I went through a stage where I was being ill, or injuring myself with fair regularity. Maybe I should deal with the ailments individually, starting with the illness.
No one knows really if I was eating all the wrong things, or if I was picking up germs around the walks I was taking, but there were quite a few times when the vets was nearly called, but avoided – just.
Early in my tenure here I must have eaten something rotten and was ill. It made me feel loved that mum sat up all night with me to make sure that I didn’t come to more harm. She looked very tired in the morning and I felt really sorry for her, but she was looking after me and the bond seemed to be growing. Sometimes I felt that I was upsetting her as I was ill so often. Another time I had been ill for 2 or 3 days in a row and I heard the conversation saying “Yes of course we can bring him in, if you can have a look at him as we are a bit worried by the continued illness”. When I arrived at the vets the nice lady looked at me and said that I had a bug and that I needed to be put on a diet for a while. This meant that the bug would pass and I could get back out into the fields more quickly. So I was pleased to find out that I was on chicken and rice for a few days. It was very tasty, but there wasn’t much of it which was a shame as I was really hungry. I was getting fed more times a day, but I was still on meagre rations. After a couple of days I felt like it would never end, and I feared I would be on small rations for a long time. A few days later however I noticed the portions got a little larger, but they still weren’t normal. I was only going out in the garden, not my longer walks out in the streets and fields like I had been used to. Gradually the food got back to normal, and I wasn’t being watched all the time and then it happened, I was back out on longer walks outside the house. Phew. Apparently I was eating all the wrong things in the fields and lanes, sniffing all the gross objects which lay before me and generally treated the animal waste recycling biodiverse product as a smorgasbord. Who knew?
Injuries are the next subject. I have done all sorts of stupid things to myself, usually when I broke free and whizzed around like a racing snake. I have had the usual array of sprains and strains to my ankles and knees.
This story is from September 2015. My biggest trip to the vet took place after we had been out one day in the fields. There was an awful lot of sniffing and investigation to be done. It was summer, it was nice and warm. I was allowing mum to accompany me in exploring the area. I was starting to learn things such as chasing and eating bees isn’t the best thing to do. I got told off and tried to stop catching them but they whizzed about and were too tempting. Anyway all the plants were growing and the the grass and nettles were really tall. I didn’t know that nettles stung like bees. I just marched through the fields. When we got home mum noticed that I had a big mark on my pad, and it looked like something had got into my foot. Of course I decided that the best thing would be to chew and nibble my paw, as this would obviously make it better. I am a boy so don’t be surprised at some of the things I manage to do.
Mum and dad watched me for a couple of days as I was limping, sometimes quite a lot and often I couldn’t put my paw down, it was so painful. So a trip to the vets was arranged and the nice vet lady looked at my paw and said she thought I might have a grass seed in there. This made mum and dad look at each other with a bit of worry, as this can be quite bad and I may need an operation if it was true. I didn’t really understand what this ‘operation” meant, but I heard them all agree I would need to come back to the vets and fairly soon. So I went home and nothing really changed, apart from me having to wear a Cone of Shame to stop me nibbling at the paw and making it worse. I was given some antibiotics as they thought this might help draw the seed out of my paw. Strangely they couldn’t see the puncture where it had gone in. About a week passed, I went back to the vets and they still couldn’t find anything like a hole or wound in my paw, and then wondered if I have trodden on something that was caustic and burned my paw. In any case, it wasn’t getting better so it was decided that an operation would go ahead.
A couple of days later I was surprised when I wasn’t allowed to have any breakfast. My tummy was rumbling and I had been out for a walk, so this was different as I usually returned from my walk and ate my breakfast. We went to see the vet early in the morning and when mum and dad left me there I was quite sad. I didn’t know what was happening. However the nurses were very nice and I was being looked after and fussed over when all of a sudden I felt very sleepy. The next thing I knew, I was waking up under a big blanket, feeling a bit groggy, and with a huge bandage on my paw. Best of all, it had bones on it, but I knew that I couldn’t eat these bones as they were on the outside of my leg.
I was allowed to go home at the end of the day and it was very exciting, despite having to wear a bag on my paw. I didn’t realise that I had to keep the paw clean. The Cone of Shame made an unfortunate reappearance.
The first night post-op just drifted by and I didn’t really know if I was coming or going to be honest. Then days went by, and I was getting used to the Cone of Shame, which was surprising as it was seriously hampering my ability to hunt in the garden. The pigeons and squirrels could see me coming from miles away. It was like having a neon sign attached to me. Inside the house however the cone of shame was very useful as I could bash into mum and dad when I wanted some extra food, or to lay on the sofa as I was ever so poorly. Every time I went outside the house, I had to wear the plastic bag over my damaged paw to make sure it was dry. We went back to the vets a couple of times in the first week as I needed my bandage changed to make sure I didn’t get an infection. The nurse was very happy that I had been a good boy and kept my paw clean, that it wasn’t nibbled and that the cut was healing well. I had proud ears and I got some extra biscuits. Another few days and I could have the bandage off. The bone bandage could be going. I told myself I had to be good, I had to be good. Come on Dex, concentrate!
Another few days passed and it was off to the vets. The bandage is coming off, I was so happy that I just laid there and let them cut the bandage off. I was getting my paw back. The bandage was sliced off, my paw felt free and I had an itch, I could see the stitches and decided that I couldn’t wait. As soon as the vet nurse and mum and dad turned their backs, I managed to chew two of the stitches out. When everyone turned round and saw what I had done they were initially upset but then saw the cut was closed and there was only one stitch left, so that was snipped off and I was free. Or so I thought. The plastic bag went back on, the paw had to be kept clean. This wasn’t fair. Did no one realise that it is really difficult to chase squirrels with a bag on my paw? The pigeons and squirrels were laughing at me. And I wasn’t allowed off the lead in the garden for what seemed like weeks. What had I done to deserve this extra punishment.
I had to put up with the bag and Cone of Shame for ages. I was better but I didn’t want to go through another operation. It severely hampered by ability to pursue squirrels in my grounds, and that would never do. I resolved to get rid of the Cone of Shame and Plastic Bag of Impediment as soon as possible. I had to be good, I had to. This was so difficult. I was going to have to put up with the shame of the squirrels and pigeons laughing at me for what felt like an eternity. I would be back though, faster and cleverer, I promise. Watch out tree dwellers.
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.
I was going to do a blog today full of worry, concern and generally feeling a bit down about the current situation that the world finds itself engulfed in. However I thought again and remembered that I try to be a positive chap so here we go.
