being trusted to be in the garden together and unsupervised. In the house we can be separated apparently but running amok in the garden, not so much.

Dad picked up the house guest again, stood on the scales and said to mum “11.2 kilos” so this sounds like either dad or my house guest has put on some weight during the last week. My noms money is on the house guest. We didn’t play much in the afternoon as we were quite tired after our walk earlier in the day. We had done a fair amount of sniffing and investigating and it was interesting to see that the house guest was following me about a bit more and we were getting interested in the same things.

Mum and dad spoke to the lady who dropped me off a week ago. They had a long discussion about how I was getting on with the house guest, and whether he was also settling in. The general consensus seemed to be that, apart from me being very vocal and fairly rough in play, we were getting more comfortable with each other. As the lady pointed out it is a big upheaval for me as well. After all it’s my house and I need to be able to adjust to a new fur sleeping, playing and wandering around my house and garden. I’ve been an only dog for five years and no one really knows what I was like before I arrived, with regard to socialisation. My house guest seems to have made himself very much at home. He even managed to get into the right bed when he went to sleep. He burrowed under the blanket too. You won’t catch me doing that.

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May

He woke up at five twenty this morning and wandered out to the kitchen for a drink of water. Mum, dad and I just looked at each other and thought “nope, this is too early” so he was coaxed back into his bed. When he jumped up onto the big bed, I don’t think they had the energy to put him off again so they let him snooze there as long as he laid still. Six thirty am duly arrived and we all wearily roused ourselves to start the new day.

We were put out into the garden together fairly quickly after we awoke. This is unusual as recently we have been in the garden at different times because we have been playing bitey face with a bit too much roughness. So when we were put out today and we started nibbling each other, it was surprising that we weren’t admonished. Some two hours of rough playing then passed before we came back into the house. There were regular breaks for water and we didn’t go near each other when we were drinking. It seems that when mum and dad were speaking to the lady who dropped me off, she had assured them that we may need to sort out our differences and that mum and dad were stepping in to break us up a little early in the bitey face “discussions”.

Duly harnessed for our walk, I was actually feeling the effects of the prolonged playtime. However, when we reached the lanes around Pednor we both found our vitality once again and there was some serious hedgerow investigations to do. He flaked out on his chair whilst I was zonked in mine when we came home again.

Dreaming of a furever home
Hoping my house guest stays

We returned to the garden this afternoon and, sadly, my behaviour wasn’t as good as expected for a house guest. I have a very wet head again as dad is expert with the water sprayer and both mum and dad are eagle eyed at spotting my indiscretions and my lack of etiquette. I seem to be struggling still when it comes to learning how hard to press when we’re playing rough and tumble in the garden. I don’t like being told off. I am trying to learn not to be overly rough, truly. Anyway I’m off to bed before I get into more trouble.

Tuesday 7th May

Today I thought I would allow my house guest to do a post on here. I hope it will be interesting.

Hello everyone my name is Lenny and I was born in Cyprus some 9 months ago. I was found as a stray wandering the streets and was then rescued (and saved) by Cyprus Beagles who arranged for me to move to the UK. I arrived in Essex on 9th April 2019 and was looked after by a very kind lady and her family. When I arrived at this house, I think the people said I was being fostered with a view to making this a forever home. I met Dexter the week before I arrived at his house and he seems quite a good dog. He’s very playful which is great as it fits in with my behaviour as an older puppy.

So, what have I made of the last 11 days I hear you ask? I have loved it. There are new rules that I need to understand. I can’t sleep on the big bed, however I have numerous beds I can sleep in. I also have a chair that I can snooze in. I have food three times a day and I go for walks in some great countryside.

Patrolling with Dex who’s way out in front

I have a big garden to run around in, I have sticks and leaves I can chase and eat, I have a good pal in Dexter who plays plenty of the time and I also have two people to look after me. I’ve been promised a trip to the local town soon as well. Something about socialisation. I even got a chew from Dex today.

A chew stick present from Dex, thanks buddy

I think I have fallen on my paws here.

