We were awake early a year ago today to make sure we were on time for our appointment in London. We had a very important guest to meet and we had to be on our best behaviour. Strolling up the hill to the station I told Lenny what was happening and where we were going. He was excited to find out what London was like. I also told him about who we were going to meet and he promised me, paw on heart, that he would be gentle and polite. The train journey passed quickly and we found ourselves dragging our parents through the back streets between Marylebone Station on our way to Euston Station. As the chariot containing our visitor was pushed up the slope from the platform we heard the babble of people cooing and saying kind things about Raffa Beagle, who sat like a queen, regal in her splendour. Lenny was true to his woof and greeted Raffa with a gentle nose bump.
Off we set on our tour of London. I had sent Raffa a postcard some time ago and she had pestered her mum to bring her to London so she could see all the sights pictured on the postcard. It was cold, crisp and sunny so we kept on moving to keep warm once we had ended our initial trip on the tube train. We saw so many things that I was struggling to keep up with what Raffa needed to see to complete her postcard.
Over bridges, along streets, next to the Tower, past palaces, near big wheels, over wobbly bridges, in front of cathedrals and even a cheeky trip to the pub all ended with us catching a London cab from The Mall to Euston Station where we sadly woofed cheerio to Raffa and her tired mum. We heard later that Raffa had enjoyed herself so much she had slept all the way home on the train and in the car. We also slept all the way home on our train.
We were proud of our efforts, despite not seeing a Yeoman of the Guard which was the only item on her list that we missed out on. I solved that omission earlier this year so we could say that all items were ticked off.
Since then Covid and other sad events have blighted our year. Raffa went on her longest journey in February this year, so we hold this trip dear to our hearts. We like to look back on fun days like this and smile at the memories. We can feel warm in times of stress and worries. I think it is important to hold on to memories of good days so they cancel the bad days where things just aren’t going the way you plan.
It’s getting cooler out there. Our morning walks have provided us with crisp clear days followed by fog and mist smothering the hills with its veil. This week we have been strolling the lanes of Pednor, close to my house. The first picture was taken on Monday 23rd November and was looking toward the position of the second picture taken this morning 27th November.
And this picture was taken this morning
It was a cool morning on Monday as Lenny and dad enjoyed their morning stroll, whereas this morning it was -2.5 Celsius, the overnight cloud had lingered and turned into mist which was just beginning to lift slightly. Gloves, warmer clothes and shoes were the order of the day this morning.
The beauty of the countryside close to my home is something I enjoy. I don’t mind the cold weather as it tends to keep the scents at ground level and my nose hardly rises above my ankles.
I wonder what fun the weekend walks will bring to Lenny and I?
Yesterday I put out some ideas on things that I like. I was very grateful for the views and comments on here and through my Twitter page. So, today, its the turn of those things I don’t like. There are other things, I have no doubt, but I am sticking with these for the time being.
A – Animal abuse. Don’t. Just don’t. Unjustifiable on any level.
B – Bath time. Yuck, all that soapy clean water trying to get rid of my beagle scent. No thanks, I will make do with a flannel wash thank you.
C – Chocolate. Yes I know that most people find it tasty however it is invariably bad for us so I don’t want to eat any and my parents dread me finding some in the house or on a walk.
D – Doing nothing. I have ants in my pants. I have to be doing something, going somewhere to keep my mind active. Only once I have done things, can I happily do nothing.
E – Early nights to bed when I want to play and watch tv. Why are parents so dull sometimes.
F – Fox hunting. Grrrrrr.
G – Going to the vet. I know they are here to help us get better and stay in tip top shape, but being prodded, poked and stabbed with a javelin of a needle, isn’t really my idea of a good day out.
H – Hate. An awful thing to have in your heart. Destructive and distasteful. Dislike and disagree by all means.
I – Illness. I really don’t like feeling poorly. It affects my day and stops me being able to run around being silly and enjoying myself.
J – Jumpers. Don’t like them. I can just about stick a coat in the winter or when it’s hosing it down but (Christmas) jumpers. Not for me.
K – Killed toys. All that fluff and brains everywhere. Could be a danger if I ate some of it, especially as I would have no idea where all the dead toys came from.