In the midst of this terrible pandemic sweeping across the globe (I suppose that’s why it’s called a pandemic) I have been taking my regulation one walk a day, usually with a (still) Covid free human attached to me for my safety. It has been so quiet without cars, trucks and school run parents whilst I have been scenting rabbits, deer, foxes and squirrels that it got me thinking about things. So feel free to join me on another ramble.
If this pandemic has shown me anything currently, it is that people have been required to change their outlook on life. To somewhat reassess their future I suppose. It’s an awful thing to think about really. You wake up each morning and wonder if you have the virus, if someone you know has it, if you’re going to get it and how serious will it be if you do get it. As a dog I cannot contract it, apparently, unless I have been overly petted by an infected human. I should be alright as the most I seem to get is a tickle on the ears and told I am a good lad.
On the first weekend of the quarantine in the UK there seemed to be quite a few people who were enjoying the warm sunshine and congregating really rather too close to one another. Despite official advice to stay at home country roads were blocked with cars and vans. People were strolling along the seaside with ice creams, barbecues were lit, beer was drunk, picnics had and parties were enjoyed. It seems that as a result of quite a few people not listening to the advice, the quarantine regulations were increased. At this point I would confess that I don’t like the word “lockdown” as it alludes to a prison type scenario and we aren’t at that stage yet. So people are now being told what they can, and cannot, do and it seems to have worked a bit better in the subsequent weeks. Hopefully this continues and this curve flattens in the shortest period of time. Otherwise there will be a very large number of people who will become extremely bored if they have to stay in for an overly extended period of time.
Anyway, back to my walk. It has been markedly quieter. I put this down to lack of planes in the sky, fewer cars doing the school run and a generally lower number of people going to work by tube, bus, car and train to their workplace. The pollution seems lower too. It may not be lower, but it seems that way. More people are carrying on their daily life either on the computer or via video link, messaging or just plain old telephone calls. I suppose I am lucky that I live near, and know of, sufficient open spaces that I can wander and ponder without bumping into too many people and other dogs. And when I do, I can more than adequately distance myself. I know that there are people who cannot do this, and that is why I don’t take it lightly and I do feel privileged.
Another thing that I wondered about is how will people act or react when this virus is being brought more under control and life begins to get back to some degree of apparent normality. Will people just go straight back to their “old” ways to travel quickly everywhere, push past others in the street, expect everything done yesterday, want their shopping delivered on time and without question all the while ignoring all the people that are currently being lauded as wonderful, brave and superheroes. You know the people, all the healthcare workers from surgeons through to nurses and porters, cleaners, the police, fire service, ambulance crews, delivery drivers, pharmacists, dentists. The list is long and varied and I haven’t included many of the professions. Will all these people still be applauded in three, six or twelve months time. When someone has an accident and needs help, will the police be abused, ambulances damaged, fire crews abused and jeered when they’re putting out blazes. The doctors and nurses who look after the sick and injured when they arrive at hospital, will they need to have a police presence, or security people on the door. When you leave the office of an evening and the cleaners are going through tidying up, will they even elicit a second glance in a years time. I hope they are remembered.
Then I think of the the stories of people finding their local store for provisions which is heartening. The supermarkets seem to have allowed the greedy to triumph over the needy. Shelves cleared when a simple and reasonable solution of limiting the amount of items any one person can buy would have seemed appropriate. Will the smaller local, independent, stores continue to see the new custom once this virus has done with us, I don’t know but I hope so. Also people who had been going out to the pub on fewer occasions suddenly miss the pub now it’s not there. To my beagle mind, the easy answer is to visit the pub when it reopens, acquaint yourself with the beer, chat with friends, enjoy yourself and come back more often, bringing your friends when we are allowed.
So how will this virus change peoples lives once it has been declared as beaten. Maybe the question should just be “will this change peoples lives?”. I do fear that it will not. People will seek to revert to their “old ways”. I hope I am wrong. Maybe I have misjudged the human nature and the aftermath of this virus will give many more people a clearer view of a different future where there is actually some benefit to us all of looking out for each other, instead of seeking to insulate ourselves against approach.
Whatever happens I know I shall be safe and secure. Maybe that sounds awfully pretentious and insular, but it isn’t meant to. I rely on other people, namely my mum and dad, to make sure my life is safe, it has a routine and allows me to enjoy my walks or some food in my bowl, with a snooze in one of my beds to finish off each day. In turn, my mum and dad rely on those people who have been nameless and, I suppose, faceless up to now for all sorts of things like keeping roads and paths tidy, grow and make my food, help me and others stay safe and well as well as most importantly manufacture my beds for my snoozes. So many things that many people have taken for granted before have been exposed as important in the last few months and sometimes I worry that the world will revert to its seemingly greedy, dirty and pretty selfish ways. We shall see. I hope not.
I will get off my soapbox now. Life is for living and I have many adventures to plot and plan for the future. When I am finally allowed to go out, I am going to enjoy myself.
Dex has no idea that I, young Lenny, have taken over his blog so I can wish him a very happy birthday today.
As a rescue no one seems to know his actual date of birth so the parents worked out an approximate date and settled on 4th May. We think he is ten which seems like a lifetime to me, however I hope I reach that milestone. I say “think” as his microchip seems to indicate he was chipped in 2010. However old he may be I have decided I am going to be nice and allow him to win at running around the garden chasing me today.
Even though we aren’t strictly brothers in a biological sense of the word, he is like a big brother to me. He guides me and shows me the way to do most things around the house as well as outside in the big world. For that I am grateful and will always remain grateful to him. He’s also still fairly swift across the garden when bitey face calls so play fighting is also fun.
According to our parents he can be a nuisance, silly and downright stubborn but we all love him very much.
This is him through the years, taken each 4th May since 2014. Like a good wine he’s aged. Well.
Happy birthday Dexter, I am proud ears to live here with you and to look up to you as my older brother.
Reverting to some of the thoughts I have had so far in my life with mum and dad, I want to touch on something that played on my mind early in my time here.
Ever since I arrived, I had been trying to work on the trust and stability aspects with my humans. For the first two and a half years of my life, I had been from pillar to post. I was looked after very well by the rescue centre. However my first time away from the rescue centre wasn’t what it should have been and there was no relationship of trust or stability being fostered with me. You may recall I had my accident with a car. There was an innate understanding of things I needed to remember and I knew there were guidelines and rules. However these weren’t really implemented for me so I just cruised along doing whatever I wanted to being honest. Beagles are somewhat difficult to train if you listen to some people. Harriers are slightly easier if you listen to the same people. Being a Beagle Harrier cross, this presented its fair share of difficulties for my humans. I am glad to say we have made huge strides in my life and understanding of where I stand now.