There have been some teething problems I will admit. My arrival was quite disruptive to Dex as he had a fairly set routine and I, basically, blew it out of the water. As a pup I like to play pretty much all of the time and this includes a fairly significant quantity of bitey face and ear nibbling. I have been on Dex’s ear a fair bit to be honest and sometimes I am surprised that he hasn’t told me off. That’s not to say he’s been wholly accommodating to my shenanigans but he seems fairly tolerant. Equally he is quite vociferous when I have had enough of rough and tumble and he wants to play on. There have been times when we have been told off a little. I am learning to be quieter and not hassle Dex as much as I was when I first arrived. It’s difficult for us all I think as we all have to adjust and, in some ways, it’s most difficult for Dex as he has been an only dog for five years. This sounds like a long time to me but Dex explained that he is eight so most of his life. He’s alright is Dex.

Is he talking about me again?

I am relaxing a lot more now I have been here for a few days, and as I adjust to the routine which is set by the humans I am finding more time to chill out and look around me. I get to sleep often as well, which is good for me as it lets my brain catch up on all the fun I am having.

Hope these paws are here for quite a while

I was walked around the garden earlier today so I could try to get some basic commands in my mind. Dad was very generous with the frankfurter treats as long as I did sit, stay and a little bit of recall. I think I will be getting more training as time goes by, as long as I am staying that is. Dexter told me that the training is really easy, and the frankfurters are dished out liberally.

On my walks I was going out with mum when I first arrived. This was so I could get used to where I was living and so they could see if I pulled or walked nicely, and whether I was interested in pavement food, for instance. Now I get to go out for walks with Dex, although he is usually quite a distance in front of me and pulling on his double leads so he can get to the scents quickly. When we get back he’s usually tired so I thought this was the time to pounce and start playing rough and tumble. Oh how I was wrong. For an eight year old, he’s got a lot of stamina and he knows all the shortcuts in the garden so he can “cut me off at the pass”. Still, it’s good fun running around, rolling about on the lawn and chasing each other through the flowers and shrubs. Apparently I smell of Geraniums, whatever they are.

You shall not pass

This is so different from living in Cyprus. I was abandoned and probably heading towards roaming on the street, to be honest. Thankfully I was picked up and now I am exploring new places and new people safe in the knowledge that I am secure and loved. All I have to do is stop nibbling Dex’s ear. I hope I can manage it. And then I need to hope that I can stay as, whisper it quietly, its nice here and I like it. He’s a good fur.

Wednesday 8th May

Back to me for today’s update. My house guest was out of bed even earlier this morning despite it being horrible, grey and very rainy outside. We were hoping that he may want a bit of a lie in but it appears that eight to nine month old pups don’t require as much sleep as other dogs and indeed humans. I have got used to having lazy days when it’s rainy and grey outside so this was a bit of a shock to the system. Anyway “up and at em” I suppose is the motto.

We managed a quick pre breakfast game of bitey face in the kitchen, living room and dining room. Our breakfast put a hasty stop to the games and we were harnessed up ready for the walk. Outside we were swiftly onto the fields and we were allowed to pull mum and dad through the woods early into the trip. They mistakenly believed that the trees would give them some shelter from the rain, however the drips are bigger and when the wind blows through the trees, the “rain” is heavier. I didn’t care though, and nor did my house guest it would seem. Back out into the meadow and then around the top field, turn left, left again and then around the mile field. Finishing the walk and coming back down the gravel track we noticed that the rain had eased and the clouds had lifted somewhat. When we got back home we were thoroughly towelled down and let loose to continue our rough and tumble through the house before second breakfast was served. We even managed to eat our respective food side by side and without any incursion into each others bowls. Mum and dad looked relieved. Into the wet garden for a short time and then onto our beds for some quiet snoozing.

I wonder if I will stay? Hope so.

This house guest is alright. We are walking past each other a bit more often without squabbling. Ok, we are being watched over, however even I am impressed with my restraint in the face of the severest ear nibbling provocation at the moment. There are times when we need to squabble but they are becoming farther apart. I haven’t been water sprayed by dad for a whole day so maybe somethings are changing. My house guest is definitely feeling a bit more at home here. He knows he can wander about and relax wherever he wants and won’t get told off, unless he’s on the big bed of course. For instance he went missing about an hour ago so mum sent dad on a search party. After a few minutes of silence dad came back and said he was in one of my beds under the desk in the study. He was all curled up and sleepy. Originally he was a bit wary of wandering about and trying out some of my beds. However I am a gentle fur when it comes to sharing and I don’t mind if pals want to use a bed that I am not sleeping in. Apart, of course, from my night time bed which is mine and very comfy and definitely out of bounds to interlopers.