L – Leads. I know I am shackled to a human to keep me safe, but my lead stops me running freely and chasing creatures for hours on end.
M – Medicine. I need to be tricked into taking it so I haven’t done so for ages. Oh, apparently I have taken it.
N – Numpties. People who drive or ride their bicycles too fast around the roads we walk and nearly knock us over. Mainly those but there are others.
O – Operations. I had one, and I don’t want another. I couldn’t have breakfast before the op and even the blanket covering me after I came round had inedible bones on it. Then to compound my misery, the bandage also had bone pictures on it.
P – Politics. I don’t do it on my blog, I don’t do it on Twitter. Suffice to say they are mostly as bad as one another and cause more death, destruction and disagreement than most other subjects. I know our lives are run through their decisions, however I leave the ranting to the humans.
Q – Quarantine. Boring but probably quite necessary so we can all go out to play soon.
R – Rainbow Bridge. Whilst I know we will all pass to this place one day, it has already called too many of my friends and I am sad that I cannot woof with them any more.
S – Strict rules on baying after dark. Just because I am in the garden and there have been creatures invading my manor, why am I not allowed to bay at the top of my lungs during the night time hours?
T – Training. Pffft, I tried it once or twice when I was younger and it didn’t agree with my independent stubborn streak apparently. Now I can walk nicely on the lead but I do expect treats at the end of it.
U – Unnecessary rudeness. If you can’t say something nice or constructive, say nothing. I was called “moth eaten” once, I was not best pleased.
V – Vampire teeth. My ears resembled tea bags when our resident Prince of Darkness arrived. Now I am more wary and know when he is likely to strike, I am better prepared for the onslaught.
W – Walks that are too short. I like to get sufficient scents on my walks so when my parents have to shorten the walk due to “other stuff they have to do” its a bit boring.
X – e(x)periments. I do not like that animals are used in laboratories. We are sentient creatures, likely feeling pain happiness and fear the same as humans. It is archaic and should be stopped. Unjustifiable.
Y – Yellow snow. You won’t catch me eating the stuff. It doesn’t mean I won’t try to persuade Lenny to sample it though.
Z – Zip wires. They look scary and I wouldn’t want to go on one. Anyway i would need opposable thumbs to hold on.
I saw something like this recently posted by another blogger and wondered what it would be like from a canine (that’s me) perspective.
A – Ashridge Estate. I love going up onto the common so I can stroll through the long grass, get far too many scents in my nose and then get back to the car with a happy smile on my face. It isn’t far from me so quite easy to get to.
B – Beds. I have seven of them. I have to share my day time snoozing beds with Lenny but we have an unwritten code that we just go onto a bed and don’t hassle each other when we are sleeping. I have my night time bed whilst Lenny has his night time cave bed and never the twain shall meet.
C – Chesham. Where I live. I like the town with all the friendly people and other fur friends I have made here. It is surrounded by open fields and countryside so I get to walk the highways and byways to sniff out squirrels, rabbit and deer to my hearts content.
D – Dad. I have the safety and security of parents who look after me and make sure I am ok. One of them is my much maligned dad who, I must be honest, loves me to bits and who worries about me far too much. I am his first dog and he does some silly things which we all laugh at. But his heart is in the right place. Lenny and I know that he would always do stuff to make sure we are safe, loved and happy.
E – Exploring. I am able to explore for quite some distance locally and nationally. All the paths and byways near my home have been walked. I have also visited many places in the UK and always enjoy seeing new sights and exploring new scents.
F – Friends. What would I do without them? Life would be so much less interesting if I had no one to woof with on Twitter and on here. I always enjoy listening to my friends when they have good or bad news. It is nice to be friends.
G – Grandad. He is my only grandparent so I always have a fun time when we see him. Since he first met me, I have shown him that I am a friendly lad and he need not be worried about me. He is getting much better at tickles and I am going to take credit for that.
H – Home. A place where I can live in safety and security. I am fortunate to have a home now. I remember when I was in kennels at the nice rescue centre. I always wanted a forever home and now I have one, I will always feel lucky.
I – Icy cold weather. For some reason I like it when it is chilly. Maybe its because I can wear my warm coat and that the scents are close to the ground. I always seem to have great fun slipping across icy fields in pursuit of the next good smell.
