A chilly morn in the fields

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

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

Chesham from Mayhall Farm fields

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

Snootering in the hedgerows

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

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

Early morning shenanigans

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

Dexter enjoying his walk in the fields.
Happy hound

2018 – Year of Dexploration

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

January

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

February

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

March

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

April

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

May

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

June

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

July

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

August

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

September

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

October

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

November

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

December

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

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

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

Grandad Chas

My grandad did the best ear tickles. He always told me I was ‘andsome. Whenever I saw him, I always knew that I would get many fusses. I saw him just before Christmas 2017 and he was happy to give me tickles and tell me to be a good boy. I love getting tickles and cuddles. He told my pawrents that I had become better behaved as time had gone by, that I was more attentive to them generally and I had learned more instructions. This made me happy and proud. I also got more treats when I was good.

Grandad Chas at 23

Nanny & Grandad had a lovely Christmas Day and then celebrated 59 years of being married on 26th December 2017. They were born in 1937 and got married in 1958. They had five children including my uncle David who passed away in 1974. They worked hard to make sure their children always had food on the table, shoes on their feet and honesty in their bones.

Grandad Chas with my auntie.

Grandad suffered a heart attack in 2001 and had to have a very big operation to save his life. My dad went to the hospital with nanny to see grandad the day after the operation and said that grandad looked like an alien all wired up to machines. Thankfully the operation was a total success as it allowed him to live for many years after 2001. He was able to enjoy doing many things such as seeing England play cricket at Lords & the Oval, go again to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and even go hot air ballooning.

Cricket at the Oval

Last Christmas, the phone rang on 28th December 2017 and my auntie called to say Grandad had fallen over in the shopping centre. Then she called back 25 minutes later to say that Grandad had passed away. I looked at dad and he was looking sadly at mum. He knew there was nothing he could do to bring grandad back and he would never speak to my grandad again. His heart ached and he wondered what to do. However he knew he had to go and see nanny as she would need plenty of support now that Grandad was gone. Grandad was nannies rock and helped her do everything. Grandad would try to cheer her up when she was sad. He would go shopping, do the cooking and generally help to make nannies life easier as they grew older. He was always at his vegetable allotment growing so many vegetables and fruit that they always had plenty of healthy food to eat. He would say that he had grown enough beans and carrots to feed an army.

Grandad Chas

Grandad Chas was a good bloke, he loved all his family and all his friends. He worked hard, really hard, to make sure that he could look after my nanny and ensure that his children grew up safe, secure, loved and with a sense of responsibility for what they will face in the world. He wanted his children to have good morals and were thoughtful and lived their lives with a free thinking and positive mindset. I think he succeeded. He said he was proud of his children and that was one of his main goals in life.

My dad tells me to always say what you feel when you can to the people you love and cherish. One day it will be too late and you mustn’t regret not telling those people dearest to you, that you love them. I miss my grandad so much so often. I miss the ear tickles and the back scratches. I miss the belly rubs and the head massages with his long bony fingers. Mostly I miss him not being able to lean into his shins and look up at him and tell him, with my eyes, I love you Grandad.

Gotcha Day

Within the world of dogs in which I find myself, there is a date that arises once a year and is a cause for celebration, thanks and thoughtfulness. Whether the fur concerned is a pup, re-homed or rescued like I have been, the day in question is the Gotcha Day. It represents the first day we wandered into our new forever homes to start our new lives.

I arrived in my forever home on 19th December 2013 and I really didn’t know what to think, let alone what to expect from this new house and these new pawrents. I had been in a home before and for one reason or another it hadn’t worked out. So, here I was in another new home and it looked nice, it was warm and there were plenty of beds and places to sleep as well as a crate with blanket covers so I could retreat there if I felt anxious.

Fast forward five years and I have a great life. I am safe, loved and I know that this is my forever home.

I can celebrate my luck in finding the right pawrents to look after me.

I can give thanks to them and all my friends who welcomed me and made me feel loved and wanted.

I am thoughtful for the other furs who remain in kennels, pounds, rescue centres and worse still are unloved and abused all around the world. If I could wave a magic wand and give them all a loving home, I would do without a seconds delay.

The uncle I will never meet

Occasionally I hear of people and I sit up and listen to every word. In this vein, there was someone born on 13th December 1963 who was bright, intelligent and funny. He was good at school, was a great son and brother along with a good friend to all. He looked out for his siblings and was always there to ride his bike, play games with his brothers and was forever seeking to listen and learn about new things. At school his teachers all said he did well in his lessons.

