A Pednor Loop

I am fortunate to live close to some lovely countryside. To be able to explore the many places on a regular basis is a bonus for me. One of my favourite walks is a place called Pednor.

As a bit of history, Pednor is a small hamlet and comes from the Anglo Saxon for Paeda’s Slope. In 1541 during the dissolution of the monasteries the lands were surrendered to the 1st Earl of Bedford. It even has a medieval moat recognised by English Heritage at Little Pednor Farm. To me its a great walk in the countryside.

The road loops from Chesham via Pednor Bottom, up to Great Pednor, through Little Pednor and then back via Pednormead End. The views are great and I always enjoy my 10k walk around it.

If you want a walk, on the edge of the Chilterns and close to London, come and have a wander around Pednor. I think you will like it.

Snow Day Shenanigans

Wake up, wake up. It’s snowed and I want to explore. Come on, hurry up, get out of bed. Arooo, arooo, arooo.

Straight away to the fields and dexploration is on the cards. Dragging a human around always slows me down however, I am not allowed off lead outside of my garden. It is a problem that I must bear furever it seems.

Hurry up! No time for pictures

The snow is up near my knees and sometimes deeper so the belly plate on my harness scoops up the top layer. I am cold, then soaked as the snow is melting against my fur but it doesn’t matter as I am outside and getting so many scents in my nose. I don’t actually care one jot.

Charge!!!

Up this field, turn right, down the steep bank, along the treeline and sense a deer or three in the woods. Sadly my human braking system decides we are not going into the woods just yet and we detour around the next field and into the biggest field on the walk. The wind is somewhat bracing and the snow is swirling around us. The scents seem to be sitting on top of the snow and my nose is like a beagle snowplough. What’s wrong with having a small pile of snow on the end of your nose?

Look, that’s where all the critters live.

Out of the field at somewhat of a gallop and towards the woods, all glistening with their white snowy coating. I know there are deer and squirrels in there but will I chose the woods or the meadow of wonderful aromas. Turn left, into the meadow and see a pal ahead. Arooo arooo arooo. I think I will stay in the meadow and leave the woods for another day. Unfortunately the untouched snow is deep and the harness belly plate is scooping up rather a large quantity of snow now. Lets just say its a tad damp on my undercarriage. Through the meadow, turn left down through the woods. Deer!! Deer!! Arooo arooo. Ugh good grief I am shackled and cannot get it. Appearing out of the woods I am panting heavily but smiling from ear to ear.

By the time I get home my other human wants to know “where the devil have you been” as well as “How have you got the harness so wet?”.

Sssshh dad, our little secret.

And relax!

Where I live

As some of you may be aware I live in a place called Chesham in Buckinghamshire, UK. I arrived here just before Christmas 2013 so I am almost part of the furniture I suppose. Given I have explored the town and a considerable proportion of the surrounding area, I would like to regale you with a quick tour of the town that I call home.

Chesham appears in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Cestreham and seems to have been split between 4 Lords or Overlords who all had their own share of the land, people and the agriculture. The total population was 59 households and 15 Geld units. Through the ages the town has grown somewhat and now stands with a population of some 22,000 people. It was known in the more recent past for the 4 B’s – Brushes, Boots, Baptists and Beer. The trade of brush making was rife in the town from around 1829 until it fell away due to cheaper markets overseas. Bootmakers abounded too in the early to mid 1800’s with the tanned leather being moved up from London to be worked on in small workshops. Again the boot makers trade fell away due to cheaper manufacturing methods. The Baptist movement arose around 1640 and a number of places of worship remain to this day. We have even had a person burned at the stake for being a heretic (Thomas Harding in 1532). Moving on to the Beer, I have seen that in 1937 there were 53 pubs, beer houses and off-licences serving a population of 14,000 (A pub for every 264 people). Now there are 8 pubs in Chesham itself (A pub for every 2,750 people). I am basing my research on book called The Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages (see below) which didn’t include the Black Cat or the Hen & Chickens, both of them being located close by and which are also still open.

Chesham is now a town mainly of small independent businesses some of which have survived through many generations. Our local bakery is run by the Darvell family, who also ran a brewery in the 1800’s. The bakery was opened in 1838 so some 180 years ago and it is still going strong. The hardware store of Pearces was started in 1937 and still thrives to this day. The town is full of smaller shops, mixed in with a few of the High Street names people know better such as W.H. Smith, Cafe Nero, Costa, Waterstones and the supermarkets of Sainsbury’s & Waitrose.

