The deafening sound of silence

It’s me, Lenny. I have been allowed to write a guest blog for Dexter today. Maybe I should explain why.

We went out separately this morning for our walks. I went along the lanes to the west of the village, whilst Dex went up the shortest road then returned to wander along through the village. He was with mum and she said that he had the biggest grin on his face as they strolled along the road. I think he thought they were going under the big road and then around some of his favourite fields which have cows, sheep and, happily for Dex, squirrels aplenty in them. Anyway they didn’t quite make it to the fields as mum swerved suddenly and went up the steps to the vets. It appears the my older brother (who’s not my biological brother but I still love him) had an early morning appointment. After discussing the various things the vet was going to do, it was explained that Dex doesn’t like needles and anything in his scruff or neck would be a titanic struggle of epic proportions. In actually fact in our previous house, he went to see the vet and when she went to give him his annual injection he wriggled so much she stabbed herself. Oh well, at least we know she wont get rabies. Anyway, I digress. Mum left him with the vets as it appears that he needed his teeth cleaned and they were just the people to do it.

I returned home from my walk with dad and I was completely unaware of the parental chicanery which had unfolded. So, paws wiped, collar changed and off I go expecting to be accosted by Dex as I try to make my way to the water bowl. Nothing! No Dex, no greeting and no noisy fighting. I checked every room in the house and he definitely wasn’t here. I had my breakfast and went around the house again to check that he wasn’t hiding and waiting to pounce on me. No, sadly he was nowhere to be seen. I decided it was a good opportunity to go and sleep in one of his favourite places. However the silence was deafening. After a while I got a bit bored so patrolled the garden, chased a squirrel and got some biscuits for my efforts. However Dex was still missing and I was missing him. After lunch I had a snooze in Dex’s chair and then dad decided I could play with some toys. Usually we don’t play with toys as I have a guarding instinct and it ends up with a bit of a squabble between Dex and I. A noisy squabble!

A cheeky monkey beagle chewing a stuffed monkey.

Suddenly ring ring! Hello. Oh he’s ok and we can collect him. Phew. It appears he had a wobbly tooth near the back which has been taken out and the remaining teeth are now gleaming clean. He was a perfect patient and even had some soft food whilst he was at the vets. He’s going back for a check up on Monday afternoon.

When he arrived back in the house I had to be held back from greeting him too wildly. He’s home and snoozing. I have to “take it easy” whatever that means. We are being watched constantly so we don’t get up to mischief. As if we would do shenanigans in the house.

Where am I? Who am I?

It’s nice to have him back. I really didn’t like the sound of silence in the house without him. It was horrible. Tomorrow we will hopefully be able to run around arooing at each other and generally be silly. The defining sound of silence should be gone.

In the mists of morning

Lenny and dad have been going out separately to mum and I recently. I don’t really need to have as long a walk as Lenny. Also we seem to be bouncing off one another when we walk together with it being more like a lead pulling competition than a walk. So, it was decided over the last couple of days that Lenny would hit the lanes west of the village with dad whilst mum and I went north.

Lenny came back this morning with tales of awe and wonder. I didn’t really believe him until I saw the pictures. However it seems that his walk was indeed stuffed full with lovely views.

As autumn rolls in and the mornings become cooler and more moisture laden, the views across the fields and hills should become much more atmospheric. He was a lucky lad to get these vistas today.

Chanctonbury and the South Downs

I was busy chasing squirrels and had my nose to the ground according to mum.

Maybe I will get to stroll the lanes to the west. Maybe tomorrow.

It’s fun living this close to the beach

Sunday morning dawned grey and dull. We expected another day of wandering around the local lanes with associated scents and squirrel bothering. As we set off we turned away from our usual route and walked up and down the little local road. This normally meant that something was in the offing. I looked at Lenny who glanced back at me, with a wry grin.

