I knew something wasn’t normal. I went out for an early walk and then had breakfast far earlier than usual. The car was loaded with some bags and I was put in my travel crate. We were soon on the motorway and heading north. I had no idea where we were going, but I knew it was a long way. The traffic got heavier and we got slower. I did wonder where we were going, and if we would get there. When we turned off the motorway, it was getting dark and I only just made out the sign that said “Welcome to the Lake District”.
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 we had been for a quick walk to the shop for some supplies and had breakfast, we were busying ourselves for the day ahead. I kept on checking to make sure the hills were still there, I couldn’t believe that I was actually here. I was harnessed up and then 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 hill 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. We were wandering back and 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 M&D. 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.
When I arrived in my new home, I had no idea that there was a wonderland of a garden attached to it. For the first few months I was shackled to one of my humans so couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I would have hoped. The number of trees made me suspicious that there were loads of little squirrels around. They would need chasing at some point.
I was allowed to roam fairly free after a couple of months, albeit on a long lead so I could at least chase a ball. I chased pigeons but they were pesky and kept on flying away. I think the squirrels were watching me and stayed out of my way. I could hear them, and sometimes see them, but they didn’t stray into my garden.
After a while I had calmed down enough to allow my humans to let me off the lead and to be trusted. It happened one day when I could hear them talking. I walked into the middle of the grass and sat down, the lead was unclipped from my harness and I just stood up and wandered off. I think this shocked all concerned. One thing I learned very quickly was that I could survey all the garden if I sat on the patio table.
One day I wasn’t allowed in the garden as usual. I wanted to go and explore and play but I was being kept indoors. When I looked out again, there were many people in the garden and they were taking away 2 of my trees. Apparently the trees had a nasty disease which was eating them from the inside. They would have fallen over if they weren’t taken away.
I have found many things in my garden, many of them are somewhat grisly and gruesome. One day, I was nosing about under one of the Yew tree and I was surprised to find a squirrel, but it wasn’t moving. Normally they like to run away from me but when I picked it up gently in my teeth, I saw it was headless so very dead. Another time there were two legs sticking out of the grass so I think the rest of the pigeon had been eaten. My human mum then found a ball of feathers and blood, so another pigeon had succumbed to the red kites who live in the area.
Now the only wildlife that I see in my garden is a tiger. Sadly I cuddled my tiger with my teeth and he doesn’t look like this any more.
I love having freedom to run and play, I’m very lucky. Its safe for me. But I’m still waiting for the squirrels to dare to venture into my garden.
I went to a dog show on Saturday. It was organised by the rescue centre who looked after me before I arrived at my forever home. My humans thought it would be a good idea to try and get me more socialised around other dogs, as I tend to be quite exuberant and excitable sometimes when I first meet other dogs, or a situation is quite new to me.
So off we went to the dog show to try and continue my education and see if I can be calm around other dogs and people. It was a very warm day, which helped as I am slower in the heat, and don’t tend to pull as much on the harness. I enjoy car rides, despite my early encounter with a car when I was a pup. Seeing somewhere new, especially if there are hedgerows involved is always exciting for a Beagle Harrier. We arrived after it had started, which was probably the plan knowing these two humans I adopted. There were two main show rings, and plenty of other stalls with food, drink and toys to buy. It looked great fun. The first time we went around the stalls and spoke to people, I was very excited and wanted to woof with as many dogs as I could. You should understand that I hadn’t been socialised when I was a pup, so I missed out on my very important formative years. Because I can be over-exuberant some dogs take umbrage with me. I am getting better though, I approach with my tail wagging and I am always smiley. Anyway, we strolled around and I was having a great time. We watched the judging for one of the classes. I managed to sit still for all of three seconds.
It was interesting as I met many different breeds and types of dog, most of whom were rescue. My humans were speaking to others who had also taken on rescues and I think it was reinforcing their view that we are worth it, we are hard work sometimes but the rewards are there for all to see in the end.
So, having wandered around and chatted to dogs and humans, I got some presents for later when I got home. The packets smelled of food but they were put away from my sight. I wasn’t entered into any classes as I thought it better to allow other dogs to win “Loudest Aroooo” or “Dog that can’t sit still for more than three seconds”.
I was calming down after 15-20 minutes, I even managed to lay down on the grass. It was very warm and there were plenty of water bowls. Eventually we found some shade, fortunately near to a hedgerow and I was allowed to sniff about.
