We live in strange times

Dad went to my nans funeral on Friday. Lenny and I knew there was something not right as dad seemed a little apprehensive on our morning walk. We had a nice walk and dad told us what good lads we are, but there seemed to be something in his voice that told me things were a little different. We didn’t mess about too much on our walk or when we got back home. We got a big hug and a kiss on the head each before he left.

He said everything went ok on Friday afternoon, kind of as you would expect a funeral to go, really. Due to the current restrictions on people attending services, there were only 26 people so it felt a little more personal than when grandad passed away and there were about 50-60 people there. He did a talk and said to people about the link with the past being cut, abruptly and leaving you with regrets that you didn’t say what you wanted to say. When he got home, dad told us that he loved us very much and we got another round of tickles. I might have scored a couple of gravy bones too, whilst Lenny was walking around the garden but he doesn’t have to know, does he?

Then on Saturday we woke up, had our first half of breakfast, went on our walk, returned to our second half of breakfast and proceeded to settle in for a nice snooze. Suddenly, knock knock on the window and Raffa Beagles mum is standing there waving furiously at us. What a lovely surprise for Lenny and I. We greeted auntie J in normal beagle fashion and then proceeded to play hide and seek in the garden. She lost as we are quite good at finding people.

You go that way Lenny

After an hour or so we calmed sufficiently to roll over and snooze whilst the humans had a chat and caught up on life. We haven’t seen auntie J since early December 2019 and then were very saddened when poor sweet Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge on 4th February this year. We had been saving up our leg leans and licks for her since then. It was a lovely sunny day so we went into the garden and showed everyone how fast we can run circuits around the flowerbeds and across the patio. I think they were impressed. We were just settling in for a long laze and looking forward to tickles when auntie J said she had to leave so we gave her a cheery beagle send off. Then it was off to sleep.

Strange days clearly follow one another. From sadness and reflection to a feeling of joy seeing friends in the space of 24 hours. Take life as it comes everyone as you won’t know what is around the corner. As Raffa said, never give up when faced with challenges and live life to the full.

We only get one shot at this.

The joy of life

I was going to call this article “The Joy of Dex” but that may attract a different type of reader.

I’ve been watching my brother recently and noticed that he has settled so much faster than I did when I arrived. I am forever on the go, I need to see whats happening, when its happening and why. If someone goes out of the room, I will be right there dutifully trotting along behind. It has come to my ever increasing notice that Lenny just stays on his bed, lazily opens one eye to survey the scene and then falls back to sleep again.

Chalk and cheese we are referred to. The rare times upon which he will move swiftly usually involve food or going into the garden to run around like hounds possessed.

On our walks around the local lanes Lenny has started to find his own trails more often although we still sniff the same scents now and again. When we look at him, he is trotting along with his tongue hanging out, happiness writ large over his cheery little face.

Today I was in the office with mum whilst she worked away and dad made dinner. Lenny strolled to the door and asked politely if he could go outside, so dad obliged. Within five minutes there was a quiet bump on the door and Lenny was playing happily with a small unripe apple that had fallen from one of the trees in my small orchard. He picked up the apple, tossed it onto the patio and play bowed with it. He was so engrossed with such a small thing that brought him so much joy that he hardly noticed dad watching him.

Apparently he is a little heart melter just like me. We may be the same breed but we are so different in our nature. He is the epitome of a rescued dog living his best life with love and security showered upon him.

Attached

Today I saw something that made my heart warm and brought a smile to my face.

Dad had to run an errand and Lenny was whimpering a little whilst he was out. When dad returned, Lenny bounced along the path in the garden and greeted dad with a wag of his tail and the usual standing on dads leg so he can get closer for tickles and ear rubs. I always got the feeling that Lenny liked living here but now I can confirm it.

Dad has been taking Lenny on some longer walks for a few days a week recently to try and get Lenny more accustomed to some different places and scents. We have been restricted during the quarantine period as to where we could go fairly safely and not bump into too many people in a close proximity, for instance on a narrow path through the woods. On the walk Lenny gets plenty of praise if he does something right, such as being polite to another dog, not arooing at humans, walking closely if they’re on a steep downward slope and returning from the end of the lead when called. I think it has worked. When Lenny saw dad come home, his whole demeanour changed.