As another day draws to a close, my house guest is still here. I am getting more used to him being around and I think he is getting used to being here too. I suppose the longer he’s here the better. The thing is, I always wanted a pal to run around the garden with and wander the lanes, fields and countryside near my house. He might nip my ears and play fight quite a bit, but its nice to have a buddy to knock about with.

Thursday 9th May

I was rudely awoken at four forty am. My house guest managed to leap over my bed and onto the big bed. Suffice to say he was then quickly removed from the big bed. This lasted around ten minutes. I think they let him stay for some peace and quiet. That may not be the best idea in the long run, but we shall cross that bridge when we get to it. Fortunately it wasn’t raining in time for the morning walk and we were off for a stroll around Pednor, so the house guest could get some scents and a little lead training. The walk was going so well until my house guest decided to pick up and try to eat something that really shouldn’t be picked up and eaten. He then allowed dad to try and remove said squelchy, smelly, dirty and vile muck from his mouth. We believe it emanated from a fox. Let’s just say that dad was extremely unimpressed with this gift all over his hand and trainers. As a result the house guest was duly escorted home without honours. This is probably where the phrase “in the dog house” is most apt.

It was raining for the second day in a row. I think the house guest is feeling a little stir crazy. As a pup he needs mental and physical exercise and in the rain that’s a bit difficult. For an old paw like me its easy to snooze the day away, catch up on some rest and recharge the batteries for the days ahead.

Play away pupster, I will rest here

He has been wandering around, destroying one of the chew toys I have allowed him to maim.

Frog dog

The rounds of bitey face have returned and this means so has my harness and the water spray bottle. Dad hasn’t lost any of his aim, sadly.

Mum and dad are starting to train him both indoors and outside on the patio. A little recall and some sit, stay and down commands, all mixed with playtime and copious quantities of frankfurters for bribery. This all sounds positive as they wouldn’t be looking to train him if they didnt want him to stay. Dad has even booked a six week course of training sessions with experts, however he has told mum that if the house guest doesn’t stay then I am going to have to pass as a pup and will be doing sit, stay, leave, down and roll over. Ugh good grief, the ignominy of it all. He’d better be staying if that is the case. Anyway I am off to bed before I get into any more trouble.

Friday 10th May

This is getting bad. It was four forty five this morning when I was used as a vaulting horse for my house guest to make his way onto the big bed. He was unceremoniously removed three times before mum relented and allowed him to rest on the big bed. However, he decided that he didn’t want to sleep in today and we were all out and about far too early.

Mum and dad decided that we would go out to Pednor again as it is easier to guide my house guest and show him how to walk properly. It was good weather for a change so we didn’t get a soaking. He was quite reactive to some of the people this morning, and even managed to growl at a couple of lumps of concrete laying on the grass verge to stop people parking there. Strange boy my house guest sometimes.

Sleepy pupster

It seems he’s been here two weeks tomorrow and “we have a decision to make soon”. We were getting on each others nerves a bit today, the house guest and I, so we were left to our own devices to try and get some angst and frustration over the recent inclement weather out of our systems. The bitey face lasted about 5 minutes before it got a little too heated and was broken up. Mum and dad are stepping in at about the right time now, and we are ordered to our respective quiet rooms to rest and chill out. I don’t think it will affect the outcome of the “decision” but I know there is some serious discussion over how to control our rough and tumble when there is only one parent about.

Wonder what mum and dad will decide?

We are getting better at quite a few aspects of living together such as eating our food at the same time without bothering one another, and the first morning garden patrol usually passes off incident free. With a parents overview, we can often walk past each other without going in for a nibble, so things seem to be calming down. There are just occasions where it all goes a bit wrong. We need to work on these. I look at him and he clearly wants to stay and not be messed about any more with a forever home.

Saturday 11th May

I was woken up before 5 am, I got involved in bitey face and we went out for a combined walk with mum and dad. When we got back there was more bitey face and then we slept for a while. Mum and dad made a phone call and then they sat smiling, wondering what they had done.

Dad was given a bit of a black eye when Lenny leapt over the water bowl and his head whacked dad in the left eye. Good work Lenny.

I’m staying. This is going to be my manor

He’s staying. My house guest is staying. I am so happy I could run around in circles arooing at the top of my voice. He might be a nibbling pain, who tries to turn my ears into beagle versions of colanders, he might try to annoy me all the time and I might try to chase him around the garden until I am exhausted. However he is now officially my little brofur so I have to look after him, show him the way and tell what’s right and wrong. I need to help him through life and be a good friend and a great older brother for him. He has come all the way from Cyprus for this. I am not going to let him down.