I was quite an independent hound when I first arrived. I didn’t think I had to rely on other people to get along, and I was fairly quiet and sometimes very stubborn. I didn’t know if this was my forever home, as I had been in at least one home before, along with the rescue centre on two occasions. Here I had a crate, I had beds, I had food, I had warmth and I had two people who seemed like they were really nice. However there was this overriding thought that would not go away. Was this it, my forever home, the stability that all furs need and crave in their lives to be happy. The early days were difficult to be honest. Everyone was trying to read everyone else’s moods, their reactions, their habits and ways of learning what to do next. For instance we had early visitors to my house, and they included young children so this, seemingly, was familiar territory for me. Whilst it only lasted a few hours, there was something different. I wasnt allowed to play as much as I had wanted to and I was being told to behave in a more controlled manner than I was used to. It appears that the little boy wasn’t sure around dogs so I couldn’t pounce and play.
From the start of my life here, the humans and I were trying to understand each other and almost train each other. I could say the atmosphere was sometimes fractious whilst we tried to work out exactly what we wanted from each other. However that would be a disservice to all concerned as there was more frustration than anything else. I had not had stability throughout my early life, I didn’t know if this was my final home, or whether I was moving on after another 6 months or so. The frustration from all of us manifested itself in all sorts of situations when things weren’t going to plan. For example when walks were turning into runs and arms were being pulled out of sockets. Initially I was on a lead and collar. It was very uncomfortable for me and I managed to make myself sick on at least one occasion. Moving on to a harness seemed like a good idea, until my independent streak kicked in when I escaped whilst in the park, and I was “free” for 3 hours. Another escape within a short time probably didn’t help the atmosphere of trust or bonding that was being sought. Cue a tighter fitting harness and I am safe now. At first I wasn’t allowed off lead in the garden, although a long training lead did start to feel a bit like freedom.
Sub consciously the weeks turned into months and the gradual acceptance of belonging came more to the front of my mind. I had been here for longer than anywhere else, and these two humans were still here. They were walking me, feeding me and I was still allowed to laze in my numerous beds. The thought that this might be the forever home was gradually becoming more of a reality with every day that passed. They created something called a birthday for me, when I got some extra food and some toys. I wasn’t going to complain as I didn’t have to do anything different for it, so I just accepted what was offered. In any case all toys got shredded fairly quickly and were left around the house for people to step on. We think this shredding of toys was another manifestation of my frustration at not knowing if I was staying or going, indeed my lack of understanding or bonding with mum and dad.
My walks were becoming less frequent in number but longer in time. We explored so many paths, fields, woods, parks and byways that I was becoming calmer with my position in the house as some of the pent up frustration was being left outside on the walks.
For a while after I arrived, I didn’t realise what it meant to have tickles, belly rubs or back scratches. I would treat most signs of affection as a signal that something was going to happen. We are going for a walk, food was about to be given, or I was going back out into the garden for a wee I didn’t need. I never dreamed or understood at first that belly rubs, a good neck scroffle or just something as simple as a great big hug meant just that. It was a sign of affection.
If we were in the garden, I was on a lead and would take up the time of at least one of mum or dad who needed to supervise me. If we were outside the garden then I would sniff and wander where I wanted to. I would get pulled fairly sharply out of thickets or hedges and never really thought about why mum and dad didn’t want me to have thorns, brambles and stinging nettles in my face. I was doing what comes naturally to an independent Beagle Harrier without any stability. I didn’t know what trust was like, I could see that they were trying to work with me, but I couldn’t yet work out how I would trust them. My heart was saying that these are good people, but my head kept interrupting and asking whether this was it? Was this house forever, when was I moving again, where was I going and would these people be forever? Gradually the trust came to the fore, I realised that days and months came and went, I was being shown the structure that I had craved, that all dogs crave, to enjoy myself. To be able to lay there, on my back on a rug, having my belly rubbed and having my ears stroked, was something that I had clearly been unappreciative of. Also to understand that the belly rub was for free, and I wasn’t expected to do anything or go anywhere for it, was really a start toward recognition on my part that I could finally feel this was my home. I had found humans who wanted to look after me, look out for me and teach me the structure of life. I was being shown how to live, walk, run and bark at the top of my voice. But overall, I was being shown, that with trust we would be alright, I wasn’t going anywhere. I was staying here, with them. We were, and remain, a team.
It took time and patience however we all trust and understand one another far more now. I was given something that many people don’t fully appreciate is vital and that is time to understand and adjust. Rescues adapt at different paces and patience is essential.
I’m still not allowed off lead outside the garden but thats another story which I am telling as I go along on my journey.
I have been telling many (read ALL) of my friends and pals that I have never had a holiday. We furs sometimes call them holibobs but I had never been on one. Indeed I had been sent to prison a couple of times whilst they went off enjoying themselves in Edinburgh and London, and I didn’t like it at all. You might have noticed my distaste for kennels from the previous chapter.
As such when, one evening, I saw my parents packing a bag I felt a bit depressed to be honest as I thought I was going to prison again. Then some of my toys and dinner foods went into my toy crate, and this gave me suspicious ears. I had heard them talk previously of somewhere called “Morgan’s Place”. They had been there before and thought I might like it. I didn’t connect in my mind what this meant for a second. I knew of a Morgan through my Twitter pals. He lived somewhere that sounded really lovely. That night I slept wondering what mum and dad were talking to each other about. I had no idea I would be getting a holiday. A real, actual holiday.
The next day, dad was still there in the morning. This gave me suspicious ears as he usually went to school on the smelly tube to London. The bags packed the previous night were still there, and my toy crate was also still full of my food, blankets and some toys. My deeply suspicious ears only worsened when dad said he was taking me out for a walk to “try and get some zooms out of my system”. We went to the park, the hill and through the town. It was great as I get to try and pull dad about but he’s strong and I end up being quite tired. Little did I know this was all part of their masterplan. When we got back home, the bags were put into the car and then I went into my travel crate in the boot of the car. Now I travel well but I hadn’t really been anywhere further than a couple of hours away in the car with mum and dad. We went on something called a motorway and it was really interesting to see the scenery go by. We stopped so I could stretch my legs after a while and then continued. As we got further away from my home, the other cars and lorries on this motorway got more and more and we were in something called a “traffic jam”. This made mum and dad pfftt and harrumph quite a lot. I just stayed out of the way in my crate enjoying this new experience. We stopped twice more as it was a really long journey and we arrived later than expected in a place called Patterdale in the Lake District. It suddenly dawned on me that this is where Morgan lives, with his mum and dad and they have a really nice holibob cottage that I’ve been allowed to stay in. I didn’t meet Morgan when we arrived, as his mum said he can be a bit grumpy and I’m quite bouncy. I don’t believe he’s grumpy, but I did hear him growl and bark the first evening. He sounds quite big.