Then on Good Friday 12th April 1974 he went into hospital and doctors found out he wasn’t very well. There was an initial diagnosis of pneumonia. When they found out the real cause the doctors said he needed to have treatment which would be painful and might not work. This made his family and everyone else worried. They all wanted him to be better and able to do well at school and grow up to be a fine man. Sadly he spent a long time in hospital having the painful treatment and he couldn’t keep up his school work. He couldn’t have fun with his brothers and sisters, as well as his friends. He went back to school in September 1974 once the chemotherapy had been stopped and radiotherapy commenced. He couldn’t walk the mile and a half to and from school as he was so weak, but he was determined to live as full a life as possible. He had been on holiday to Cornwall with the family, in the summer.

Uncle David

On Sunday 8th December 1974 my nan & grandad were crying when my dad got out of bed. My uncle David died of lung cancer. Apparently it was genetic.

The funeral was on his 11th birthday on 13th December 1974. All the family were present. His entire school class was there. Everyone loved my uncle David and everyone misses him so much now. I know my dad and Minnie da Minx’s mum miss him every day, as do his other siblings. My nanny has a quiet time to herself every year. I will give her special leg leans when I next see her.

Listening to my dad, I miss my uncle David. He is the uncle I will never meet.

Uncle David

I think I’m staying

Panic over everyone, I think I’m here to stay. Its appears that I have managed to convince the pawrents that I am a good boy.

When I first came into the house, I really didn’t know if I was staying or if it was another temporary stay. I wanted some significant degree of stability, routine and guidance. I had missed out on a large amount of these three staples of puppy hood and I was skittish, directionless and preferred the sound of my own bark rather than listen to my pawrents. Gradually, over 18 months or so, I worked out that they only wanted me to have the best that they could offer. The best love, the best home, the best training and the best all round help that I needed to put me on the straight and narrow. Many things have changed and mostly for the better as far as I concerned. They would worry about taking me out in public as I would bay, pull and generally be unruly.

We went on holiday to the Lake District in Cumbria and on the first night after travelling we we went to the pub, and they were filled with fear and trepidation. I fell asleep on my settle mat, pretty much next to the bar. Upon the first full day there we went on an 11 mile walk. Upon arriving in the pub they were again fearful of my likely shenanigans. However I slept like a baby once more. This continued at some pace. I went to the pub or I would go to the local town for a stroll and I was getting better at being good. We went away for a few days here and there, and my behaviour got better and better. I was starting to listen to my humans a bit more, and I didn’t really realise I was doing it. We were actually getting more in tune with each other. My old life of worry, uncertainty about my fate and my fears over where I was going to be homed next all receded.

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At home I was coming when called, I would sleep and snooze and be more relaxed and I wasn’t waking up every time someone left or entered a room. Then I surprised them both about 2 days ago. I was in the garden and saw a tiny blackbird chick on the patio. I barked and barked at my pawrents to let them know to do something. I would have played with the little feathered chap earlier in my life, but I just alerted them to the bird. They had proud ears for me because I did the right thing. I probably scared the bird rigid but I didn’t touch.

My life is different, it has changed for the better. And I do not intend to look back. I’m staying.

Sunday funday

It was mighty warm on Sunday and I had no idea what was in store for me. Hudad fell out of bed as usual and looked bleary eyed at me. Humum went off to make a cup of tea. Within 20 minutes, I was harnessed to the immovable object and we were off on our latest Dexpedition.

The woods are alive with smells and noises early on a Sunday morning and I was in my element. Well, I was in my harness and attached to hudad, but you know what I mean. For some reason the squirrels and deer didnt want to play with me as I strolled through their neighbourhood sniffing, smelling and yelling as I went. Up hill, down dale, left, right, across the road and through the footpaths we went. We went past the fields where the sheep live and they bleated at me. Back into the woods and thence close to the park and finally to the Underground station for our return journey. I do like this particular walk, it gives me the best of all worlds. I have sniffs in the woods, meadow, streets, footpaths, fields and then close by the park. The trip home on the tube train is always exciting.

I just managed to flop, in a tired and frazzled state, onto one of my six beds and thought to myself, what an adventure I have had.