Welcome to my garden Lenny

Dexter and Lenny are brothers. That has such a lovely ring about it.

Rest easy Winston

Sometimes I come across a fur who inspires so many people to do so many things.

I had the honour and good fortune to be able to interview Winston the Brave a short while ago and what came across in our discussion was the strength of character, resolve and determination to make sure that perceived disabilities did not hinder Winston’s desire to live as fun a life as possible.

Winston, Bruv (Maxx) and Mumz were a gang, a unit, a band of brothers if you will. They were given some potentially bad news about Winston with regard to a cyst on his spine that needed an operation. There was scar tissue and the initial diagnosis was “it would be easier to have him put to sleep”. This infuriated Mumz who saw clear and irrefutable evidence that Winston wasn’t in pain and needed some assistance instead of going on the longest journey too soon. Thanks to Mumz perseverance and Winston’s sheer determination to be as happy as possible for as long as possible, he lived on for many years after the operation. He got about fairly well on his hot wheels custom made for on road and off road travel. He had Mumz to help him all the while which allowed him to set up Zombie Squad. Bruv was the henchman, the sidekick who kept most of the ZS troops in line, when he wasn’t on the Baileys.

Now, whilst the primary reason of Zombie Squad was to fight the evil scourge of the zombie armageddon which humans are clearly failing to do properly, there was also the secondary reason behind it. So many people signed their dogs, cats, budgies, rabbits, horse etc up for Zombie Squad that it became an International service for fighting the undead. What it showed was that people from all over the world could come together and show compassion, kindness and civility to each other.

Winston took the longest journey on Easter Sunday. He had been suffering quietly for a while and decided that the time had come for him to join Bruv over the Rainbow Bridge. Whether he will join Bruv in the bar is another question entirely. His passing was mourned with sadness by many of his friends. However there also seems to be a sense of joy that so many people knew of Winston, were part of Zombie Squad, enjoyed reading his tales of adventure, enjoyed his cheeky backchat about Mumz and saw what he was able to do through Zombie Squad. To bring so many people together to be pleasant and thoughtful is a wonderful gift.

I never met Winston in the fur. I feel sorry that I did not do so. But I feel gladdened that I had the chance to woof with him, listen to him and to get some understanding of the fine fellow fur that he was. Rest easy Winston for your work here is done. Your legacy will live on, I am certain. That a dog with perceived disabilities was able to have an influence on so many is wonderful. Disabled, my paw. He had so much ability, strength, resilience and love in his paws that it was scary to consider.

Farewell Winston sir, never goodbye. Until we meet again, rest easy. *Saloots.

Vanishing pubs of London

As some of my readers will know, I have been to London a couple of times and enjoyed exploring the city very much. So when, some time ago, my dad saw a blog written by The Gentle Author, our inquisitive nature came to the fore. The Gentle Author is a blogger and writer, based in Spitalfields which is on the boundary of East London and the City. The blog in question related to some photographs taken by a gentleman called Jeffrey Johnson. Mr Johnson subsequently deposited the photographs with the Bishopsgate Institute. They were taken in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s and were of various pubs in London. Whilst looking through the photographs, we realised that some of the pubs were no longer there. As a result of our interest, we decided I would send out my Research Assistant, also known as my dad, to investigate whether the pubs were still standing. If they were no longer there, what is in their place, we wondered.

Over a few days dad photographed, we believe, the locations of the pubs and this blog deals with what he found. I must at this point say thank you to both the Gentle Author and to Bishopsgate Institute, without whose assistance and guidance this blog entry could not take place. The photographs are arranged in the order in which they originally appeared, with Jeffrey Johnson’s picture being shown first.

The Hoop & Grapes, Aldgate

It is the oldest licensed house in the City of London, dating from 1593. Originally called The Castle, then the Angel & Crown, then Christopher Hills and finally the Hoop & Grapes. This is a reference to the sale of both beer & wine and was given the name in the 1920’s. The pub is a Grade II listed building.

Sir Walter Scott, 2 Broadway Market E8

The first reference we could find of the pub was 1851. The pub is now the Market Cafe. It stands on the corner of Broadway Market and Andrews Road, close by the Regents Canal.