J – Jerky. Beef Jerky. We get this as a treat sometimes and it is very tasty. I am not allowed too much of it as it can upset my tummy a bit.
K – King sized bed. My bed for sleeping at night time. It is big sturdy and heavy. It has high sides and is fully padded on the base. I get another bed within it for extra comfort. The best bit is that Lenny isn’t allowed in there, and he doesn’t try to break that rule.
L – Lenny. My brother who isnt actually bloodline related but we are the best of friends now I have got used to his nefarious activities of trying to bite my neck, ears and ankles at every available chance. After a turbulent start we have settled into a daily routine and have now got to the stage where we more than tolerate one another. In fact, I wouldn’t be without him.
M – Mum. The best mum of all. I know everyone will say they have the best mum but, in my case, it is the truth. Someone kinder and more thoughtful toward me I cannot think of. She always look out for me, looks after me and I look up to her.
N – Night time sniffs. Before I go to bed, I am allowed out into the garden to do “my business”. There are often many scents lingering from the nocturnal creatures who inhabit the tress around my garden. I get to smell them before I go to my bed. I may be in the garden for some time.
O – Outside, as in, out in the countryside. To see trees, lakes, rivers, big skies, rainy skies even, is to be free in mind and spirit. I am lucky to have some countryside on my doorstep as well as visited some wonderful places further afield.
P – Pednor. Probably my favourite walk around here. The views from most parts are lovely and I can see for miles. The roads are usually quite quiet so we can stroll along at our own pace without the fear of being run over. Also the hedgerows and paths allow me to scent way too many creatures.
Q – Quiet times. Sometimes Lenny gets to walk with dad whilst I go out with mum. We aren’t in competition for scents or territory and the walks are therefore quieter and we can have a chat without having a young beagle nose suddenly pushing me out of the way. When I first arrived I had the walks to myself and enjoyed them. I think mum and dad appreciated that, and try to ensure I still get some down time away from the playful lad now and again.
R – Relaxing after a hard days work. Always good to chill out when I have had a hard day of chasing, sniffing and avoiding sharp vampiric teeth.
S – Sunpuddling. What a treat. Finding the shaft of sunlight coming in through the window, on a cold day, and lying there allowing my fur to soak up the warm rays. We tend to sun puddle close to one another but without encroaching. It is probably my weary bones that need the suns rays the most.
T – Tube trains. I get to use them when I travel into London for exploring the city. I thought I would be scared when I first saw one, let alone boarded it, however once on board and moving I enjoy seeing the world go by. Even going around the actual underground sections doesn’t worry me, usually because I am accompanied by mum or dad.
U – Up on the sofa. I was allowed up on the sofa soon after I arrived. They were covered with throws so I could try and chill out after a hectic day. Now I can take up one sofa, whilst Lenny stretches out on the other. Not sure where our parents will sit but, hey, I am sure they will find somewhere.
V – Vegetables. I know, it’s a strange one for a canine. However if they are mixed sufficiently with my meat food, I can hardly tell they are there and I know they do me good.
W – Walks. They are the best. We always get to walk and explore with our parents. Walks are a vital part of our beagling armoury and help to keep our scent and sight skills up to scratch. Fresh air and wonderful scenery abound locally.
X – being e(x) – rescue. The feeling of safety, security and love all the time makes me content to my very core. To have been rescued and homed is a wonderful feeling. Add to that the fact that my rescue freed up a kennel for another fur, then I am doubly happy.
Y – Young at heart. I feel young when I am happily running around the garden with the sun on me. Chasing my brother is always a bonus. I like to feel youthful as I think it is important to stay young at heart for as long as possible.
Z – Zooming around the garden. Running at full tilt around the garden is fun, especially if I am chasing Lenny. We tire ourselves out whilst having fun. I suspect there is an ulterior motive in there somewhere.
These are my first thoughts on things I like, what are yours?