We were duly turned around and headed back towards the house, stopping only for the car to be unlocked. We decided we would play dumb and not leap straight into our travel crates. It’s always fun to hear our parents grumble at one another about how heavy Lenny or I have become. They seem to blame each other for “extra biscuits”. I have no idea what this means. Once secured in our travel crates we set off along the main road turning right and left as we made our merry way to wherever we were going. Arriving at our destination we were allowed to scent the sea air and we realised we were back at the beach. Fun times would surely follow. Lenny tried to stick his head over the top of his travel crate only for mum to worry that his head was caught. He’s not that silly, I hope. Anyway we soon found ourselves on our toes and the crunch of the gravel, click of the stones and soft rush of the sand on the beach was under our paws. Mum and dad had sadly remembered that I had eaten something grim on our last trip so I was kept on a very short lead whilst we navigated through the seaweed and associated dead sea creatures strewn across the shoreline. This was most mean and totally unnecessary. It wasn’t like I had needed to go outside five times in one night after I had eaten the previous dead sea creature.

Go on Lenny, I dare you to eat it

We strolled (read pulled and jerked on our leads) along the beach merrily baying at anyone who was in earshot. This would actually have been most of the town as I was baying very loudly. We passed spaniels, terriers, Scotties, a couple of Westies and even a poodle. Then we saw a German Wire haired Pointer which seemed to be wrestling with something large, sandy and quite deceased. Even after witnessing the spectacle of the Pointer shaking the devil out of the dead thing, our parents remarked on how well behaved the other dogs were compared to me. Sorry I mean us!

A rare interval without dogs close by

On the way back, Lenny managed to slip off one of the breakwaters but didnt do himself any harm. He just got up, shook himself down and carried on with a silly grin on his face. We arrived back at the car and positively leapt into our travel crates for the return journey home.

Hee hee, I think he’s going to eat something.

Needless to say we were swiftly sleeping once we had eaten our breakfast and run around our garden like a couple of possessed furs. There had been squirrels so I am not sure what else we were supposed to do.

In any case, we had a good time and it was fun to meet and greet so many other dogs. The beach is open to dogs “outside summer season”. I think we will visit again. I hope so as there are many sea creatures that need to be explored.

I wonder what he’s thinking

Often I will look at Lenny and wonder what is going through his mind. I don’t ask him as I like to think he is content with his lot now he has been here for two and a half years.

I wonder if he is thinking back to Cyprus, to his earliest days when he was lost and then found, transported to his new life here in the UK. I know he came into this house like a furry hand grenade which took a while to get used to. However he has settled now and I think he enjoys his life of luxury.

Sometimes our thoughts are better kept to ourselves. They don’t always need to be shared with others when we are pondering the uncertainties of life in general and our own lives in particular.

I’m just pleased that he has settled and is happy. That much he has told me.

An original is gone

I have held back from writing this blog. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for another reflective one until now, so here goes.

Bonzi lived in Washington State with his mum, dad and sister. They loved Bonzi as did we all. When I arrived in my forever home and descended onto dog twitter, Bonzi was one of the first pals who followed me back. We have laughed, cried and giggled like a couple of adolescents ever since. He was forever on trails in the woods, trying to sneak food from anyone who was close enough and making people smile and laugh in the process. He was equally at home surrounded by his family and the many humans who came to visit his home on the pretence of seeing him, but don’t tell his parents about it.

Exploring is over there!

He travelled and explored, he laughed, loved and lived and he was forever making people smile. He said recently that he was in remission for his horrid cancer and everyone sighed thankfully. He had fought off respiratory problems and still came back fighting. Then his body said “Bonzi dude, I’m thirteen and I think I am a bit tired”.

“Where’s my pizza crust” face

Bonzi made his longest journey on 27th September. I woke up and I got an ear tickle from my dad. When he looked at me I could see something had happened and then he explained. Bonzi was gone from sight but he remains in our hearts and minds. He was one of the originals, one of the best and one that I will never forget. Farewell Bonzi dude, travel well and seek out those who have gone before. We will meet again one day although I hope you will forgive me if I want that day to be some way in the future.

Go sing the song of the breed.

What do Beagles think about?

There is a scurrilous rumour going around that beagles think only of their stomachs and then complain that they haven’t eaten in all of fifteen minutes. This is a shocking allegation.