Come on dad, the fun is this way.

I had praise and tickles when I first arrived but I don’t think I necessarily appreciated or understood what they were for. I always though they were a precursor to more shenanigans and pulling like a bucking bronco at the end of my lead. I know I am happy and have a forever home here. I think until recently Lenny was still slightly hesitant. The last few weeks he has come on markedly and feels more attached to us all.

He’s found his forever home too. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

Glad you are my brother.

Off with his head.

As my readers will undoubtedly remember I had the privilege, nay the honour, of showing Raffa and her mum around London before Christmas last year. Ok, Lenny and my parents came along to carry bags and pay for coffee and buns, but I did most of the work on the day. We had a lovely day and saw so many places that Lenny and I slept like the proverbial logs on the tube journey home.

When I woke up the next day I realised that Raffa hadn’t ticked off all the sights she wanted to see. We had missed seeing a Yeoman of the Guard, also known as a Beefeater.

Nearly all ticked off.

This bugged me for quite some time in the weeks and months that followed. Mum and dad could see there was something preoccupying me and we decided we would do something about it. We wanted it to be a surprise for Raffa and her mum. Sadly Raffa then made her longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge. This only strengthened my resolve to finish Raffa’s tick list. We decided to try and contact the Tower of London people to see if they could help us. I dictated an email for dad to send to the Tower of London and we waited to see if there would be a reply. To our surprise we got a really fast response which said they would be only too pleased to help us and we should correspond further to make arrangements. Once dad had made concrete plans, I had to rein in my enthusiasm until the day I could escort dad on the tube back into London. We had to be quite quick as the pandemic was beginning to affect travel and people so we knew we wouldn’t have much time.

The day arrived and we were on our toes early towards the station. Onto the train, and before we knew it, we were through Marylebone and heading to the park. I had done it a few times before. I felt like a professional commuter.

Dad, can we make this train go faster?

We successfully negotiated the tube journey and found ourselves looking out at the Tower of London. Suddenly my ears were being tickled by a tall gentleman in a colourful coat and hat. Yeoman Sergeant Towell was standing smiling and we went off for the photo to be taken. Whilst the picture was being taken we had a chat with him. He was very welcoming and generous with his time, given that there were still some people who also wanted his help in being shown around the Tower. He was a beagle owner previously and also told us that there is a beagle who lives in the Tower, but I didn’t get to meet him. It was great fun and I walked back to the tube station with a spring in my step.

This is for you Raffa.

Within a couple of days, the pandemic intervened and it took some time to get a nice frame for the photo which we would send to Raffa’s mum. We hoped she would be happy that we had completed Raffa’s tick list. I gave the picture a kiss and we sent it off. Now we had to wait to hear if we had done the right thing.

We had done the right thing. Raffa’s mum loved the picture. Phew. She said it was wonderful and lovely and was a fitting reminder of the day. Phew once more. We couldn’t let you down by not finishing the postcard, Raffa.

We must say thank you to the Tower of London as they were unbelievably helpful and happy to help us at short notice.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Lenny

Wake up wake up, it’s gone 6 am and the squirrels are running amok in the grounds. Ok, they’re not actually running amok but mum and dad didn’t know and we could have stopped a squirrel invasion. I got Lenny to leap on dads kidneys so he had no excuse to go back to sleep. Up and at them, come on.

We were soon in our harnesses and exploring the lanes and byways around Pednor, with the sun on our fur and our scent receptors close to the ground. As we went along the lane, the rabbits scattered for their burrows and the squirrels hid in their trees, sadly out of our reach. Upon reaching the dingley dell on the corner of the road, we decided we would take the parents along Herberts Hole as there was a better chance of getting some good baying off our chests with the critters that live in the hedgerows. Birds, squirrels and rodents made their escape as we wandered along, having great fun. Apparently I sound like one of those steam trains you see and hear in old films, when I am on the trail of prey. Anyway, we got most of the way down the track and mum decided she had to return home to do something called ‘work’. Nope, I have no idea what it is either. So, we turned around and headed home.