It occurred to me today, in the middle of this latest quarantine lockdown, that it is ninety days since my nanny went to the Rainbow Bridge to see grandad and all my buddies who have departed. And it made me wonder again about my life. I know I seem to be quite cogitative recently and maybe its because of the current situation with this virus and many other things happening. The time has flown since dad took the fateful phone call in mid August. Nanny and grandad are still in our hearts and minds. Sometimes I think I can see dad looking toward the heavens when I have allegedly done something silly.
I know I am a little disparaging about Lenny but it’s good to have a little brother to run around after, play with and generally share my life. I say it often enough however I am a very lucky dog to have love, safety and security showered upon me. Walks every day come rain or shine, food twice a day, biscuits and treats on other occasions and the pick of seven beds to sleep in all add up to me feeling happy. I am happy also that Lenny has somewhere safe to call home. He deserves it.
There are way too many other furs who don’t have the singular luxury of a bed, love, food or security throughout their lives and this makes me sad. Since the global virus marched its way through almost every country on the planet, I read about dogs being sold for extraordinary amounts of money because the demand outstrips the supply. Thousands of pounds for a puppy sold over the internet, on the back of no visit to see the little fur in its “home” environment, not seeing it with mum, sometimes a lack of health certificates and no check on any breeding or bloodlines. Are we a commodity, to be sold and bought in the same way as traders sell wheat, coal or motor cars? As sentient creatures, should there not be a more respectful and measured approach to us. I know that there are some people who look after us, breeders who make sure that they see where we will go, ensure we will be looked after and keep in touch for further questions.
People are at home for far longer than they used to be and crave company to combat their lack of social mobility. What happens when, or if, the virus is controlled a little and people start to carefully return to their places of work. What is to happen to the many pets who have been purchased and who may be left alone at home, almost fending for themselves with no walks, interaction with their humans and losing the regimentation of a regular daily life? I fear that a large number will merely be surrendered to a rescue centre, or shelter whose facilities will become bursting at the seams with the influx. I hope I am wrong, I really do.
Then we turn to the dreaded “C” word. Not Covid, but Christmas! How far will “pester power” stretch this year? How many dogs will be introduced to a new home with all the noise and joviality going on around us. Sitting there bewildered by this new place, the brightly coloured surroundings and not knowing what to do, how to interact and feeling completely confused with it all. The novelty often wears off quicker than a Christmas Day dinner and we look for some guidance and interaction to make us feel wanted and loved. Maybe this year should be the time for people to do their homework before bringing us into a new home. Speak to a rescue centre, ask what would be the best dog to suit the human and canine needs and then see if there is an unwanted dog at the rescue or shelter. I was a Christmas rescue dog, my parents did their homework as far as they could, they spoke to the rescue centre, saw me three times, walked me on each occasion, asked questions and thought about me for about three weeks before I came home. I was, and remain, lucky because they persevered with me despite some difficult early months for us all. People will say “oh but the rescue centres and rehoming centres aren’t allowing visits” which is often times true at the moment. That doesn’t stop them from researching our traits, which would be the best type of dog to get and then ask more questions.
Maybe what I am saying is this. Instead of “What will happen when the novelty wears off” it should be “Don’t let us be a novelty in the first place”. We are a serious and timely commitment. We will love you, play fetch, sleep in strange places, make you smile and be your best friend. However we will also make you sad when we have accidents, fall ill, run off on a walk and need you to take us to the vet and clean up after us. This applies to puppies who have their whole life ahead of them as well as older dogs who want only to have their years of dotage in a warm comfy place with gentle ear tickles and soft cuddles.
Are people ready for that? If not, then think really carefully about our suitability.
Today I was looking back over some of the photographs of my life here for the last 7 years. This first one was taken about a year after I arrived. I was all sleek and tricoloured as some Beagles are “supposed” to be. I hadn’t settled properly which is why I have a bit of a face on me.
Then I saw this picture which was taken last week. Oh my dog, I thought, what has happened to me? I have aged so much that I look old and tired. I would hasten to add that the picture was taken in the evening and I had undertaken many shenanigans during the day.
I have heard it said that I look thoughtful and wiser but I am not so sure. At this point I admit it sounds like I am after compliments but that isn’t actually true.
Maybe I am wiser, I cannot say. I am certainly older and my bones ache quicker. And the fact that I am forced to chase my brother Lenny around the garden when he tries to chew my ears and legs doesn’t help my attempt to retain my boyish good looks. I am certainly more thoughtful than in the days of my youth.