It struck me again today that Lenny and I are extremely lucky to have so many buddies around the world that we can rely on to make us laugh, cry and feel wanted. Throughout the recent past we have retained our friendship with so many of our pals, despite a worryingly large number making their final journey. For this we are very grateful and truly humbled. We also see that there are quite a few pals who parents sometimes struggle to come to terms with life in general and more often the day to day things that they have to do. We have a close knit community amongst the friends and, as we have mentioned before, we always try to make sure that if someone is struggling mentally or emotionally (is there a difference?) we can be there with a word of encouragement or gentle virtual hug. Sometimes we think it may not make any difference however we hope that it will. I think that may be the operative word here, hope. We know that we cannot be by our friends sides 24 hours a day so we are, kind of, relying on a simple act or word of kindness or thoughtfulness, to make them feel better about themselves. Albeit it is a brief interlude in their darkening thoughts however our hope remains steadfast.

I wonder?

We also know that just by us being us we can lighten a load upon some people. From experience Lenny and I are aware that we sometimes make our parents proud as well as a little more fulfilled in their lives. They look at us curled up on the sofa, the chairs, the big bed, maybe sometimes even our own designated beds and they cannot help but give us a tickle, a belly rub or stroke our long soft ears to make them feel happier. As rescues we know they have done the most important thing for us so, I suppose, its only incumbent upon us to allow them to give us tickles and belly rubs. Food is also welcome of course. Oops I wasn’t going to mention that, was I?

The world can be a terrible place sometimes what with the war, arguments, politics, racism, famine, pandemics, arguments about the pandemic and general malcontent of large swathes of the population. If we can help to alleviate even a little of that dark cloud then maybe, just a little, we have worked our magic on you and made you feel more worthwhile and valued. After all what else is there for us to do?

What’s that Lenny, it’s time for some snacks. Great, lead the way.

The Posse is depleted

A wonderful and honourable friend made their longest journey earlier today. I wish to pay tribute to a true buddy.

I am a member of the #BTPosse – I was invited to join by a great friend called Hamish, some years ago. The Posse is very much like the BeagleBugClub in that it is full of friends who look after one another, who cry or laugh together and always look out for everybody, with a kindly word or metaphorical shoulder to cry upon. One of the first Border Terriers I was introduced to was Macbark who lived with his parents, and joined more recently by his little brother Fin, in Edinburgh. Mac was a jolly, cheerful, wise and very handsome fur who always had time for some laughter as well as friendly advice for his fellow BT pals. Many a time did we speak about important subject like Aberdeen FC, Whisky distilleries, Bellfield Brewery and hikes around Arthurs Seat amongst so many other things. He was a font of knowledge on many subjects. He loved travelling to different places in Scotland and even made it down to the Lake District in the north west of England. Apparently he enjoyed that too, in spite of it not being in Scotland. Cheeky wee fella he was. He was at tweet ups and always able to show the many pals around his locale with a smily face.

A fiercely proud BT.

His little brother, Fin, arrived in early August and proceeded to turn Mac’s world upside down. He was typically grumbly about his new little brother but I think deep down he was chuffed to bits that he would have a new pal to play with. Also he had the chance to show Fin all the wrong things to do.

What do you mean I cannot show Fin the muddy puddle?

Within the last week Mac was diagnosed with an advanced case of Gallbladder Mucocele which is apparently fairly common in Border Terriers, sadly. Today we heard the terrible news that Mac had made his final and longest journey over the Rainbow Bridge. He was only eight!

Run free wee fella, free from cares and woes amongst the everlasting meadow with the warm sun on your fur. It is a privilege to say you are my friend and that we will miss you terribly. Farewell Mac but never goodbye.

Hello, pleased to meet you

Five years ago today I was on holiday in the Lake District. I decided that I should take my parents off to a place called Pooley Bridge, at the northern end of Ullswater. It is a lovely spot with views south across the water to the hills in the distance. The midges were out in force that day and there was quite a bit of mumbling and groaning from the parents about being “smothered in flies”.

We strolled about and watched the Ullswater Steamer come into the jetty to discharge its passengers and then make its return journey to Glenridding via Howtown. Smaller yachts bobbed gently on the water whilst, all the time, dad grumbled about the midges and that he wouldn’t need any lunch as he’d eaten so many of them.