Chesham from Lowndes Park

Surrounding the town is a belt of green and pleasant lands. The majority of the town lies in a valley leading out on all sides by hills all accessible by lanes and roads. The nearby areas of Chartridge, The Vale, Ashleigh Hill, White Hill, Waterside and Chesham Bois are all well served. I have been lucky enough to stroll around the entire town in my time here and it is wonderful that there is access to much of the fields, moor, farmland, lanes and byways. The many paths and bridleways allow walkers, riders and cyclists to be out in the countryside, yet be within minutes of the town centre. We live in the lee of the Chiltern Hills so we have access to them, along with The Ridgeway, fairly close by.

If you want a good walk, in the countryside and in easy reach of London, come and see what it’s like around here. I think you will enjoy it.

Penn Grove
Waterside is just over there
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955470745 – Pubs & Inns of Chesham & villages

Nellie

Nellie Beagle was rescued by BREW, Beagle Rescue, Education & Welfare. I wanted to understand and learn more about how Nellie came to be adopted and what was the process. So, I asked Nellie’s mum some questions.

When you decided to adopt, did you specifically want a beagle or was it more of an accidental acquaintance?

How did we wind up with Beagles? Well, our neighbour had a beagle called Zoe. She walked by our house every day. Zoe was such a sweet dog, always happy to give a lick or a hug.  When we decided to get a dog, my husband Rich said ‘Why don’t we get a beagle?’ Once we decided on the breed, I started doing my research which took around 6 months. I noticed that there were a number of organisations out there who rescued and rehomed beagles. We decided that we would pursue an adoption through BREW – Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare. We filled out the application, had the home visit and were approved for adoption. The lady that undertook the home visit check actually brought two male beagles with her, they were called Magoo & Finnegan. Whilst looking at the available pups, I noticed Nellie and fell in love. She was just so petite and beautiful and we had to have her. We were approved to adopt her and we travelled to pick her up a few weeks later. Nellie was only in a foster home for a few weeks and I believe that she was used for hunting prior to us having her. She wasn’t potty trained and she wasn’t interested in being with us for the first 6 months.  The things she did like were eating, going for walks and her bed.  Her bed was a favourite from the very first day.  The first 6 months were tough – she was pooping and peeing in the house and hiding the remainder of the time. We tried to crate train her and she would do the most amazing things with the crate – turn it upside down, on its side, move it across the room – just nuts. When that didn’t work, we tried gating her and she ate the gate. We came home one day to find shreds of wood all over the place from her gnawing away, trying to escape. This required a vet visit to make sure she didn’t have any splinters in her mouth. 

Did you ever feel in the first 6 months that it may be a little too much to take on?

I remember telling my husband, Rich, at one point that if she peed in the house one more time I was done. Actually I think after that time she stopped peeing in the house. She also dug up a brand new rug – we put it down, left for a little while, then returned and she had made a giant hole in the rug. It was almost like a cartoon. We are not sure how one little dog ruined a 8 x 10 rug in 3 hours but she did. She was very trying at times but we knew that she was learning how to be a dog and how to live with us. This spurred us on, made us more determined to succeed and give her a life worth living. After 6 months she eventually settled in and became the perfect dog.

Why the sudden change after 6 months?

Perfect took about 6 months. There were many good things about Nellie from day 1. She liked to sleep and liked her bed so she was never up early or in the middle of the night. She always liked supper and was a good eater. She was always mild mannered and sweet to both humans and pups. She loved to go for a walk. She was a tracker, barking constantly when she smelled a rabbit. She loved her dog walker and couldn’t wait to see her each day. I think it took a village of people to get her to perfect.

Was Nellie called Nellie when you adopted her?

Yes Nellie was Nellie and as it is a cute name we decided to keep it and not subject her to having to learn another name. She was healthy, happy and friends with all of the dogs in the neighbourhood. She also made friends with all of the humans too. Everyone knew and loved Nellie.

So, was the adoption process easy and how did Nellie arrive at your house via BREW and a foster home?

Yes she was fostered in Ohio. She went from pound to a Brew foster home to us so had quite some upheaval. The process was easy but there were of course some requirements such as initial application, home visit, approval, etc. All hurdles we needed to cross.

Thanks. So it was fairly straightforward. Please continue.