It was a good learning experience for me. I have improved so much since I arrived that, as I woofed in my last blog, I am apparently a different dog. It has taken some time to realise that I have to be gentler around other dogs. I can play, but I have to be a little more careful and see the signs if some dogs don’t like my bounciness.
Thank you to Chilterns Dog Rescue Society for organising the day, it was great and I enjoyed myself. I’m learning new things every day. This was an important step for me.
Apparently I am a different dog? I’m not sure what they mean, as I look the same as the day I turned up, albeit slightly greyer around the whiskers. That’s called being distinguished I have heard it said.
When I arrived in late December 2013 I was a frightened, confused and bemused Beagle Harrier. Having been rehomed twice I wasn’t really certain if this latest house was to be my forever home. The humans looked quite nice, the house was more than adequate and the garden was like some magical playground which I wanted to explore immediately. However I had seen this before and for one reason or another, it hadn’t worked out. I was confused, I wanted to feel settled, to feel part of a family I suppose, but I didn’t have the mental stimulus or ability to know exactly what that entailed.
This was me, a couple of days after I arrived. The green fluff is all that remained of a toy I had “cuddled” with my teeth.
I had no stability or regimentation to my life. I was looked after very well by my friends at Chilterns Dog Rescue Society and I had some basic training and command structure. But there was no routine to my day. I woke up, strolled about my kennel, ate my breakfast and then had a whizz around the fenced in play area. I strolled back to my kennel and lazed about in there until it was time for snoozing again. There were plenty of other dogs to play with but I was missing something. I was feeling lonely, I didn’t feel part of a pack, I didn’t have humans to look after. When these humans arrived to see me for the first time, they were told I was beginning to lose my “aroooo” as I was becoming quieter and somewhat more withdrawn. It was a fortnight after we first met, that they returned to pick me up and take me to, what I desperately hoped, was to be my forever home.
It was a struggle for quite some time for us all. We didn’t understand what we wanted of each other, and I could see that they were getting frustrated at the communication between us. I was taken on walks, went to the park, went to the woods, through some fields, even walked through the town centre. Pigeons are great to chase! I saw new places, smelt new scents and met different people and dogs. But there was still this nagging doubt in my mind, was this my home. Without realising it however days turned into weeks, then into months and on to two and a half years currently. Gradually I was getting a routine, I was walked around a certain time, I had breakfast at approximately the same time, I had to find my treats around the house around the same time each day. I was allowed to snooze, I could wander about the garden and sniff the scents whether it was rain, sunshine or snow. The walks changed areas slightly as we tended to go to the woods or fields where I could let off some steam and be satisfied, both in mind and body. I was enjoying this much more as the days, weeks and months passed by. I was being trusted in the garden, not to run away, not to try and jump over the fence and not to dig holes. I managed two out of three, the hole digging remains particularly appealing. I was finally getting my routine, I knew what was coming. Gradual, subtle changes were taking place, so subtle that sometimes it took other people to point out what we didn’t realise. I am a happy dog, I am content and I have routine. I’ve got what I have been missing for a large part of my life.
This photograph was taken on Sunday 17th July 2016. Even I can see a change.
I’m a different dog, I’m happy and content. I’ve got proud ears.
One day in late summer 2015 I was out on one of my usual walks with M, pulling her around the fields and woods local to my house. When we got back, I had an itchy paw and decided the best thing to do would be to nibble and chew. An itch turned into a rash and then I started to limp as it was very painful.
My humans decided that I should go and see the vet so they could check out my paw and see what was wrong. The vet lady couldn’t be sure but was worried that I had a grass seed in there. Grass seeds are quite dangerous so they decided to put me on some pills called antibiotics to help my pain and limp paw. Sadly I also got punished with the Cone of Shame.
Now this may look like a problem that needs to be resolved. But the Cone of Shame had advantages as my human helpers had to get out of my way when I charged around the house. It also allowed the smells in the garden to be channelled into my nose.
When I returned to the vet, they still couldn’t be sure and said I needed an operation so they could be certain that anything in my paw didn’t stay in there. One day I went out for a walk early and then something strange happened. I asked for my breakfast as I usually do, but nothing was provided. Not a sausage, not a smidgen of anything remotely looking like food. Then we went to the vets and the nurses looked after me so well, that I started to feel quite sleepy. When I woke up, I felt very strange and was wearing a lovely warm blanket with paws on it. Best of all I had a bandage with bones on it. Sadly they were bones I couldn’t chew.