Back at home and after breakfast we were allowed out into the garden again as the sun was still shining and there were various horticultural chores that needed to be started and finished. It was such a peaceful morning with Lenny and I wandering around, sniffing, lazing on the grass and playing the odd bit of snout jousting. He seemed to be quite calm as we lay near each other, thinking about where we could drag mum and dad tomorrow morning.

What a lovely day for some nefarious activity

Then it started. The glint in his eye, the slight wry smile, the malevolent sideways glance to see if I was concentrating. He woofed to me that he was off to chew a stick so off he toddled. You could almost see the little halo above his head, he looked so innocent. My canine senses told me there was malice afoot however and I made myself ready to repel boarders. I was right, quick as a flash he was on to me, teeth glinting in the sun, eyes reddened from his transformation into a devil of the night and his paws standing on my ears whilst his teeth went to work on my face. He had pinned me down ready to inflict the final chomp on my jugular vein. However he didn’t account for my saviour, in the shape of a dad shaped object advancing up the garden to prise us apart and save my ears and neck from looking like a kitchen colander. “Off! Leave him alone!” called dad. And suddenly Lenny was running googley eyed around the garden arooing at his perceived victory over me. I got ear tickles whilst dad made sure I hadn’t been perforated and then he told me to “stop encouraging Lenny”. Forget the perforated ears, they were shocked and stunned ears. As I looked past dad, I saw Lenny down the garden once again wandering around quietly eating revolting stuff and looking for worm casts to roll in. How could he be so different so quickly?

Ow ow, get off. Hee hee.

I had held him off, just, and I live to tell the tale. Innocent, my paw.

I shall chew a stick and await my next victim.

Still love him though. He is my brother after all.

Love, life and Loss

As many may know I am on Twitter and I am blessed to have many accounts that follow me on there. When I joined it was, predominantly, to obtain some guidance from other beagle owners as to traits, behaviour and general information that I could relate to my parents about looking after me. From a few chats here and there in the beginning, it has thankfully blossomed and I can count many good friends and confidantes amongst the furs and people I talk to.

One of the first friends I “met” on there is Seb who isnt a Beagle but a Border Terrier (BT) who was kind and thoughtful when we communicated and I was after some information. He is part of the BT Posse, a group of like minded Border Terriers and their owners who, like the BeagleBug Club, look out for each other when things are good, bad, sad or someone is just having a bad day. As a Beagle, I was allowed to become an honorary member of the BT Posse, and I am extremely proud to be associated with them. The owners are very much along the same lines as the beagle owners that I know, in that you can ask them something and generally you will get a true and honest response. They don’t do politics, they don’t do trolling, they don’t do abuse and they really are a band of like minded people and dogs who want to get on with one another and help each other out.

One man and his faithful dog.

Some will tell you that Twitter is just a place for trolls and nasty spiteful people, who’s intention is to be harmful. If you look deeply enough you will inevitably find those accounts, where it is just politics and spiteful or racist rhetoric. Equally, if you look for the friendship that can be found within other “communities” on there, you can find the gentle and friendly guidance and companionship of people who seek to be pleasant.

Today Seb went to the Rainbow Bridge. He had just celebrated his sixteenth birthday. He let all his pals know what was going to happen and asked them “not to be sad but to remember he has been so lucky to have an amazing life, he has met so many wonderful friends and he has two people who have put him first and loved him more than anything”. Everything I seek to achieve is contained within this sentence.

Rest easy Seb.

Run free Seb, and rest easy. Farewell Sir. We shall meet again one day but in the meantime, shine brightly in the night sky. You are, and will be, sorely missed by many.

Quarantine quandary

I was going to say there hasn’t been much going on here, but I have been thinking again. Life has been taking place, albeit in a more cosseted and restricted manner. Since the passing of Gracie Mae to the Rainbow Bridge, there doesn’t seem to be that much of importance to report. I did wonder how I could follow such a sad post but then I thought that I shouldn’t be following it. It occurred to me that this ongoing quarantine time has taught Lenny and I to look up and around us when we are on our walk, or even when we are in the garden. Again I know I am lucky to have a garden and to be able to walk each day in the fields and lanes which are nearby my home. It has taught us that our friends, both furry and human are precious.

