No one really knows where I came from originally. The one thing, maybe the most important, is I know where I’m going to remain. I didn’t have a settled early life, I probably missed out on a good part of the growing up that puppies usually enjoy in a stable environment.
It was a struggle when I first arrived, I was uncertain what was required of me, and my new assistants were also struggling to get to grips with this new part of their life. Having been in a rescue centre, and a good one at that, I hadn’t really known what it was like to try and get on the sofa, to have to ask politely when I needed to go out or even to have one, two or more walks a day outside in the big world. I was learning quite slowly, and I was very lucky that I could see there was frustration but it was fairly low level and I was being given time to learn and understand.
I escaped twice within a short time after I arrived. I now realise this was incredibly stupid, but I wanted to see the big wide world and didn’t realise that I was on a lead in the park for my own safety. My Beagle Harrier traits take over completely when I am out. All dogs love to be let off the lead. Some of them run around in a big circle, others will race about barking and playing. However it appears I am slightly different, in that once I am off lead, I run away. In a straight line. Very quickly. I don’t look back. The first time I ran away, I was off for 3 hours and was only recaptured after I had run into some barbed wire and cut my ear open. I was tired too. Sorry about the photo, Hudad took it..
I was carted off to the vets quite quickly after the first escape, but given a fairly clean bill of health. I got a bit of a telling off too. It didn’t seem to make much impression on me however, as I escaped again soon after and in the same park. Fortunately I was recaptured fairly quickly by what appeared to be the only person in the park who thought it strange there was a dog running around loose, with the collar and lead attached. Trust my luck to be sniffing a dead squirrel.
It was back to training in the garden, long leads and a super tight harness to make sure I couldn’t escape again when outside on my daily walks. The continued theme was that I wasn’t settled, I didn’t know if this was forever. These two were, and very much remain, my saviours. But I wasn’t sure. Until now I didn’t have the continued affection, there was no routine to stick to. I had been here six months and I felt sometimes that there was still a struggle to feel that this was permanent. The walks were also a struggle. I was, and remain, quite an obstinate lad, and I was being asked to walk to heel for extended periods. As we live near a busy road, I could handle the first section of the walk. However when I got to the field and my hunting instincts took over, it was nigh on impossible for me to walk to heel. Indeed they were lucky if I sat down for more than three seconds.
One day I was out with my Humum and we met a man coming towards us. He said I was a handsome dog, and of course, I had proud ears. He said that as a scent hound I was always going to sniff around in the hedges and long grass, it was my nature. If I could be walked to heel for the early part, and then left to sniff and explore for the remainder, this might cure some of the incessant pulling I was managing on the harness and lead. We tried this and it started to work a little better. I still pulled a great deal, but I was happier as I could exercise my brain, senses and body so I was more content.
I was also becoming more at ease in the house and garden. I was getting used to the routine of daily life and, to be honest, I was being looked after really well so I couldn’t complain, too much. It was dawning on me that I was here to stay, I was relaxing and feeling more at ease with my surroundings. Even the garden was becoming a calmer place for me. At first, I couldn’t be let off the lead, so the many jobs around the garden were not done and I could sense the frustration. Gradually I got a little more comfortable with my surroundings and realised that, when I was in the garden, the squirrels weren’t and I didn’t need to chase them away. Then one day it all changed. I was in the garden on a lovely summers day. I sat down on the grass and the lead was unclipped from the harness. I was free, kind of. And I just sat there. They expected me to run around the garden and probably do something silly – again. And I just stood up and trotted off to explore. I soon found that the patio table was a good vantage point to survey my garden. It also meant I could keep an eye on my humans, and make sure those pesky squirrels stayed away.
I was becoming more content, I was being trusted and it felt good. I began to realise that if I wandered about in the garden, then I was allowed to roam at will, sniff the flowers, arooo at pigeons and generally feel more at home. It had taken time, but I was beginning to feel like this was it, my new forever home. I was making up for lost time. It felt good.