I was allowed home at the end of the day, they couldn’t find anything in my paw but I was fixed. I had to keep my paw and bandage completely clean so that the stitches didn’t get infected. Anyway I didn’t want to go back until I had to have the stitches removed. It got even more embarrassing as I had to have a plastic bag on my paw, so I couldn’t chase squirrels around my garden. Within 2 weeks I was back in the vets to have my stitches out and they were very pleased to see that the wound was clean. I managed to blot my copy book as I chewed 2 of the stitches. Another week with a plastic bag on my paw and I was then free to run amok, as I had always done.
I must try to remember not to get paw infections. I like seeing the vet lady, as I always get treats, but I’m not so sure about the bandages, injections and operations.
No one really knows where I came from originally. The one thing, maybe the most important, is I know where I’m going to remain. I didn’t have a settled early life, I probably missed out on a good part of the growing up that puppies usually enjoy in a stable environment.
It was a struggle when I first arrived, I was uncertain what was required of me, and my new assistants were also struggling to get to grips with this new part of their life. Having been in a rescue centre, and a good one at that, I hadn’t really known what it was like to try and get on the sofa, to have to ask politely when I needed to go out or even to have one, two or more walks a day outside in the big world. I was learning quite slowly, and I was very lucky that I could see there was frustration but it was fairly low level and I was being given time to learn and understand.
I escaped twice within a short time after I arrived. I now realise this was incredibly stupid, but I wanted to see the big wide world and didn’t realise that I was on a lead in the park for my own safety. My Beagle Harrier traits take over completely when I am out. All dogs love to be let off the lead. Some of them run around in a big circle, others will race about barking and playing. However it appears I am slightly different, in that once I am off lead, I run away. In a straight line. Very quickly. I don’t look back. The first time I ran away, I was off for 3 hours and was only recaptured after I had run into some barbed wire and cut my ear open. I was tired too. Sorry about the photo, Hudad took it..
I was carted off to the vets quite quickly after the first escape, but given a fairly clean bill of health. I got a bit of a telling off too. It didn’t seem to make much impression on me however, as I escaped again soon after and in the same park. Fortunately I was recaptured fairly quickly by what appeared to be the only person in the park who thought it strange there was a dog running around loose, with the collar and lead attached. Trust my luck to be sniffing a dead squirrel.
It was back to training in the garden, long leads and a super tight harness to make sure I couldn’t escape again when outside on my daily walks. The continued theme was that I wasn’t settled, I didn’t know if this was forever. These two were, and very much remain, my saviours. But I wasn’t sure. Until now I didn’t have the continued affection, there was no routine to stick to. I had been here six months and I felt sometimes that there was still a struggle to feel that this was permanent. The walks were also a struggle. I was, and remain, quite an obstinate lad, and I was being asked to walk to heel for extended periods. As we live near a busy road, I could handle the first section of the walk. However when I got to the field and my hunting instincts took over, it was nigh on impossible for me to walk to heel. Indeed they were lucky if I sat down for more than three seconds.
One day I was out with my Humum and we met a man coming towards us. He said I was a handsome dog, and of course, I had proud ears. He said that as a scent hound I was always going to sniff around in the hedges and long grass, it was my nature. If I could be walked to heel for the early part, and then left to sniff and explore for the remainder, this might cure some of the incessant pulling I was managing on the harness and lead. We tried this and it started to work a little better. I still pulled a great deal, but I was happier as I could exercise my brain, senses and body so I was more content.
I was also becoming more at ease in the house and garden. I was getting used to the routine of daily life and, to be honest, I was being looked after really well so I couldn’t complain, too much. It was dawning on me that I was here to stay, I was relaxing and feeling more at ease with my surroundings. Even the garden was becoming a calmer place for me. At first, I couldn’t be let off the lead, so the many jobs around the garden were not done and I could sense the frustration. Gradually I got a little more comfortable with my surroundings and realised that, when I was in the garden, the squirrels weren’t and I didn’t need to chase them away. Then one day it all changed. I was in the garden on a lovely summers day. I sat down on the grass and the lead was unclipped from the harness. I was free, kind of. And I just sat there. They expected me to run around the garden and probably do something silly – again. And I just stood up and trotted off to explore. I soon found that the patio table was a good vantage point to survey my garden. It also meant I could keep an eye on my humans, and make sure those pesky squirrels stayed away.
I was becoming more content, I was being trusted and it felt good. I began to realise that if I wandered about in the garden, then I was allowed to roam at will, sniff the flowers, arooo at pigeons and generally feel more at home. It had taken time, but I was beginning to feel like this was it, my new forever home. I was making up for lost time. It felt good.