We made the journey back to the holiday cottage, strolled about the lanes and byways of Patterdale, made a visit to the local store and then I was allowed to go for a restorative nap whilst the parents fussed about, doing stuff and things that parents do.

I had to insist that they take me to the pub for some food as well as allowing me to continue my snoozing. I got my customary gravy bone from the lady at the bar. I strolled past another lady we had met the night before who had told me I had the softest ears and then I took my rightful place on my settle mat. Cue extensive snoozing, twitching and the occasional snore for a while.

Suddenly I was awoken with a wet beagle nose which had pushed its way through the stair baluster. As I looked up Raffa was stood there with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. Hello, you must be Dexter? I am, I arooed, much to the amusement of the pub clientele. Whilst the parents chatted, Raffa and I resumed our sleeping poses. She had made the journey from home and I had been on my paws all day. We had agreed that we would go out walking the following day so we knew we had enough time to sleep and recuperate now.

Our friendship blossomed from that moment and we shared many more adventures in the years to follow. I am so pleased I got to meet Raffa, a true and lovely pal to many.

Farewell to another

Another of my friends is making ready to take her longest journey very soon. I have known this particular pal from very early in my social media career. I will be extremely sad to lose her to the Rainbow Bridge but will remember that, all the while, we will all end there once our time here is done.

I read the message that her mum had posted. There was a little video of her snoozing away, snoring gently. I read the words that were written and wondered how much pride, bravery and despair must have gone into the composition of the messages telling her friends that she would be making her journey soon. I cannot yet comprehend how words can be formed into coherent sentences whilst watching us slowly slip away. It must be terrible enough when we make our journey suddenly but to watch us, knowing that at a set time on a set date we will take our last breath and fall asleep forever, takes courage and fortitude beyond my understanding currently.

When does love overcome despair? When does pride overcome the emptiness of loss? When does grief become overtaken by remembrance of those times shared? I cannot answer any of these questions directly.

The original friends that I was lucky enough to find are diminishing faster than I would like. The days upon which I do not hear of another pal making the journey seem fewer. I have never met most of my friends, and likely I never shall. Some who I have met, have become wonderful pals and their loss is felt greatly. It is the family effect that we feel amongst our group that holds us together. People may disagree on so many things in life however when it comes to looking out for each others dogs, there is this unity of strength. A bond if you will. A bond of the strongest substance of love and friendship.

The world still turns, the sun still shines and we will all go about our daily business until we falter and fall by the wayside. More friends will come to the party but it will not diminish the memories of those who have passed, those who we have loved and continue to love even though they are no longer in our sights.

Farewell Newfy sweetie, I will miss you so much.

Time flies

It was Lenny’s birthday two days ago. He is now three. He had a good day with a nice walk in the morning and I noticed that there were some extra treats being slipped into his food. The parents think I don’t see these things. As a scent hound I may not see them but I do smell them. I don’t mind, it was his big day and as an older brother I am not going to spoil it for him.

Onto other things. It was a year ago today that my nanny went to the Rainbow Bridge. Time has flown since dad got a phone call whilst we were out on our walk, that nanny had passed away overnight. Dad was very sad to hear the news from his sister but knew it was coming. In fact it comes to us all at some point. I remember we finished our walk and Lenny and I got extra tickles and a kiss on the bonce once we had snaffled our second breakfast. He told us that nanny had gone to the Rainbow Bridge and was now in the company of too many of our pals who had already made their longest journey. We understood that we wouldn’t be able to get tickles or naughty treats from her, and nor would we be able to give her leg leans any more. We were sad as we liked getting tickles from nanny. She was the one who said “if you can’t say anything nice, then say nothing”. This is something I apply every day. I’m happy that she got to meet Lenny on a few occasions although she did get him and me mixed up the first time he visited her.

I know dad misses her everyday but he is comforted a little that she is no longer suffering or in pain. He cannot be naughty or cheeky and get told he will get a clip round the ear. We are all sad that she never got to see our new house as I think she would have liked it quite a bit. She is with grandad now and at peace.

Love you nanny, fly high.

Life is shorter than we all think sometimes. When we are young we think we are invincible and old age is in the far distance so we often don’t think to say what we feel. I will give dad an extra leg lean today so he knows we are all a bit sad.