Brothers in arms

Our walks have been a little more restricted in recent times as regular readers will be aware. We would love to go on the tube train and explore further afield or maybe go into the capital so I can show Lenny around a little more. We haven’t even got in the car and driven to fields and woods outside of our town. There is so much to explore and maybe I am becoming a little impatient to show places to Lenny. I know I have to curb my enthusiasm somehow. In any case, we don’t have face coverings so we aren’t really allowed on the tube, are we? As a result of our quarantine we have been limited in our range of places to exercise and now the routes we walk are getting a little bit duller each day. I am not going stir crazy just yet, but I fear I am on the slippery slope.

We did a quick check on the mileage since Lenny arrived in my house and we seem to have walked 1,578 miles on 377 different days. It would have been further but someone around here, who shall remain nameless, didn’t get a watch that recorded distance and time for around half of March. Did you dad? We haven’t done too bad I suppose since Lenny has arrived. We can walk together now and each have our own sniff trails to follow, he has learnt to lurch into the hedges and undergrowth to try and catch rabbits and he is also extremely good at aroooing at passing runners, cyclists and other dogs. We have explored pretty much everywhere there is to investigate here so our combined desire to explore further afield becomes stronger each day.

Where are those pesky rabbits?

For now we will enjoy our health as well as our safety whilst we are locked away locally. We know there will be opportunities on the horizon to make our way to different places, we just have to continue being a little cautious.

Come on dad, it’s time for a walk.

Or maybe not.

Gracie Mae

Some days I wake up, stretch and look outside eagerly to see what shenanigans I can get up to. I look across at Lenny who is often times sleeping quietly in his bed and think I am the luckiest Beagle Harrier I know. Today wasn’t one of those days, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

As dad sat down to eat his cornflakes he flicked onto my Twitter account and saw that one of my oldest friends had passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Gracie Mae Beagle lives in America. She was one of the first friends I met when I joined Twitter in late December 2013. My account was opened as my parents had no experience of owning a rescue dog, let alone a beagle and they sought some assistance from other beagle owners in respect of what to expect over the coming months and years. One of the first people to respond to some of our questions was Gracie’s mum, called auntie Wendy. She said Gracie would love to try and help us understand more about Beagles. She was kind, thoughtful and willing to try and help us through the early stages of Beagle adoption and all its intricacies.

Over the years since we first woofed, I am proud to be able to call Gracie my friend. We have shared many funny times, as well as cried on one another shoulders metaphorically when things aren’t so good.

Pardon me mum, Dexter wants to know what?

Gracie allowed me to become part of the Sploshun Squad, an elite band of furs who can destroy stuffed toys in minimal time and with minimal fuss. Gracie was the best at beating up her stuffed toys. Many times I performed dental lobotomy on sheep, squirrels, reindeer, elephant and snake toys. The fluff and innards would be everywhere, I would be laying on my back laughing and arooing in triumph. As soon as I checked my work with Gracie she would be arooing with me, and giving me encouragement and tips on faster destruction of the toys.

Gracie gave the world the Gracieball, whereupon you sleep in the tightest ball possible, preferably with your nose tucked under your back legs. So many pals tried and succeeded in making a Gracieball that I hope she had proud ears.

Lenny got 10/10 for this effort

Gracie was the queen of stink eye. If you disapprove of something or someone, the sideways glance or glare which more than adequately expresses your disdain. She was a mistress of the art, a true queen of the trade.

Sorry but just no.

Gracie was always one of the first to offer her sympathy to so many pals around the world when something terrible happened or the inevitable time of the longest journey arrived. She was kind, thoughtful and compassionate, a true friend to all who met and woofed with her.

Today Gracie made her longest journey and we have lost one of the best furs possible to the Rainbow Bridge. She had been ill recently, the vet was looking after her but circumstances dictated that it was, most sadly, Gracie’s final curtain call. I know that her Basset brother Roscoe will be so sad that his sister is no longer here to play with him. Despite having fun beating each up, I know they were best buddies and would always look out for one another.

We will miss you Gracie sweetie. Run free from your cares and ills. Find all the pals who will be waiting to greet and guide you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge and rest easy. Your work down here is done.

For you Gracie.

We patrolled in your honour today, Gracie beagle. Farewell but never goodbye for we shall meet again one day.