Her grandparents also loved her – one grandma made chicken especially for her and the other made sure she had Christmas presents and brought treats on every visit. Nellie loved going to the dog sitters house and conspiring with her beagles (the dog sitter never had beagles until she met Nellie and she wound up having 4 and being a life long friend). The dog sitter has 5 fenced acres. Nellie would run in the front door, pick up the pack and run out the back door in a matter of a minute. We would try to say good bye and tell her that we would miss her but she was long gone. When we picked her up, her nose was always raw from all of the good sniffs she found. 

After 5 years, we moved to a house that had a fenced yard.  We thought it might be nice to give Nellie a friend, so we adopted Lucy, a senior beagle from BREW.  Nellie was great with Lucy. She welcomed her with open paws. There were no issues at all. Lucy lived with us for about 2 years before she went OTRB.

Do you think there was a “pack’ mentality between Nellie & Lucy? Maybe luck that they were two gentle like minded beagles?

Maybe luck & pack.. I think so. I also think that Nellie was such a loving dog that she would welcome anyone.

What did you know of Lucy? Can you tell us a little more about her?

We don’t know much, again she was a pound dog we adopted through BREW. She was very sick when we first adopted her, she almost died as she had pancreatitis. She was only with her foster mom for a short time. She was at least 10 when we adopted her. We wanted someone around Nellie’s age at that time. I think Nellie was 8 or 9 when we adopted Lucy.

Thank you. So, Biscuit, Remington & Dawson are the next ones on the radar.

After Lucy passed, we thought it would be a good idea to adopt another senior beagle. We drove to Chicago to pick up Biscuit and put her in the backseat with Nellie and came home. Again, there were no issues. The two of them were like 2 peas in a pod from day one. There was no fighting, just beagle love. Biscuit had been in rescue for almost a year while she worked through heartworm treatment. She was such a happy and pretty pup. A few months after we adopted Biscuit, we learned of a terrible situation where 2 beagles were living outside, not being fed, not receiving vet care and were in danger with the cold weather coming. A friend was able to get the owner to surrender the pups. Our friend asked for our help because she travelled for her job and was not able to take the dogs to care for them. We told her that we would help until we could figure out what to do. Again my husband, Rich, met Remington and Dawson at the vet the first day they arrived. They had been living in their own filth and both were malnourished and sick. I should say that neither had names at this point and they were named at the vet’s office. Dawson had ear infections, intestinal parasites and nasal parasites.  Remington had the same plus a skin issue and heartworm. We got the medication and veterinary care that they needed and then moved them to crates in our laundry room for 90 days. We could not have them with the girls as they could pass on the parasites and infections. After 3 months, we were able to get Dawson neutered and get all of his infections cleared up. Remington went through heartworm treatment and when that was successfully completed, he was neutered. Neither dog was housebroken or had any manners at all. We needed to teach them everything about being a dog.  This was a very difficult time for us. We weren’t prepared to have 4 dogs, 2 of them very sick, but we figured it out. After working through all of the issues with Remy and Dawson, there was no way that we could give them up, so we wound up with 4 dogs.

Did you know of the situation with Remington & Dawson before they arrived at the vets?

We believe the boys were owned by a man who passed away. The dogs were given to his son and we understand that he did not  take care of them. At least this is what we were told at the time. We don’t know if they were sick prior to the dad passing away or not. I have pictures of where they were living which was essentially a fenced in area with a chicken coop type place and weeds everywhere. We are not sure why this situation happened, only that a friend of a friend became aware of the situation and asked the owner to surrender the pups and miraculously he did. The odd thing is that he actually had another dog, I guess his dog, that was well taken care of and living with him.

What did the vet say when your friends had the boys surrendered and then picked up by you?

One friend had the owner surrender them and the other friend picked up the dogs and drove them to the vet. Rich met them at the vet. The vet knew that they were going to be in bad shape but we are not sure the vet knew how bad of shape they were in. The boys were living in their own faeces and Rich said they were really stinky. The vet said she has seen similar cases of neglect in the past and that we probably saved Remington’s life. Clearly much longer in the insanitary conditions and he would have died. Dawson would have too but he was not as sick as Remington. After the vet check the boys went to the dog wash and our friend went through 2 bottles of shampoo trying to get them clean. After the boys initial visit to our friend’s vet, we made an appointment and took them to our vet about a week later just to have them checked out and to get additional medications and make sure that nothing was missed in their initial vet visit. Getting them healthy – especially Remy – was a journey. It took Remington 6 months before he was through heartworm treatment and clear of all issues.