Once the bags had been unpacked and my beds put down on the living room floor, dad took me for a quick stroll. My eyes could not believe the sights I saw. There were hills as big as mountains, sheep the size of, well, sheep, so many green trees, beautiful rivers, big fields, lovely hills and lakes. This was beyond my dreams, I was somewhere I couldn’t comprehend and my brain was tired just trying to process it all. I decided I would have to sleep on all this. Mum and dad were hungry and wanted to go to the pub. This worried them as they really hoped I wouldn’t aroo and mess about in there, and get kicked out as a hooligan dog. So we entered the White Lion with much trepidation. Dad asked if it was ok for me to come in, and was told of course, that’s not a problem. Phew, first hurdle over. Settle mat down, but I was too tired to mess about too much with the other furs that were in there at the time. It was great fun seeing new places and new things. Even when I arooed there were lots of people saying “what a cute dog?”. Clearly I have to work on my rufty tufty image a little more. I tried to think more on this whilst I slept.
First day of holiday.
I woke up early in the Lake District. I wondered if the hills and lakes would still be there, or was it all a dream? When I nosed around the curtains in the living room, I was so pleased that it was real. The hills must be high though, as they were draped in clouds which made me wonder more about them. Once mum and dad had bothered to get out of bed, we went for a quick walk to the shop for some supplies and then had breakfast. I kept on checking to make sure the hills were still there, I couldn’t believe that I was actually here.
After breakfast, I was harnessed up again so I knew it was time to explore this wonderland. We went across the beck which I think is what describes a small river. It looked more like a normal river to me. We went through gates and then past drystone walls. I was allowed to stroll through mud and then stood in the water running off the fells. The paths were quite stony and we were going up and down hill. It was great fun. We stopped on a grassy knoll and the view was brilliant all the way back across Ullswater to Glenridding.
We kept strolling around the edge of Ullswater, and I even got to sniff in the ferns and the trees around the path. Sometimes the path went down quite steeply and I had to be good and walk to heel. This was quite difficult as I was really excited and I wanted to explore everywhere and everything. We seemed to go for miles and it was great. I still couldn’t believe I was here. On a holiday! In the Lake District! We kept on stopping to enjoy the views. Even I could appreciate them.
I was getting tired but I still had excited ears. As we were wandering back we met a BT called Buster who was 13 years old. He said he had been here before, walked something called Striding Edge, but liked the lower paths now. He was really nice, we woofed for ages. We came off the hills after some considerable time and decided we would go to Glenridding for some quick noms for mum and dad. We wandered about and found a nice spot to eat a sausage roll. It should be noted that I got no sausage roll. We sat by Glenridding Beck, which sadly flooded in winter 2016 and caused a lot of damage to the town. We wandered down onto the edge of Ullswater and I went for a paddle. It was great, I loved the cool water on my paws and that it tasted nice too. There was a spaniel playing fetch the stick from the water. She was having great fun, she said I should try it. I explained that I’m not allowed off lead as I’m rubbish at recall and would run away.
We got back to the cottage and I fell asleep on my bed. Apparently I was twitching in my sleep and snoring quite a lot. I don’t know what mum and dad were talking about, I didn’t hear anything.
Yesterday was so exhausting, even for a fit and healthy Beagle Harrier like me, that I let mum and dad sleep in a bit. It rained overnight so everything was a bit more slippery when I went out with mum for a quick walk. We couldn’t get to the little shale area of Goldrill Beck as it was under the water from last night. We wandered about a bit and then we weren’t back long before I was swapped over and I went out with dad whilst mum pottered around in the cottage. We wandered a bit further than the morning and I could still feel the effects of my exertions from yesterday in my paws. It was nice to be out and about and I even met some other furs. Everyone is so nice here, all the humans say hello and the furs have a sniff of each other.
They were setting up the cricket pitch so I made sure dad and I had a snooter around before heading off up a road we had never been on before. This isn’t surprising as I’d only been here 1.5 days. I wanted to look over every drystone wall, climb every bank, look through every gate and smell every hedge possible. We wandered for about 2 miles and then dad thought we should return to see what mum was up to. When she found out where we had been, I think she had jealous ears as she said we should go back and see what it’s like further along the path. So off we strolled, me in the lead as usual, showing mum and dad the way. I was so happy to see all the hills and rivers and smell all the lovely scents. Then we were off the tarmac and onto the rocky path before I knew it and going toward somewhere called Grisedale Tarn. A tarn is a small lake in the big Lakes. We wandered past loads of sheep, some cows and lots of people coming in the opposite direction. They all seemed really nice again, and everyone commented on how handsome I was. We went on for ages and the path was getting closer to the misty clouds. This was another adventure, and it was great. I drank out of most of the becks on the way up and walked through most of the muddiest and boggiest parts of the path. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the Lakeland experience as much as possible. It started to get a bit steep and rocky so we decided that we would cross a bigger river and then descend on another path. I was leading the way as usual, my intrepidness coming to the fore. We came back down and strolled back past the sheep and cows again. I wasn’t allowed to say hello to them as they kept on running away. I was kept on a very tight lead by mum, which was clearly for the best. When we got back to Patterdale, I was allowed in the little village shop and the lady was really nice and gave me a biscuit. Mum and dad were a bit worried as I had really dirty paws, but the lady in the shop just smiled and said I was handsome. The biscuit was very nommy too.
I was tired, this place is great but it makes me feel sleepy with all the walking, climbing, splashing about in muddy puddles and general Beagling I have to do.
Ambleside & Grasmere
Don’t say anything to mum and dad but I was still quite tired this morning. Mum and I went for a walk of about 3.5 miles and I saw a deer and squirrels. Dad went off for a run, and we got back before him but he still looked very happy with what he’s done. We had a couple of big walking days so didn’t go out until later in the morning. For some reason my parents decided to try and go to Ambleside and Grasmere on a Bank Holiday. I tried to warn them, but what can you do. We got there and both towns were packed out. I tried to tell mum and dad that maybe these people were there to see me, but they weren’t having any of it.