The Cypriot Vampire

As Lenny has been here for a calendar year, I thought I would sit down with him in between bitey face and garden shenanigans to see what he’s made of the last twelve months of living in my house. So, grab a gravy bone or ten, fill your bowls with Adam’s Ale and hopefully enjoy our woofs.

Lenny. Lenny!! Over here, yes it’s me, Dex. Hello!! We are supposed to be catching up on your first year.

Oh hello Dex, what’s up brofur? Oops sorry, I’ll just stop eating this stick. Right I’m all yours, what do you want to know?

Good grief. Right, first question. When we first met in Jo’s house in Essex, did you have any idea what was going to happen next?

Erm no. Not a clue. I was happy to be in the UK and to be having walks every day and the chance to practice my bitey face skills with the other dogs at auntie Jo’s. I hadn’t been here long from Cyprus and I was getting used to all the different things. Then you showed up, we went for a walk and I got to woof with you whilst we strolled across the park. You seemed quite a nice fur.

Erm, thanks. Did you find it difficult to adjust when you arrived in the UK?

I don’t know. As I say I hadn’t been here that long, I was still getting used to things like lots of grass, all my new buddies in Essex, the climate and different food. To then be whisked away and deposited in your house was a strange moment. I had been on an aeroplane and in cars so I suppose I just thought it was another adventure. What an adventure it is though!

I hope I like it here.

So, when you got to my house what did you think?

Well I had met you the week before and to meet you again was a bonus. I remembered we had played in Essex and you were pretty good at snout jousting. We were allowed to go out into your garden straight away and we just chased each other. You were making a lot of noise in pursuit of me. I was happy as your garden is big so we had plenty of space. When Jo and Amelia left I didn’t really register what was happening as we were having so much fun. I suppose I didn’t realise they had gone. When it did dawn on me, I was a little bit worried as this was all very new and unfamiliar so I wasn’t wholly certain what was happening.

I think we will get on well.

Did you struggle with the language?

No, I understood your woofs quite quickly. There is a common language of Beagling so I had the basics already in place. It just took a while for me to fully understand these “commands” things we are supposed to respond to from the parents.

We spent quite a while in the first few weeks “playing”, did you feel that you were settling?

Not really. At first I think I was still trying to find my paws in this new house with you and our parents. It was all quite strange for me, and I don’t think I quite appreciated how much of an upheaval it was for you too. I didn’t know you were an only child before I arrived so I suppose I didn’t understand what effect my arrival would have on you and your life. I was waking up quite early and wanting to go out, I was trying out all your beds as well as mine and I didn’t quite comprehend that you eat from one bowl whilst I eat from another. Things like that really. I didn’t have any set routine but that came fairly quickly so I started to settle soon.

You know that our parents were concerned at us two going at each other for the first week, don’t you?

Indeed. I got the impression that they were struggling a little with our tendency to continually squabble throughout the day, even down to not being able to sleep on different sofas. I suspect that the first elongated session of bitey face after a week did us the world of good though as I was whacked out after that. I think it was about two hours chasing each other around the garden and the parents were looking at one another grimacing with fear and trying to suppress the urge to step in. We just stood there panting and grinning at one another.

However I also think one of the seminal moments in the first week was when I had an accident in the house. I was worried that I was in big trouble but it was all just cleaned up and life went on. I think I even got some ear scratches. I could see that we would all get along ok after you and I had got our squabbles out of the way.

We got better eventually though, once you started to settle down.

Yes, we do get on better now, although we still do excellent bitey face games in the house and garden. I like learning from you, it’s fun. I’m quicker, but you have all the shortcuts worked out.

Hmm, anyway, moving swiftly on. What did you make of the short series of training sessions you went to?

I thought it was good, an excellent way to teach Dad how to feed me treats for a little effort on my part. As you had woofed, he is a pushover when it comes to sit, stay, lay down and wait. And the frankfurter treats were very welcome. I was with a group of other pups and I think I was the oldest. It was interesting to see what was required of me. I hope dad doesn’t read this bit about being easy to persuade on the treats front! We continued our training on the patio and in the garden at home so I think I got something out of it and now I am much better. Apparently I still need work on my recall outside, as they want to let me off in some places.

I have no idea where those places are, as the outside is full of scents, squirrels, rabbits and foxes. Oh and deer too.