Remington & Dawson

It is heartbreaking to hear stories like this, however it is heartwarming that the boys were saved and are happy. Can I ask about Nellie going OTRB (Over The Rainbow Bridge)?

Life at our house with 4 dogs was going well for a number of months until we took Nellie for her annual physical. They did a urine test and discovered that she had TCC or Transitional Cell Carcinoma.  The outlook was very bleak as most dogs lose their battle within 6 months. TCC is cancer of the urethra and is common in older spayed beagles. Usually what happens is that the urethra gets blocked and the dog cannot urinate, so they need to be put down. We were very fortunate as the foremost vet researcher for TCC was at Purdue University, close to our home. Nellie started treatment there, first in a clinical trial, and then traditional chemo. She continued her fight for almost 3 years. She was going for chemo monthly and taking daily medications.  She eventually decided that she had enough and stopped eating one day.  We took her a few days later to the vet and she went OTRB. It was truly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. We sent tissue samples to Purdue so they could potentially help another pup and/or stop the disease completely. 

We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the Twitterpack at her passing.  She truly was one in a million.

Again, thank you. It is truly heartbreaking when things like this occur. Can you say, is TCC hereditary, is it common?

We are not sure if it is hereditary but it is very common in older spayed female beagles and also in Schnauzers, I think.

Since Nellie’s passing, Biscuit’s health has continued to decline. We think she is at least 14. She has congestive heart failure and is on a number of medications.  The medications cause issues with the kidneys and we are now dealing with kidney and liver issues with her. She is going to the vet twice a week for fluids to help her kidneys. Remington (9) and Dawson (8) continue to be happy pups.  

Thank you for letting us know so much information about all the dogs you have rescued and loved. Giving a dog a chance of a good life is wonderful and we are truly grateful to you, and of course Rich.

Midwest BREW can be found here. https://gotbeagles.org/

A chilly morn in the fields

Wake up, it’s time for a walk. I don’t mind that it is only just above freezing, there is a world of dexplorations out there.

We set out for a brisk walk around the fields at Mayhall Farm. We are lucky as there is permitted access kindly granted by the farmers.

Chesham from Mayhall Farm fields

The sun was still fairly low in the sky and the woods cast their shadows across some of the fields. The early morning frost covered the still shaded grass. To me it is ideal as all the scents are held on the surface and my nose is filled with the aromas of the wildlife I wish to meet. I don’t think the wildlife wants to reciprocate however. I am raring to go but my hudad is still a bit slow and takes some time to get into his stride. It is a lovely crisp sunny day however so we march on.

Snootering in the hedgerows

Every now and then we take time to stop and look around at the lovely views we have from the tops of the hills. We wonder where everyone else is? These are ideal walking conditions and even I am a little confused as to where all my fellow dogs have got to. Anyway back to sniffing the paths and fields for the rabbits, squirrels, deer and foxes which are all hiding away from me. As we continue our walk, the Chaffinches and Great Tits scatter ahead of us from their perches within the hedgerows.

Within a couple of hours we have strolled around 6 miles and find ourselves heading home to a hearty breakfast. My brain and nose have been filled with the sights, sounds and scents of the local fields.

Early morning shenanigans

I am a lucky Beagle Harrier. All this on my doorstep and I can walk it whenever I want. Rain or shine, I love it.

Dexter enjoying his walk in the fields.
Happy hound

Old Amersham Stroll

In pursuit of my dream of dexploring all the lanes, woods, fields and paths around my house I decided it would be a good idea if my parents had a gentle 8 mile Sunday morning stroll recently.

Starting through the fields at Mayhall Farm, we crossed a road with big houses and through Hervines Park. We very carefully walked over the railway crossing. Down the pathway and through the fields bordering Rectory Hill we went. This was exciting as I had never been here before and I was anxious to introduce myself to all the wildlife living in the copses, hedgerows and fields. Unfortunately I was shackled to my mum so I didn’t really get the chance to woof hello up close.

Hurry up, Old Amersham is down there

Past the football club and into Old Amersham we went. I was enjoying this. Somewhere I hadn’t been before and new sniffs abounded. I saw some lovely old buildings and quite a few people. Old Amersham has a Market Hall built in 1682 and it is still used today. Mum & dad seemed to be more interested to discover that there were quite a number of hostelries in the town that they seem not to have visited. Hmmm.

Left into Church Street and past St Marys Church. Taking the next right we strolled along the river Misbourne and through the fields. I was taking in all the scenery and looking forward to what was around the next corner.

