I’ve been watching my brother recently. Usually it is because he is about to bite my neck, ankles or ears. I think he thinks he is a vampire. He certainly acts like one so we decided to call him Count Barkula when he is on nefarious activities. We had heard the phrase and thought it fitted him perfectly. The neck chomping aside I have also been looking at how he has changed since he’s been here and I keep on wondering if he and I are really the same breed. We are such different personalities that sometimes its quite stark. Please allow me to try and explain.
I am a wild eyed hunter hound in the garden and fields. If I smell a squirrel or fox in the next county I will be onto the trail relentlessly and will not give up. I can be in the garden at six a.m and there will be a trail from the previous night. Sometimes it may only be a pigeon. Often it can take me thirty or forty minutes to stop baying and tracking. My breakfast is more often than not cold by the time I am finished. Compare this to Lenny. He can be in the garden with me, will see the same pigeon and he just watches it. He may start to stalk it, give a half hearted chase and then go back to eating grass and flower heads. We can start on the same trail and he will look at me like I am a dog possessed, as I am still scenting even when the trail goes cold. Equally he sees a deer in the fields and he will bay and pull on the lead trying to get to it. Once it moves and he realises he cannot catch it, he quickly stops and walks along sniffing at the edge of the crop. If I see the deer in the fields, I will try to pursue it as if my very life depended on catching the creature. Whichever human I am attached to at the time is lucky if they escape with their arms still in the shoulder sockets. If we happen to be on a downward slope at the time, its like skiing apparently. The only creature that provokes a similar reaction for us both is a rabbit. We found out that beagles are hard wired to pursue hares in Cyprus so we think this is where his wild eyed crazed pursuit comes from. For my part, I have no excuses, I just want to get the creature as quickly as possible. I do feel like my training regime of rufty tufty pursuit of all things fluffy and feathery is going to waste on Lenny sometimes.
We are allowed out into the garden at all times of the day. One of the best times for scents is just before we go to bed, as we haven’t been outside for a while and any scent trails are fresh. In the evening we are supposed to be doing “our thing” before going to bed but, if a trail is newly laid, I can completely forget what I went out there for and it is a good twenty to thirty minutes of baying. Lenny will give the initial chase, see that there isn’t actually anything there any more and then go and do what he needs to. I am seemingly hard wired to chase and pursue until all scent avenues are exhausted.
This last week or so I have heard the door to the garden being quietly opened to let Lenny out around dinner time, whilst I have been snoozing in my bed. Mum and dad are pretty sneaky in that they try to cover the sound of the door being opened by cooking or hoovering. Earlier this week I saw Lenny in the garden and he was sitting next to the little birdbath we have. There was a pigeon sitting about 6 feet away and they were just looking at one another. Neither the pigeon nor Lenny moved. Both just looked at each other. Then they wandered off, Lenny did his effort at a half hearted chase and the pigeon fluttered away to safety. This is a somewhat worrying development for my training programme with him. Mum and dad are apparently proud of him as he is calmer than I am when he goes out into the garden and doesn’t pull as much as I do, or I did, when we are out on patrol in the lanes and fields.
In another way we are very different. I tend to walk past “animal biodiverse recycled product” in lanes and fields. I may sniff and then move on. Lenny however seems to think that most of it as a supplement for his meals. On at least two occasions recently, he has needed to have items removed from his mouth. The removal has left dad sometimes bemoaning the fact that Lenny eats everything that is truly disgusting. We know that he loves Lenny but I don’t blame dad for getting a bit irate at the continual chewing of certain revolting items. I have to admit though it does make me laugh to see dad’s face when he is pulling stuff out of Lenny’s teeth with his bare fingers. I have never been partial to extra curricular non-food items as far as I can remember. Lenny’s predilection to disgusting items may be due to him being a street dog for a short time in Cyprus and therefore having to scavenge anything and everything. On a slightly lighter and cleaner note, Lenny does liks vegetables. I can eat vegetables if they are surrounded by chicken or turkey for my breakfast and dinner. Lenny however is quite happy to sit and wait for various pieces of vegetables to fall onto the floor whilst they are being prepared for our parents food. He will even have the potato peelings, and particularly enjoys carrot peelings. Strange boy is my little brofur.
And today my entire commentary on this blog was blown to smithereens. At 7.05 BST precisely, Lenny went into wild eyed loon mode when he saw 2 Muntjack deer crossing our paths in one of the fields. We were baying for Britain as we pulled our respective parents along. Even after we had crossed their trail we were puffing and panting like the steam trains you see the old films we all know and love. To see him in full cry made my little heart sing. Well it would have done if I hadn’t also been in full cry.
Maybe I have misjudged him and my rufty tufty training is sinking in. I’m off to teach him more stuff.