When we got back to the cottage we decided that it would be better to walk to Brotherswater which was a fairly straightforward stroll of 3 miles each way. It was great, I met loads of people and other furs, but I wasn’t allowed to play “fetch the stick from the water” – again. There was a lady spaniel there and she was having a great time, but for some reason mum and dad thought I would run away. Would I?? Here in the Lakes?? We wandered down by the shoreline and then I decided it would be good fun to drag dad up a really steep bank. Not sure he enjoyed it as much as I did.
By the time we were on our way back I was getting more tired and even dad noticed that I wasn’t pulling so much on the lead. But we went past a farm with some sheep and I got a second wind. He didn’t enjoy that either. But it was as much as I could do to flop onto my bed when I got back to the cottage.
When we went to the White Lion in the evening, I was recognised by the people behind the bar. I even got a tickle and a gravy bone. It’s always nice to know that my reputation precedes me. We had a table booked, apparently it’s so I can’t see other furs in the pub. I can see them, I can smell them but don’t have the heart to tell mum and dad as they think I can’t. To be honest I settled down really quickly until a very nice lady called Paula wanted a big snog off me. How could I resist her. She said she had lost her JRT last year, so it was clearly my job to show her that she needs another fur for company. I also reminded all the other peeps in the pub that I was back – aroooo. I think everyone loves me. They all seemed to like me, I hope so as I’ve been working hard on my charm. Have I mentioned I was very tired.
I woke up with a pawly paw. So it was decided that we would take it a bit easier after 30 odd miles pretty much uphill and down dale in the previous few days. We chilled out for a while and then decided it would be fun to go to the most northerly part of Patterdale, a place called Pooley Bridge. This was where the bridge washed away in the terrible floods earlier in 2016 and there is now a temporary bridge there. When we got there, we parked quickly and were soon on our paws to the lakeside to explore the area. There are some great views from the waters edge, but there were also billions of little midge things that were attacking everyone. We wandered around the edge of the water and they took some photos with the boats on the water. It was very nice to see the area from a different place, but there were loads of midges.
In the evening we went to the pub, as we were all hungry and they wanted a drink. They had some dinner and we were sitting there chitter chattering (I was sleeping!!). What I didn’t know was that they had arranged to meet Raffa Beagle and her mum who had come up for the following day and were planning on doing some zooms with us. Before Raffa and her mum arrived, my mum and dad were talking to some ladies about something called the Coast to Coast walk of about 192 miles. This is quite a long way, even for a Beagle Harrier, so it was interesting to listen to them, in between me trying to sleep. When Raffa and her mum arrived I was still sleeping. I was awoken by a wet nose sticking through the balustrade. This was Raffa, in case you’re wondering. Raffa is very nice and her mum gave me loads of tickles and belly rubs, so I was very happy to see them both.
Having said that I did go back to sleep after they had been talking for quite a while and so did Raffa. All the humans were very impressed with us being so calm and being able to sleep.
Grisedale walks with Raffa
We woke up and I knew that something different was on the cards. Mum and dad were fussing about and making sure I was ready to go. We met up with Raffa and her mum outside the pub and I greeted Raffa with an arooo and a nose bump. She seems quite nice. There was much chattering whilst we wandered along. Raffa and I sniffed and arooed at each other as we had never met before. I found out that she had a pawly leg from a week ago, so I was more gentle than usual when I meet another fur. I’m usually quite boisterous and like to jump and play. When Raffa said her shoulder was bad, I thought I should be gentlemanly.
We went up the Grisedale valley and I showed Raffa all the sheep and cows that I had seen a couple of days before. She was quite impressed and the views up toward Helvellyn were really great. We sniffed about on the grass and when the sheep were too near we arooed in unison to move them away. Teamwork all the way. We even managed to get one sheep that leapt over Raffa and her mum, when it felt a little penned in by a gate. We were arooing so much at one point that the farmers came out of their house to see what all the kerfuffle was. Fortunately we were both on very tight leads so we couldn’t get anywhere near the sheep. We didn’t chase them, just arooed at them. I don’t think the sheep wanted to play anyway. We seemed to walk for ages, and the humans were chattering to each other. Raffa & I just patrolled and sniffed about in the long grass. Raffa also nommed some sheep do-do’s which was horrible but apparently she said its quite tasty. I didn’t believe her so I decided against this little delicacy. We were quite a way up the path and Raffa told me she was getting tired so we turned round and wandered back. Raffa had a ride in her chariot so that she didn’t injure her shoulder any more, which wouldn’t have been good. My dad even helped push her chariot, I suppose thats what humans are there for really.
We went to the boat house coffee place near Glenridding for the humans to have coffee and buns, and Raffa had some lunch and I ate biscuit noms. It was really nice as there were loads of other people there, as well as many furs coming and going. The nice ladies in the the coffee place even put out the awning when it started raining. Raffa had a sleep as she had woofed she was a bit tired. Whilst Raffa wasn’t looking, I thought it would be a good idea to remind Raffa’s mum that she had promised me belly rubs and tickles.
Once they had been administered, I went back to my mum to give me more tickles as well. I managed to sit on her lap to watch the world go by. It was great, apart from the rain, and the views are brilliant. I wanted to stay but Raffa had to go home, so we wandered back slowly along the road. I thought it would be polite to give Raff another nose bump which she gave back. I did blush a little, as my rufty tufty image was being dismantled. We are pals, which is good as I like being friends with other furs, especially Beagles. We said our farewells so that Raffa and her mum could go home again. I had a great time with them.
Once Raffa & her mum had left to go home, I had sad ears but I knew I had a new friend for life. Actually I had 2 new friends as I think Auntie J quite liked me. She certainly liked my arooing ability. We went to the White Lion and I got more gravy bones from the landlady. And Paula, the nice lady who wanted snogs earlier in the week was there, so I had more tickles and belly rubs to help me sleep more soundly.
I still had a bit of a pawly paw, so after our early morning strolls around Goldrill Beck and Side Farm, we relaxed for a while before we all got in the car to go somewhere I had never been before. We drove alongside Ullswater and then took a fast road to a place called Portinscale, which is near Keswick. Mum and dad decided that we could take a walk through the woods and paths near the quieter side of Derwentwater. We went through the woods and along streams and trails toward a hill called Catbells. I couldn’t see any cats, and I certainly couldn’t hear any bells. I wonder who gives the hills their names? We didn’t climb the hill as I was getting quite a few scents and was pulling on the lead and harnesses. I have two bungee leads and a harness so I can sniff and wander around somewhat. We skirted round the edges of Catbells for a while and then strolled back along the road toward Keswick. It was at this point that I became quite agitated. It was only when mum & dad saw about a thousand grouse in the fields and road that they realised why my behaviour changed so quickly. Once we got back to Portinscale, the grouse were a distant memory and I was back to walking somewhat nicely. When we arrived in Keswick, it was market day. There were so many people there, that we were a bit worried that it might be a bit much for me. There were an awful lot of furs there, but I was a really good boy and many people complemented me on my good behaviour. I kept on looking in all the push chairs or strollers for Raffa, but she wasn’t there. I was disappointed as I wanted to walk with her again. I even nose bumped a small human child who was in the stroller. I think they enjoyed it!