City of Dublin Bottling Co., Dericote Street, nr Broadway Market E8

The building appears remarkably similar however it is clearly a private residence now. The history is somewhat shrouded in mystery, although we understand that it was part of the Guinness empire.

Knave of Clubs, 25 Bethnal Green Road E2

Grade II listed, present in 1735 the pub became a restaurant around 1994 before closing in 2001. It has since reopened as a bar & restaurant called Dirty Bones which is still open today.

Crown & Woolpack 394 St John Street, Clerkenwell

Believed to date originally from around 1851, the pub was open until 1990, then closed. It has undergone some refurbishment and is currently a hairdressers, called The Chapel.

Centre Page, Knightrider Street EC4V

Originally known as the Horn Tavern, the pub can be seen on the left when crossing the “wobbly” bridge from Tate Modern to the north bank approaching St Pauls. Another Grade II listed building, this time built in the mid 19th century. The other buildings in the area around the pub have changed significantly.

Brunswick Arms, Macdonald Road, Archway

The pub appears to have been on the corner of Macdonald Road & Vorley Road. It was demolished in the early 1980’s. The Archway Leisure Centre stands adjacent to the site and there is no trace of the pub. The flats behind the pub remain.

Queens Head, 31 Blackfriars Lane EC4V

The pub was situated immediately adjacent to the Thameslink rail line at Blackfriars. It was demolished in 1999 and now offices are in its place.

Crooked Billet, Wood Street & Chingford Road, Walthamstow

It’s believed a pub was on the site from 1742 – 1991. It was subsequently demolished for a roundabout known as The Crooked Billet on the A406 North Circular Road.

Old Bell Tavern, Pancras Road

The history of this pub appears to be difficult to come by and very little seems to be on record. The building has been swept away to provide taxi ranks and a pedestrianised area for King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. The German Gymnasium in the background of both pictures was the first purpose built gymnasium in England. It was built between 1864-1865 and today is a restaurant.

Magpie & Stump

Opposite the Old Bailey (or the Central Criminal Court) the Magpie & Stump was apparently nicknamed Court no.10 as it was regularly filled with detectives and reporters to discuss the proceedings. The old building has been replaced by an office incorporating the pub.

Mackworth Arms, 158 Commercial Road, E1

The pub was present in 1817 and closed around 2005. It’s latest use seems to be a clothes shop, however that also looked like it had been closed for a while.

Red Lion, 217 Whitechapel Road

Originally known as the Old Red Lion, the pub was present by 1839, when it became known as the Red Lion. It survived as a pub until around 1989 and is currently a shoe store under the name Sidhu.

Green Man, 7&9 Bucklersbury, St Benet Sherehog, EC4

The pub was situated in St Benet Sherehog, which now seems to be Sise Lane. It was demolished to allow the building of One Poultry, which was completed in 1997. There is another Green Man pub incorporated into the One Poultry development.

Marquis of Anglesey, 77 Ashmill Street, NW1

The address was changed prior to 1915 from 77 Devonshire Street to Ashmill Street. The pub closed around 2009 and became offices.

Bulls Head, 80 Leadenhall Street, EC3A

Demolished in 1990 to make way for an office development. Opposite Hartshorn Alley leading to Fenchurch Street.

White Horse, 8 Little Britain

Now known as 1 Little Britain. The sign is hidden behind the barred gate. There seems to have been a pub on the site since 1765, it was rebuilt in 1892 and closed around 1971. Converted to offices.

Olde Wine Shades, Martin Lane, EC4R

Now seems to be called El Vino The Olde Wine Shades, the pub remains on the same site. The establishment was built in 1663, so predates the Great Fire of London by 3 years. Due to the architectural and historical significance, it is Grade II listed.

The Crispin, 1 Finsbury Avenue EC2M

The original pub appears to have been rebuilt in the 1980’s and was then redeveloped as part of the Broadgate Development. It closed permanently in 2012. We cannot find details as to when the pub was first noted on the site of Finsbury Avenue.

Blue Posts, 73-75 West India Dock Road E14

The area has changed out of all recognition from the original photo. Westferry DLR station sits just a little behind the location of the pub. The original pub was present by 1800 and extensively rebuilt by 1876. It was demolished around 1987 – 1988 for the widening of the West India Dock Road.