Sadly it was the road which took us out of Old Amersham, up to Amersham on the Hill and back towards my home.

Zzzzzzz

Eight miles and plenty of sniffs later I was snoozing gently in my bed and dreamed of another dexploration just like this. Hopefully soon.

2018 – Year of Dexploration

As the year draws swiftly to a close I wanted to reflect on what I had encountered through the last 12 months. It appears I have enjoyed myself greatly with the assistance of my Personal Assistants and quite a number of my friends and their pawrents.

January

It was quite a cold month and I spent most of the time either running around to keep warm or trying to complete the crossword puzzle. January was quite a sad month as my pawrents had to go to my grandad’s funeral so it was fairly subdued to be honest.

February

I was lucky to get a trip to Blandford Forum in mid February and I took the opportunity to have a really good sniff around the River Stour. Thankfully the weather stayed fair. Back home it was essential that I continued to ensure that the fields and byways around my house were clear of squirrels.

March

Brrr. Much of March was cold as a result of the Beast from the East. Not that it stopped me from patrolling every day through the snow and chill wind. There was a stark beauty to the countryside near my house as I strolled the fields and woods.

April

The sun made an appearance and continued to shine for the majority of April. This was the signal for a hearty rendition of the “song of the beagle” on regular occasions. I even managed to get in a surprise visit to the Beagle World Record walk in Macclesfield. I am proud to be part of the world record for a single breed of dog walk along with over 1,000 of my friends and their pawrents. Sadly I did not realise it would be the last time I saw my wonderful friend Charley Beagle who went to the Rainbow Bridge early in September.

May

The merry month of May. The sun continued to shine, the rain clouds stayed away and the grass grew. Flowers proliferated in the garden and the meadows making for some wondrous smells on my daily patrols. I was nearly half way through another year and I sometimes took a moment to reflect on my lucky situation.

June

Still the sun refused to be hidden by rain clouds. This was what summer should be about. Warm days, bright evenings getting longer and all with the beauty of the flowers and shrubs in my garden surrounding me and making me so happy. The lanes, fields and woods near my house grew drier and dusty. The shade from the trees was welcomed as the temperatures climbed and walks became earlier each day. My June was saddened by news that a good friend Nellie the Beagle had passed to the Rainbow Bridge. Everyone loved Nellie.

July

With the sun still showing its face from early morning to late evening we were all getting hot and bothered. We decided to take a few days in Dorset to take in some views and some sea breezes. West Bexington and Puncknowle were chosen and we enjoyed being away for a few days. Back at home the early walks continued so we could avoid the hottest part of the day.

August

Patrolling in the parched fields around my house had become the norm recently. Whilst the scenery is wonderful at all times of the year, I certainly missed the greenery of the growing crops to run through whilst sniffing out critters. We managed another trip to Dorset for a day. This time we were in Christchurch and I made sure I got a walk along the beach. Sadly another friend, Tommy, from Argentina also crossed to the Rainbow Bridge.

September

With the summer pretty much finished it felt like a good time to think back over the shenanigans I had got up to this year. I was happy to recall all the fun I’d had so far. Little did I know that there would be a wonderful trip to London for me, courtesy of my hudad. I got to travel on the train, the tube and I saw many of the sights of London. Apparently I behaved impeccably. Very sadly Charley Beagle went suddenly to the Rainbow Bridge and everyone was sad for he was a great friend to all.

October

We met with my good friend Raffa Beagle on top of the northern Chilterns at Dunstable Downs. A lovely day was had by all as we strolled and watched the gliders floating silently across the skies. Not content with one outing I managed to wander around Ashridge Estate. This was great fun as the long grass held many critters and smells which were intriguing to me.

November

We lost a great friend in early September 2018 and a large number of friends all chipped in to buy a permanent and wonderful reminder of Charley beagle. We were lucky to be there when the stone bench was delivered. Later in the November I was lucky enough to get another tube ride and this time it was with both my pawrents.

December

December arrived and the cold chill of the Arctic wind made the grass frosty and bleak. The low sun played its rays across the fields turning them into gold. Walks around the woods and fields were done with the usual gusto albeit also with a view to getting back home into the warm.

My year has been wonderful. I have been to places I could never have dreamed of, I have met friends and had great fun with them too. I have had a year of dexplorations which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I feel reassured that I am safe and loved. I know I have a great life. I am very lucky.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2019 is good for you.