Whilst we were in Keswick we went to the Dog Shop which sells plenty of things for us furry friends. We didn’t buy anything, as apparently I have everything I could want, but mum managed to step in ice cream on the pavement. She wasn’t very happy. Keswick is great as nearly every shop is dog friendly, which means we can go in and explore most places.
When we got back to the house we recuperated and then went to the White Lion for our last evening in the pub. We had our normal table so I could survey everyone coming and going. Not that it mattered much as I spent 99% of my time sleeping like a good boy. Sometimes when the door opened I looked up expecting Raffa to wander in with her mum.
She didn’t. I had sad ears as I was beginning to realise that this was my last night in the Lakes and Raffa had gone home. I managed to get one last tickle and snog from Paula who was also going home the next day. And, of course, a gravy bone was duly provided and scoffed with glee. My last night in lovely Patterdale was great, we really enjoyed it all. I wanted to stay.
The next morning we had to go home. So we packed all of our things into the car and headed south, down the motorway and back home to my house. I have been on a wonderful holiday to a beautiful place and met a great new pal. I am a very lucky Beagle Harrier.
Continuing in the vein of telling some of my story thus far, I arrive at one of my most trustworthy subjects for sympathy, the total and utter lack of holidays in the first couple of years I was living here.
I regularly point out to a number of pals that I hardly ever go for a holiday. If truth be known, I actually complain at anyone who will listen to me. My humans had been away a couple of times and I was put into kennels, which I call jail. How they couldn’t take me with them, I will never know.
The first time I was forced to go to jail was about 6 months after I arrived. They decided they were going off gallivanting to Edinburgh in May 2014 and couldn’t take me. So they devised a plot and told me I was going to a dog hotel and spa for a few days. It all sounded lovely. When I arrived at the kennels I was allowed off lead and ran around like a Beagle Harrier possessed. It was freedom on a massive scale as the enclosed field was about 2 acres. I was in my element and didn’t really notice that mum and dad had gone. It was only when the kennel people wanted me back in my cell (sorry my kennel), and I steadfastly refused to return, that I started to wonder. So the kennel people left my food in my bowl and I just played for the rest of the day, wandering dolefully back later to have the kennel door clang shut behind me. It only really occurred to me that mum and dad weren’t there when I woke up the next day and was still in my cell. I had my bed and a toy but I kind of missed the tickles and affection that I was becoming used to when I woke up at home. The only upside was that I met other furs and I got to run around quite a bit during the day. Ok thats 2 “upsides” but I am a beagle harrier and counting isn’t a strong point. Especially when it comes to biscuits as I can never have too many. I enjoyed being able to run around off lead and having the wind in my ears. However I was feeling a bit lonely to be honest. There was another beagle in a cell near me, and she told me that she had been there for about a month and was getting used to it. I didn’t want to be there that long, so I was hoping that mum and dad would be back soon.
When they eventually returned four days later (yes FOUR days!) I don’t think mum recognised me. I was sitting at the front of my cell, apologies again, my kennel, with my ears over my eyes looking very forlorn. I had seen them walk through the gate and knew I had to play the guilt card. Dad saw me and quickened his pace so I could go home with them. The guilt trip continued for a while longer, I have to admit, as I moped about when I arrived back home and didn’t really speak to them both for a day or so. I was very pleased ears to be back home but I tried to make sure that mum and dad knew I didn’t like kennels much.
Then they only went and did it again the following year. Dad was running in something called the London Marathon and he had been training hard through the winter. We went out in the car one day in April 2015 and I thought this was going to be a nice day out, that we would get a walk. Life would fine and dandy. How wrong could I possibly be? It was only when we arrived and I was out onto the driveway of the kennels that I realised that something was afoot. And it got worse as the kennel people remembered me from before and asked if I was the same dog who spent all my time running around instead of eating and sleeping like the other furs. They still let me run free when I got there, but this time I was keeping my eye on mum and dad. I was tricked though as they managed to leave without me knowing. Just because I was investigating a particularly interesting corner of the paddock, didn’t mean they could sneak away. Not in my book anyway. The jail people also had orders to walk me on the lead throughout my stay, which was very dull.
Mum and dad returned after 2 days and this time I knew the guilt trip wouldn’t work. I couldn’t wait to get in the car and get home. When we did get back, I just raced around the garden, arooooing at the top of my voice and then leapt on all the furniture I could find. Within an hour I was asleep. They seemed pleased to see me again.
I hoped my prison days were over, and this was my home now. I was still waiting for my holiday though. I was more determined than ever now to not let them out of my sight when trips away were mentioned. I wanted some of the fun they were having.
Sometime fairly soon after I arrived, they decided that I could go to the park for some fun, albeit I would be on a lead. So I took dad off to the park with me and I was in my element. It was a lovely day and there were plenty of people there. I was getting quite a few admiring glances and comments from people in the park, mostly telling dad how handsome I was. I had proud ears. He was talking to a lady about me and I was getting a bit bored so I pulled backwards away from him. As he started to pull the lead and harness, I managed to wholly back out of the harness and I was free. Dad looked at me and said “Sit”, but he knew it was pointless. I was off across the park towards the woods, and nothing was going to stop me. His heart sank like a stone. Dad shouted after me, but I was only interested in the woods and the wonderful array of animals and smells in there. I saw Dad chasing me and I kept on running around and keeping well clear of him. Sadly he realised quite quickly that chasing me was a game, and he stopped. I was in the woods, I was revelling in the smells and sights in there and it was great. Every now and then I could hear Dad talking to people asking them to look out for me. Now, this was cheating as far as I was concerned. I saw a couple of Muntjack deer and decided to try and chase. Then I saw rabbits and squirrels, so chased them too. Before too long I knew I was in trouble as Dad had called mum and she was on her way. It was time to enjoy my last time of freedom. I was wandering around in the woods and saw a rabbit to chase. What I didn’t see was the barbed wire and I felt it cut my ear and chin. I yelped and this clearly alerted everyone to my whereabouts. I was bleeding from my ear but it didn’t hurt that much. In any case, I was concentrating on chasing rabbits so I didn’t overly worry.