Ticket Porter, Arthur Street, EC4R

The early address shows as 5 Arthur Street West however by 1910 it was shown as 17 & 19 Arthur Street. It is thought that the name came from the Ticket Porters who’s job it was to carry goods across London. The site is now redeveloped as part of the Bank interchange upgrade. The latest photograph was taken from slightly further down the hill toward Upper Thames Street.

Weavers Arms, 36 Sun Street, Finsbury EC2M

There appears to have been a pub called Weavers Arms since 1869 when it was thought to be at 13 Crown Street. The pub appears to have been demolished as part of the Broadgate Development and is known as 3 Finsbury Avenue which has taken the place of the southern side of Sun Street.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog. As you will see, some of the pubs still remain and are open for business. However sadly many are closed, redeveloped or swept away in the tide of change and progress that is forever present in cities such as London.

The Gentle Author’s blog can be found at http://spitalfieldslife.com and the Bishopsgate Institute can be contacted through their website at https://www.bishopsgate.org.uk . They have many interesting articles and information for everyone to view and enjoy.

Wendover Woods wander

Come on, come on. The sun is up, the sky is blue, I am a Beagle, I need a view. What do you mean it’s only 7 am. Ugh lazy bones. Boing, boing, boing, arooo. The day has begun and here I am waiting on my parents to get themselves together.

Uh oh, this could be trouble, as I see both of them putting on their walking shoes. And dad has the car keys. I may live to regret waking them up “early” as there seems to be a steely determination in their eyes. They’ve not even had breakfast and I am being harnessed and made ready to go. What delights await me today? Into the car and off we go, through the lanes and past the rescue centre that I came from. Down the hill and I have no idea where we are. I have never been here before. Excellent a new adventure!

Somewhere new to explore.

As we park, mum is quickly around to get me out of the travel crate and my eyes take in the view. Trees, trees and more trees. This can only mean one thing. Squirrels. And walks. And fun. And shenanigans. OK that’s four things but hey I am a beagle and usually only count the minuscule amount of noms on my tongue.

It appears that none of us have been to Wendover Woods before so we set off at some speed. Well, not exactly speed as sadly I am shackled to mum. At least I have some leeway for pulling instead of having to drag dad around. The scents fill my nose, the sights fill my eyes, the sounds of the woodland creatures fill my ears, the gravel path is under my paws so I only need to taste some stagnant puddle water to have to full sensory experience.

Lets go on the Hillfort walk I hear them say. Pffft I’m not having that, we are going on the Firecrest walk and we divert quickly off the intended path. It’s mighty warm trying to investigate all the new places that I am trying my best to reach as quickly as possible so I am drinking plenty of water.

Dogs everywhere, having fun

There are so many other dogs out here enjoying it all, as well. Most of them are off lead so can wander in and out of the trees and undergrowth. I know I am not allowed off lead so will enjoy myself in my own special way. Come on mum, hurry up.

The lovely Chilterns

Through the woods and along the track, up hill, down hill and then around the zigzag bends. That’s a nice view they think, however I still have much dexploration left in my paws. There are so many smells here that I want to smell them all at the same time. More water and I am starting to slow a little. This is warm, but not that warm. Maybe I’m getting a bit old, who knows. Anyway, not to worry, we are off again and I can smell a squirrel in the trees. But which tree?


Slow down? Pffft.

All too soon we are climbing the hill toward the car and the inevitable return journey home, but there seems to be a large monster looking at me. I have my picture taken with the Gruffalo and we are off to the car for the return journey.

What do you mean, he’s behind you.

That was great fun. I didn’t know about Wendover Woods. I had such a good time and saw so many things. I am definitely going back.

Follow in my paw steps

Chorleywood Common

“Where shall we go for a walk today, Dex?” asks my mum. “And, no, we cannot go on a round the world trip to see all your friends, before you ask”.

“Wow, a walk with mum and dad, this hasn’t happened for a while” I thought. “If I can’t go and see all my pals, then I will make do with a stroll up to the tube station and walk around Chorleywood Common”. That was it then. It was decided. We were off on a family stroll along one of my favourite routes.

Shackled to my dad, we set off. Through the woods, up the hill, past the church, along the road with the posh houses, past the farm and then into the next set of woods.