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After a few hours, I was harnessed again but this time attached to my humum. Where was I going now? This was unheard of. Two dexpeditions in one day. Was it my birthday? I was confused. Only when we got to the pub did I understand and I laid down quietly on my settle mat to snooze and chill for an hour or so whilst they chatted and chilled out. There were a number of gravy bones secreted in the rucksack which were used to buy my good behaviour in the pub, however this was an acceptable bribe to keep me happy.

What I wasnt expecting was for them to check my harness clips for wear & tear and to find that it might have worn down due to my alleged pulling.

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I’m a lucky hound to have adventures and I do often times wonder about the other less fortunate furs than I who don’t have such privileges. I always know where I have come from, and I know how fortunate I am. If you think of getting a dog, please go to the local shelter and see who is there. We are worth it, I promise.

Is this my furever home?

4 years ago today, I was led down a path to a new home. I had been in rescue twice, been homed once and all before I was two and a half. They think I came from a farm in Wales, but no one really knew. I had no idea what was going on, where I was or what was going to happen. All I knew was the house looked nice, it looked warm and it was cold and sleety outside.

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The two people who I adopted looked nice, they seemed quite nervous about the decision to rescue me but I could feel they wanted to look after me. The house was certainly warmer than the kennel, and the garden looked great. I decided to sleep as I didn’t really know what was expected of me. The garden could wait a day or so. I was confused and skittish for quite a while.

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It took about 18 months to start to really settle into my new surroundings with the routine of eat, sleep, walk and repeat. Gradually the number of beds increased and the training walks and fun were handed out in buckets. I could get used to this. I have routine, we trust each other.

I am safe, I am secure, I am loved, I have many friends, I am lucky. I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to the people that rescued me. We have persevered with each other, I have moulded them into my Paw Assistants, at my beck and call. I don’t want to think of where I might be if they hadn’t come along and made the life changing decision to give me a home.

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Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to everyone who has believed in me and helped me and looked out for me. Its good to feel loved and warm and safe.

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I have something in my eye.

Remembrance

Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK. It’s a day when people stop and ponder on what many of their forefathers went through in conflicts to make sure we all had the freedoms we have now. ┬áIt strikes me as a day upon which we should all remember the sacrifices that people and animals made, voluntarily or otherwise, that have made our lives better now. The animals had no choice.

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Usually I woof about having fun pawtrols, dragging my Dad through the fields or helping my Mum find the biggest dirtiest puddles to wade through. However today something was different. It didn’t feel like a fun walk. It was good as there were plenty of sniffs and scents. I even got to see a squirrel in the distance. I just keep on wondering what it might have been like if I was caught in conflict. It gave me a tingle in my fur, and not a nice tingle either.

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I am content that I do not have worried ears about going off to fight. I am also soberly reminded of those who have given their lives for freedom, as well as those who came back and the bravery of them all.

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From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Bonfire night & whizzbangs

I want to woof a blog with no pictures, so please bear with me. I know that some humans like Bonfire Night on 5th November. For those outside the UK who aren’t familiar with the ritual, a man called Guy Fawkes and some of his associates tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with many people inside. They failed, were killed in a grisly & gruesome manner and now it seems their failure and demise is celebrated with big bonfire and burning effigies.

Anyway, if that was the extent of the matter it wouldn’t be the subject of this missive. Oh no, people started getting fireworks and letting them off. They became bigger, and louder and more colourful. Then they became larger still, even more NOISY with the same amount of colour. If only the “celebration” was for one night only.

I am a dog (you may have noticed!). I don’t like fireworks, or whizzbangs. They scare me and I have to hide from them because they are so loud and so noisy. I know of other furs that actually cannot eat for hours after hearing and seeing fireworks, they are so scared by the things. I can understand, kind of, that for one night each year some people like to celebrate the demise of a potential mass killer. But when the fireworks are used to celebrate someones birthday, graduation, passing their driving test, eating all their dinner or seeing auntie Ethel for the first time in three weeks, I do wonder if it’s a little excessive. And don’t get me started on people who just have them to set them off in their gardens or those who decide its really clever to throw them at each other. I despair at this point.

Once a year, at an organised event, even I can see that. I don’t like them, I will cower and try to hide. However, this seems reasonable so I can live with it. However, selling these pyrotechnics to any Joe who walks off the street into the supermarket, I kind of draw a line in my sandpit.

Get people to organised events, sell toffee apples and hot toddy drinks with some sparklers for the small humans. Any money that people would spend on private fireworks, give to a charity to help homeless people or dogs & cats, so the world is a bit of a better place.

I will get off my soapbox now.