This is true, and I wouldn’t mind being let off in the woods to be honest. Having woofed that, I suspect I wouldn’t be seen again for quite some time.

You didn’t like the car when you first got to ride in it?

No, I am afraid I felt really ill and got car sick. I went to see a nanny and when we arrived dad saw I wasn’t feeling great. Unfortunately he didn’t quite manage to get me out of the travel crate quickly enough and I was a bit ill. Again though it was all cleaned up without fuss. It was just about ok when I was going to training class as the journey was about 20 minutes but, when I saw nanny, we went round this motorway thing and it was quite a long journey. I enjoyed myself at nanny’s flat though. I don’t think dad was looking forward to the return but I managed to hold it all in on the way back. Mum and dad worked it out that it was the peripheral vision that was causing me problems so they sorted that out. Also I now travel with you in the car and we can while away the time playing cards, drinking beer, playing video games and watching sports. Oops I meant to say we just make sure each other is happy and then we go to sleep.

Well, you were certainly better when we all went to the Beagle World Record Reunion in September 2019 in Macclesfield near Manchester.

Indeed, I had got used to the car by that time and I was travelling with you so we were, erm, able to sleep and just not worry about anything. That was a great day, I loved every minute of it. I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes when we arrived and there were over 600 beagles. I just wanted to get out and about and meet as many of them as possible. Great day and I was completely whacked out when we were coming home.

Hello Raffa, I’m Lenny. Pleased to meet you.

Indeed, we met many friends that day.

We did. I had the honour of meeting Raffa, Griff, Boot, Daisy, Dolly, Ruby and even Tink and Tyrrell’s mums who were over secretly from Australia amongst many others. I know you had told me that I needed to be on my best behaviour when I met Beagle Twitter royalty that day. I tried my best. Meeting so many friends was just wonderful, I loved every minute of the day. And I especially liked that I could walk mum around the world record course, that you had done with dad the previous year. I was proud ears to be amongst illustrious world record breaking company. And you were there, of course (ouch!!)

We started to do more trips out in the car so you could get better at travelling.

Oh yes, I remember we went to Wendover Woods and then to Ashridge Common on consecutive weekends. They were brilliant as I was able to scent creatures and see so many things, I was tired before I got back to the car. It was also fun as dad decided we should go to the brewery on the way back from Ashridge so “everyone was a winner”.

Then we went to visit our other nan and grandad, and ran around their house like a couple of loons. They had those stairs that we weren’t supposed to use but our bitey face game was made all the better when you stood at the top of the stairs arooing at me. It was a shame we were only there for the day really. However it was a fun day. We went out for little day trips after that, so I suppose I got more used to it. Now I’m good at it although I don’t like the jumping into the boot and settling down bit.

The longer you were here, the more we tried to show you the different areas we can walk in.

We did. I liked one walk in particular, when we went through the woods, into and through three fields, down a byway and then circumnavigated a really big field to retrace our steps. That was fun, and full of new scents.

Botley field.

Ah, you mean Botley.

Probably. We went in a big circle and then came back via small paths over the top of the hill. Actually I like the walk around Pednor, the walk to Mayhall Farm and the one up to Chalfont as well. I think what I am woofing is that I like all my walks. It was good in the summer as it wasn’t too hot and we could walk in the shade of the trees as well as in the open fields.

I introduced you to the London Underground. What did you think when you first saw the tube train?

I was excited ears. I hadn’t come across one of these things before and to travel on one was fun. I remember we walked through the woods and lanes to that Chalfont place and then rode the tube back home. At first I didn’t know what to think, but as soon as it started moving it was fun. I was allowed to sit on mums lap as well and I could see the countryside passing by so that was a bonus. We went on the tube a few more times and you woofed to me that usually that meant something was in the offing for the future.

Tickets please!

And I was right. The trip to London to meet Raffa.