I was trying to go as quickly as possible, however I was being slowed considerably by being attached to my dad. Does he not realise that the squirrels are all getting away? This is fun, but isn’t quite going as well as I planned. Anyway we crossed the road, strolled quickly through the next wooded area and then into Westwood Park. I stopped briefly for some water as apparently, my tongue was “hanging out of my head”. Then it’s off to the tube station. Thankfully its a Sunday so the trains aren’t full. We only have to go one stop but I am anxious to get on with the next leg of the trip, as I know there will be other furs there to woof with, and hopefully squirrels to arooo.

Ugh good grief. This commuting is so boring

Arriving at Chorleywood we get off the tube train. Hurry up you two, there are creatures to chase, and hedges and shrubs to sniff. Turning right out of the station, we wander quickly along the road and there it is, in all its glory.

I like Chorleywood Common. It’s open, green, has plenty of paths, great views and is about a 2 mile circuit. Mum and dad wanted to stick to the path which snaked away into the distance. However this isn’t very Beagle-like behaviour so I decided we would go off piste. There are 3 pubs close to the Common so if we needed to take shelter we could have done. Sadly the weather was set fair and it was before opening time so any plan I had to go to the pub was well and truly scuppered. On with the walk then. Some bright spark had the idea of carving woodland creatures into some of the tree trunks that had fallen over in previous years on the common. The trunks themselves have been made into handy benches and the additional sculptures of birds, squirrels, caterpillars and other woodland creatures made them look more fun.

These guys look a bit wooden!

We pressed on and saw plenty of other dogs, all of whom I greeted in the customary Beagle fashion of loudly arooing or completely ignoring them whilst I was on a scent. Mum made friends with a 5 month old puppy whilst I was trying to catch the attention of another Beagle who was halfway across the common. No sooner had we passed the cricket pitch and the golf clubhouse than I saw the other beagle wasn’t going the same way as me.

Then it occurred to me that we were returning to the tube station again. This could only mean one thing. The adventure was over. I was going home. Ok, that’s two things.

Onto the tube train for the two stops back to my home town.

We strolled back to the house and I whizzed out into the garden to check that there were no tree based invaders digging holes in my lawn. Once I had ensured that the coast was clear, I flopped satisfied onto one of my six beds. Within seconds I was twitching, snoring and dreaming. I wouldn’t know though, as I was asleep. What an adventure I had. And I was kind enough to take both my parents along to enjoy it as well.

It was as much as I could do to persuade them to take me to the pub in the afternoon. We took our time on the walk to the pub, however I wasn’t going to complain. Shenanigans were complete.

Misty morning, gentle stroll

Continuing with my recent theme of showing you around some of my favourite walks, I decided it would be a stroll through the fields this morning. Mayhall Farm here I come, I thought when I awoke and clambered sleepily from one of my 6 beds, this morning. The only decision to be made was, who should I drag around on the other end of my lead? That decision was made for me when mum went out for a quick walk to get some air into her lungs. Ok, dad its you and me.

Into the first field, past the dead deer carcass and through the gap into the woods. I like this path as there are so many trees and thus squirrels aplenty for me to scent and arooo. The woods this morning had more than a slight element of mystery about them. Shrouded in mist and fog they had an eerie quality. The air was still and this allowed the scent of the squirrels and deer to stay in one place and make my nose very excited. The mist hung like a blanket over the trees. It was nice, I liked it.

Through the wood and into the meadow, through the gate and left around the next field. We circumnavigated another field and found ourselves at the main entrance of what I know as the “mile field” so called as it is almost a mile around the edge. Its actually 0.97 miles but as a dog I am not pedantic enough to worry. Twice around the mile field and we realised it was raining quite hard on one side of the field yet was almost dry on the other. I looked at dad, he looked at me, and we both had the same air of resignation that we were wet and there was nothing we could do about it. Hey ho, on we march.

We took a more direct route back toward home, however dad then made the error of offering me a choice. Straight on, or turn right going up and over the hillock to increase the walk by another 0.25 mile. No prizes for guessing. There were extra woods and squirrels over there, so what did he expect.

Only when we got back to the first field did we meet any other furs or people this morning. It wasn’t far today, only about 5 miles. However it is a fun route as I get to scent so many different creatures. I am very lucky as the local farmers allow access to the paths around the fields. Usually there are quite a few fur friends who I bump into as we are allowed to enjoy the area. I think the weather must have dampened their spirits.

The best part was seeing dad looking like he’d been dunked in a bath fully clothed. And he got a leaky wellie. Me, laugh? Would I?