I was getting a bit tired and rested in a small clearing in the edge of the woods at which point I felt a human hand reach down and grab my collar. That was it, fun was over and I had been recaptured. I repaid the kind lady by dripping blood all over her coat sleeve. I was returned to the collar and harness. They weren’t very impressed when I saw another squirrel and tried to chase it. I think they were more worried about the blood on my ear chin and foot. Its because my ears are quite large, that I am good at flicking blood everywhere. By the time we had returned home there was blood on me and both my parents. We looked like extras from a zombie horror film. I heard them talking about some nasty disease called Tetanus and said I might need something called an injection. So I went to the vets with them. The vet told them I was ok, but I would need the injection. Now, I don’t like them so I squealed like a girl and got to have my meds by mouth.
We went to the park but this time I had both humans in tow. When we arrived, it was again such a lovely day, there were plenty of people around and I was really quite excited to see them and to play. I ran round the back of dad who went to change hands with the lead. I seized the moment to dart backwards and the lead was dropped. Dad called to some people to stand on my lead, but they didn’t listen to him. I try not to listen to him most of the time so I don’t blame them to be honest. At this point I decided it was a good time to have another explore of the park and surrounding woods and I took off like a racing snake, the lead trailing behind me. This was fun, there were so many places I remembered from my first escape and I wanted to revisit them again. Of course the humans were not best pleased that I had escaped again, but this time it was different as they didn’t chase me. I heard them say, you go one way, I’ll go the other and we will try to corral him. They have these phone things that they can talk to each other from a long way apart. This is unfair!
I was running around the park and having fun, sniffing in the hedgerows and long grass. There were so many scents that I didn’t know which one to smell first. Then I saw a rabbit and it wasn’t moving very much. I went a bit closer and he still didn’t move, which I thought was strange as rabbits are usually quite afraid of me and run away. Then I saw that it was actually dead, and no it wasn’t my fault. So I went to sniff it and see what had happened to him. Sadly for me I forgot that I was supposed to be running around like a fur possessed. A lady nearby managed to grab my lead. I was recaptured, how thoughtless of me. A basic error and I was resigned to being reunited with my humans quite soon. Most unfortunately for me, the next sight was mum coming toward me, with a relieved look on her face. Apparently I was captured by the only lady in the park who thought it strange that a dog would run around free, whilst still got his lead attached. One phone call to dad and it really was all over for me. I thought they would be angry, but they were relieved to see me. Not sure I thought the same in return to be honest, as I was having great fun and adventures off lead in the park.
“I’m going out for a walk with mum so see you later” I woofed at dad. Its alright though as dad had some chores to do anyway. So we set off for our favourite field and woods for a really good sniff about. We went through the woods and around the edge of the first field and it was great fun. We got to the middle of the field and mum noticed something wasn’t quite right with my lead and harness so she told meet sit. Being an obedient beagle I of course sat, and when she looked down she saw that the clip on the lead and harness had come undone. She told me to stay, and I thought no chance this is a command too many, and decided that there were more interesting things to see in the next field. I took off again, like the racing snake that I am, and mum saw me in the next field before she could react fully. I had escaped and there was so much I wanted to explore. I knew she would cheat and call for help, but I wasn’t worried for a while. There was a farm nearby, and the fields were full of the lovely smells that I thrive on.
I saw the woods in the distance and they held plenty of intrigue for me, so I decided to head for them. I saw humans in the distance and they were talking to each other. Mum and dad had remembered from the last time not to chase me. I could see that I would have to use all my guile to avoid them for as long as possible. They were calling my name and someone had my favourite squeaky bone which was very tempting but I was keeping my distance. It was great to be free again, I was having such a good time in the woods, wandering through the clearing and then into the next section of trees. It looked familiar to me, as I had wandered through here before with mum. This section of the woods is full of squirrels and deer, so it was good fun and I was enjoying myself. I found a trail and was strolling down the path not really looking where I was going when suddenly mum loomed large in front of me. Oh no, I need to run quickly and see if I can escape her clutches. I certainly wasn’t expecting her to dive onto me and smother my efforts to get free. I’d been captured again, indeed I had been rugby tackled by mum. The indignity of it! The adventure was over and so was my freedom and fun. A quick call to dad to tell him I was back in captivity and that was it. On a good note, at least I wasn’t injured and I had seen some places which I wouldn’t have seen with the humans.
Apparently it isn’t funny when we escape. Who knew? I haven’t escaped since which seems to have kept them cheerful and feeling that I am safe. I suppose I should admit that I feel safer now. And at my age, I should know better.
After the initial excitement of getting used to my new home, life continued apace. I was really unsure as to whether I would be living here for a long time or whether I was only around until another home could be found for me. I sometimes saw my humans getting frustrated with me, because they didn’t understand my arooo, and I didn’t understand what they wanted me to do. This was difficult as we were struggling to get to grips with us all living together and it was only the first few weeks. I was trying really hard, and so were they, but something was missing.
One day, after I had been here for a couple of weeks, we went for a ride in the car. We arrived at somewhere called a Dog Training School. This is what my humans said it was called. Now, I can’t read words so I had to rely on them telling the truth, but this place seemed to be quite interesting and exciting to me. Once we got inside, I realised that I was there to teach the humans how to look after me. They were being taught how to tell me off, how to make me come and sit, and generally what to do to try and take better care of me. It was fun sometimes when I was learning new things, but my humans were being told to shout at me, because the instructor was trying to teach them to dominate. I didn’t like this, and when I looked at them, I don’t think they did either. We went back twice more, and the lessons were quite fun to begin with, and I got some treats if I was a good boy. But there was still this shouting going on, and I was liking it even less each time and my humans were also not happy. I’m a rescue dog, I wasn’t being naughty, I just didn’t understand what I was needed to do. When we left after the third session, I heard them talking about it and how they weren’t going back. It was the last time, we were on our own. This was part of the adventure and we were in it together. This was going to be fun. We were our own little pack and we would work it out on our own.