Aw what a day. I was a bit worried when we only went out for a really short walk. And it was quite early when we had our breakfast so I thought I would be hungry. Walking up the hill to the train station, you woofed that this normally meant we were getting a longer trip so would be going on an overground train. When the train arrived I thought it would be like the tube, but it was much faster and I wasn’t allowed to sit on mum or dads lap. We arrived in London and my eyes were trying to take in all the sights and smells. You woofed it would be smelly air and it certainly was. We went through that Regents Park and then met Raffa at the train station. We went on tubes, walked streets, through markets, passed monuments, saw Towers, crossed bridges, woofed at people, saw sailing ships, crossed wobbly bridges, marvelled at cathedrals, went to the pub, waved at the Queens house and then took a black cab ride back to the train station. I even saw a big wheel covered in lights next to the river. No wonder we slept like logs on the return journey. I was so tired I could hardly put one paw in front of the other for a few days.

The boys are back in town

Indeed. Then we went and did it all again!

Of course, we met with Lucy’s mum and dad and we strolled around part of London again. Dad was trying to show them parts of London that people may not usually see. And I remember the Police lady on the horse was laughing at you as as you were arooing loudly near that Bank of England. It was reverberating through the streets.

Yes well, we can gloss over those small details about the Mounted Police lady.

We had a great time and I was quite sad when we woofed cheerio to Lucy’s parents at the Tower of London. Again though we slept all the way home and my paws were aching. Fun times. I hope we get to do that sort of trip again, hopefully with some other pals and buddies. I like exploring and there are so many places I want to go and see. Off lead would be good, but I suppose I will have to make do with being attached to a human for a while.

Christmas arrived.

Oh you mean that time when the little green tree was put up and we received gifts without needing to obey commands? It was fun. We even got that turkey in our dinners for a few days after. We still went on walks, and the frost was on the ground. I’m not sure where this snow stuff was that you promised me? I was a bit disappointed to be honest ears as you woofed that I was going to be allowed to taste this yellow snow delicacy.

Ahem cough cough, yes well. You’ve been here a year. What are you looking forward to the most in the coming months and years?

I am looking forward to getting out and about and being able to meet new pals and play bitey face with them, without the threat of being arrested and put into dog prison for breaking the rules on being outside. This virus isn’t very nice to be honest ears and I wish it would go away. However, that means that humans have to behave themselves and listen to what they are told. If one of our parents is anything to go by, he doesn’t usually listen to anyone so we could be stuck with it for a while. He is being sensible about this virus though. I am looking forward to summer walks and paddling in the river to cool off. I want to go in the car and visit pals. I want to see new places and smell new scents. And if I can do all this with you, then I will be a happy beagle. Once this virus is beaten, we can do all sorts of exploring, visiting and shenanigans with our pals.

And what have you most enjoyed over the last year?

Ooh, good question. The snout jousting with you, as well as waking dad up by standing on him when he’s being lazy and trying to snooze around six am. I have enjoyed running around the garden listening to you arooo at the top of your voice. The walks through the fields and woods are great, travelling on the train and tube is fun and meeting pals on my walks is exciting. Being here though I think is the best. I have a solid routine with treats, walks, tickles, training, beds and love. Much love. I suppose I landed on my paws really when I got here. I had no idea what was going on when I got onto the big aeroplane in Cyprus and then found myself on the other side of Europe within hours. I’m glad you let me live here and I am pleased we are brofurs. I have enjoyed meeting pals and visiting exciting places like London. I have also enjoyed contacting many friends through our Twitter account. It’s good to see friends from all over the world and woof with them, especially when you are asleep. We’re like a big family and look after one another through good times and bad.

One last question, and then you can go back to chewing your stick. If you could do one thing in the next year what would you like to do?

Hmm, I think I would like to have a massive party with pals in this Lake District place you woof about. I have seen the pictures and it looks like beagle paradise so thats what I would like to do. Oh, and I would like to bring back all pals who have gone over the Rainbow Bridge. They all sound really good fun and I would love to meet them all. I know that’s two things, but I am a beagle and can’t count.

Cheers Lenny, that was fun. Enjoy chewing your stick. Hang on, what do you mean woofing with my pals when I’m asleep!!

Oh, erm, nothing Dex. Love you mate.

Lucky Lenny

As a final comment from me, it is lovely to have Lenny here. I know we always have fun at each others expense but I feel like we have made great strides to living well together and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be without him now. We look out for each other and I enjoy showing him the places to go and what it is like to have a strong and stable life. I’m glad he’s my brother.

Surprise!