We all age, and sometimes our life is written large upon our faces. I am having a good life with many fun and interesting things to do. Maybe the perceived wisdom written upon me, is that I am enjoying it all and want more to come my way. I wish it upon all my friends, pals and buddies.
Sometimes there is no reason to post a long and winding blog about where I have been and what I have got up to. This is one of those occasions upon which I will not verbally ramble. I shall instead let my paws do the walking and the pictures do the talking.
Lenny and I went off on a stroll around the fields yesterday. The early morning mist and fog was beginning to release the land from its nocturnal slumber. The air was fresh and cool enough to see our breath as we ensured the deer population in the vicinity were aware of our presence.
There is a stark beauty to the fields when the leaves are falling and the sun is lower in the sky.
I sometimes think my life is really dull and boring. You know the thing, you just plod through your days dragging a parent out on a walk whilst looking at trees and fields. When I get back, my brother is usually there readying himself to attack me in the style of the vampiric Beagle that he is. Anyway, this is how it all started on the Saturday just passed.
The parents woke up later than usual and decided it would be a good idea to go for a walk across the fields. It had been raining for the last few days so the ground was fairly wet. Lenny and I knew this meant there would be plenty of mud and puddles to splash about it, as well as drink from. Off we set, going via the alleyway where there is always a black cat that sits there goading us into trying to have fisticuffs with him. We try to entertain the feline mauler but we forget that we are shackled to a human and they are fairly adroit at spotting said furry hooligan. Turn left at the end of the alleyway and up the hill towards the fields. As we go through the gate the pastures stretch away in front of us and we are allowed to roam, pull and wander about at the end of our respective leads. Rabbits scatter for their burrows and the deer in the field to our right look up, no doubt sighing, and wander off to a safer place to eat the farmers crops. Straight through the first of numerous large muddy puddles and we skirt the edge of the woods at the top of the hillock only to come back down to earth and into the first ploughed field. We see another dog along the top path and say hello from across the field, much to the non amusement of the parents. Along the path by the hedge and just as we enter the second field we turn sharp left then right and take a walk around the edge of Penn Grove. More of Penn Grove later in the tail (see what I did there). We arrive at the opening in the hedges where the gravel track crosses, at which point we see the mile field ahead. Let the fun begin. We manage to pull and jerk on the leads so much that the parents are slipping whilst trying to regain some degree of control. It’s only when they notice that we have seen a deer some way off in the field that they realise why we seem to be entering a competition for “Best Sled Dog Beagle Team in Bucks, UK”. Having regained our composure as the errant deer strolled away we navigate our way around the field all the while ensuring that all the muddy puddles are navigated centrally with all our paws as well as the wellington boots of the relevant parent. I am sure they will thank us at some point. We manage to circumnavigate the field and find ourselves near the burn site where the farmer makes ash from various hedge cutting activities. It is starting to rain so the parents decide it’s best to take the direct route along the gravel track, through Penn Grove and back towards home. I give Lenny the nod and he applies the beagle brakes whilst attached to mum. We get into the wooded area and Lenny is still applying the beagle brakes, somewhat to the annoyance of mum and much to my pride, that I have taught him well. Dad and I marched on ahead and suddenly heard this Crack, Whoosh, Thud as a tree in front of us falls directly across our path. Timber! It wasn’t a big tree, maybe 70 foot tall (that’s about 21.3 metres to you metric aficionados). We stopped and looked back at mum and Lenny. They were aghast and agog whilst we just had silly grins on our faces with the excitement. With the swish of his catlike tail Lenny had turned mum around and was walking swiftly back the way we had come, so we could take a treeless detour and not have any trees falling on our heads. When we got to the other side of the horizontal tree we could see that the root was very shallow and very waterlogged. It was now that we heard and saw our pals Charley and Bromley, accompanied by their mums as usual, telling us that a tree had fallen down. Don’t we know it pals, it nearly hit us on the heads.
Home and a race around the garden chewing each others ears was clearly needed. I don’t live a quiet and dull life, sometimes excitement is just around the corner. On this occasion, waiting to fall on my head.