I am a scent hound and a Beagle Harrier. The last part is important as will become apparent later in my life, on a number of occasions. I think I missed out on my puppy training when I was, well, a puppy. This meant I was now expected to be a grown up dog, without all the good puppy traits I should have received. I wasn’t being aggressive or bad, I just followed what my senses were telling me to do. And, being a Beagle Harrier, I am very stubborn. So, we decided that we would try and work on my obedience on our own as it was clear the Dog Training School hadn’t worked for us. When I woke up we would go out for a walk to heel on the lead. After a few weeks, I got a harness because I was pulling and panting so much that I was hurting myself. One time leading up to getting the harness, I tried a choke chain and I pulled so much that I made myself sick. I just wanted to explore. It was still difficult to communicate with my humans, and we all really struggled with each other in trying to explain what we wanted. I was with my humum for most of the days, and I could see that she was becoming more frustrated each time I didn’t, or couldn’t, do what she asked me to do. I had sad ears because I wanted to do the right thing but it was difficult as I didn’t know what they wanted either. This upset us all. I was trying to be a good fur, I was trying to do the right thing and she was being really patient with me. Whenever we went out for a walk, it turned into something akin to me pulling her through the lanes, fields and woods near where we live. I kept on getting stopped and told to walk nicely, or to heel, but this wasn’t really working as my senses were overtaking the command and only my nose was working properly, albeit on overtime. I would get walked through different places so it didn’t get boring for me or humum, which was of course always welcomed.
We didn’t meet many other furs at first, we tended to walk on our own as I could be quite over exuberant. Also I didn’t have many manners when it came to meeting other dogs. It didn’t seem to matter to me whether they were a Rottweiler or a Dachshund, they got the same treatment with tail wagging, much aroooing and then I would approach them without looking at the warning signs being given off. I usually met the other dogs in the park or in the fields near by, and sometimes they would be off lead. I did wonder if I would ever be let off lead. The other furs looked like they were having so much fun, whizzing round the field or park, leaping through the tall grass and crops and playing together. This made me feel quite sad inside, I wanted to go and say hello and play along with them, but I knew that I had much work to do with my humans so I decided that sniffing and pulling on the lead was about the best I was going to do. We met some furs quite regularly and I started to see when I was better not to approach them with my usually gusto and like a whirlwind. Some of the furs were much bigger than me and sometimes when they growled I knew it wasn’t a good idea to pounce all over them. There was one time in the park though that I was just sniffing around and a lady dog wandered towards me. I thought I should be polite and nice and I didn’t try to leap on her, as she was a bit bigger than me. I then heard her growl and she bit my neck and ear. This was very painful as she didn’t let go despite me asking her nicely to stop biting me. I had blood in my ear as there was a little bite mark and tear on the inside of my ear. Mum and dad were really upset for me, but they were equally angry with the human who had the dog off lead and he didn’t have control over the lady dog. On the other hand I must tell you about a Bernese Mountain Dog called Mikaela, who was so nice and we had so much fun that when she sat on me, I didn’t mind. In fact it was quite fun as we are pals.
One day we were out on a normal walk and mum spoke to another person who said what a handsome dog I was. This gave me proud ears that someone said I was handsome. Mum and the man spoke about me and he asked if I was like this all the time. She said that they were trying to walk me to heel much more often to try and break the hunting trait. He said that she might try to get me to walk nicely for the first part and then to allow me to go and explore when I was in the fields. He said to control what you can, and manage what you cannot. I’m not sure if she really believed him at first, but we tried it a little bit. It took some time just to get used to walking nicely to heel for some parts of the walk and then allowed to go and sniff to my hearts content. We tried the good walking close to the house. There is a busy road so it was good practice for me. Also I had bad memories about my accident with the car, and mum saw that I was still a bit scared when walking close to traffic. I think I was starting to understand what was wanted of me and I tried my best to be good. I knew that once we got to the field or park I could go off to the end of the lead and I could sniff, hunt and wander about as I pleased. Mum seemed a bit more pleased with me after a few weeks, but I think she was still struggling with the lead and the constant thought that I might try to escape. My sensory overload tended to get the better of me and I struggled to remember the right things to do instead of trying to run away.
I was settling in a little more, and Dog Training School was a dim and distant memory. It was time to try and see if we could continue and improve my understanding of some of my training, somewhat later than anticipated. Mum and I had been practising the heel walking near the road, with me being allowed to go and sniff the scents across the fields and woods once we were away from the dangers of the traffic.
It was difficult as we still didn’t really know what we all wanted from one another. We were trying to work on how we were going to get me to feel more settled. Because I had not had any real formal training, and I had been in rescue, I was still quite unsure if I was going to stay for a long time. Indeed I didn’t know if this was another temporary home. I wanted it to be my forever home, I was trying to settle, I really was. I was starting to get used to my surroundings. I needed stability. The humans took me out each day, sometimes morning and afternoon. I had a really good sniff around and got a walk which was of course nice. The local town was a bit cold and dark in the early winters mornings, but it felt good to be out and about with a bit of freedom. At home I was being really well looked after, and there seemed to be quite a few beds making an appearance. More beds are of course welcomed with open paws. Having beds in different rooms, as well as the trust starting to build in me, seemed to help me settle a bit and feel more comfortable in the house. I was starting to trust these two humans as well, but it was quite a slow and cautious approach from me. Having been in rescue, been homed, rejected and then back to rescue, I needed a little time to really feel as if I was staying. I still had the same question going through my head; was this forever or was I going to be back to rescue. I needn’t have worried as it turns out, as this is my forever home and these are my forever parents.
To illustrate the connection building between my parents and me, I must recount a story. One day I think I ate something in the garden which didn’t agree with me. I wasn’t my usual self, feeling a bit poorly. That night I was unfortunately really ill and I felt so ashamed and sad that I hadn’t been able to wait until I was in the garden. The humans heard me and when they saw the mess, I thought they would be really angry with me, so I went and hid in the corner of the room. I was shaking through feeling ill and, I have to admit, being worried in case they were upset with me. But they looked at me with so much love and understanding that my heart was starting to fill with some love and affection for them. I got taken out into the garden and the mess was cleaned up. I needed to go again when I was in the garden because I felt so bad. That same night, my mum stayed out of bed to watch over me and make sure that if I needed to go outside again, I could go quickly. This made me feel a bit better and I started to feel that there was a bond growing between us all, indeed that they liked me a bit. My illness went on for about three days and mum slept in the living room with me for al three days. On the third day itself, they decided I should go back to the vet lady because I couldn’t eat anything and I was losing weight really quickly. I was put on a diet of delicious chicken and rice but it was quite small portions and my tummy still felt empty. At first I didn’t like this “feeling ill” idea as all I wanted to do was eat. But after a while I realised it was ok, and once I had been eating smaller portions for some days I felt strong again. There are some more trips to the vet which I recount later, but overall I am not too sickly or injured, thankfully.
That my mum would sit up and watch me for three nights in a row showed me that there was a bond growing. They wanted me to succeed and there was hope for the future.