I am lucky as I have a large number of friends on Twitter. In fact it is difficult sometimes for mum and dad to keep up with all the tweets. My friends and I all have fun together, look after each other and give each other a shoulder to cry on, or paw of comfort, when needs must. It’s nice sometimes as we feel like a big family and we know that, despite not meeting the vast majority of those friends, we hope we can still count on each other as pals.

I had already met Raffa, one of my best pals, when I was on holiday in the Lakes. This was in my previous blog. She was so nice and friendly, and even made me blush when we nose bumped to say good bye. We had great fun. I then heard from another pal, Charley, that there was a large gathering due to take place before Christmas 2016. I gave my humans those eyes that only dogs can give and a plan was hatched with Charley and, his brofur, Boot. They told me the annual gathering was somewhere near Sheffield. When people were there, baubles were hung on a special tree to commemorate those furs we have loved and lost over the years. Charley’s mum said it would be fun if we could go along and to keep it a surprise for the other furs, all of whom I woof with regularly. It is quite a long journey for us so we thought about it, and I continued to give mum and dad the “eyes” to persuade them. We said we would try to come along and agreed it would be a surprise for everyone else who was there.

Fortunately the weather was set fair for the particular day so we set off very early in the morning to try and get there on time. The sad thing is that we had just lost another pal who had gone over the Rainbow Bridge in the week prior to meeting up so we knew that it might be a bit emotional.

Having arrived 5 minutes late, we strolled nonchalantly towards all my pals who were being readied for the stroll around the reservoir. I am afraid I might have given the game away by arooing rather noisily. Charley’s mum wondered aloud “Oh, there seems to be another Beagle here, I wonder who this could be?” Everyone seemed quite happy to see us, and we were happy to see the rest of my pals and their humans. We think it was a nice surprise, we certainly hoped so. Auntie Sarah, who had lost her sweet beagle Boo the week before the tweetup, got leaky eyes when she saw me. She also told me that my messages for her were lovely and had helped her with her heartbreak. I managed to give her leg leans to reassure her that what I had tweeted was a true story. I did have to woof to her to stop giving me tickles and making me feel sad and get leaky eyes as well. Did she not realise I had a rufty tufty image to maintain here. 

Wait for me, Nut and Oggy!

I got to meet Eddy, Tean, Nut, Oggy, Raffa, Charley and Boot. We all walked along woofing at each other, and enjoying all the sniffs and scenery in this lovely part of the countryside. The humans were chattering away too. I found out that Oggy is a rescue beagle from a laboratory in Hungary so he was very scared of many things. This was bad and I had leaky eyes when I walked next to him. We all tried to look after him as much as possible. At one point there were some motorbikes which were going to whizz past, and he had to be picked up and shielded from the noise and smell. I had worried ears for him, but auntie Sarah cuddled him so tight to protect him. However the further we walked, the calmer he seemed to be and we had a good woof as we wandered around, up hill and down dale. We unfortunately missed meeting Bryher, who is Teans sister, as she wasn’t very well and had to stay home. Eddy is a good lad too, bigger than me and pulls on the harness as much as I do. We woofed about life in general. Raffa was in her chariot for most of the walk, as she had damaged her cruciate ligament and was being told to rest up and be safe. Dad got the honour of pushing her chariot again for a while, just like in the Lakes. Charley and Boot strolled along taking in the scenery. I found out that they live in the countryside so they are used to having lovely views and scenery. We got to the tree, people hung their Christmas baubles and had their quiet thoughts to themselves and we continued our walk around the reservoir. It was a lovely place and we chatted for a long time.

We all ended up at a cafe and the humans had cakes and buns and coffee. Apparently it was a bit cold for some of them, and I must say mum did look a bit blue and frozen. Then the final surprise was that I got some cards and presents from my friends which was very nice, and very unexpected. I didn’t have anything to give them in return and I had guilty ears about this. But they woofed that, because I had come a really long way to see them, they would forgive me. I knew immediately that these were good friends and would be friends forever.

Dad drove home and I slept for most of the way, even when the trucks and coaches were driving so close behind us, that I could read their number plates.

What a great day, what great friends. I had so much fun I wanted to do it all over again. I would have to sleep on it though.

Zzzz, why a great day that was.