We set off early this morning in the crisp pre dawn air. I decided that I would help mum jog along one lane whilst Lenny had plumped for dragging dad along a different road. I seem to have mastered the art of beagling whilst not stopping too often. I can sniff and scent whilst keeping moving. I can pull gently to one side or the other again whilst keeping my legs going in a forward direction. There are of course certain things that require me to stop although we will gloss over those for the sake of this missive. It was lovely and quiet along the lane toward Knepp this morning. We made our merry way through the trees and alongside the fields, where no doubt critters abound. The chill air seems to hold the scent at ground level so I fill my nose with the aroma of familiar foes. I am usually home a little before Lenny as he hasn’t quite mastered the “sniff and stroll” technique. My twenty minutes without my brother is usually filled with being cleaned and then running around the house safe in the knowledge that vampiric fangs are not travelling toward my appendages and extremities.
When he does arrive home, and has been cleaned, then it is time for bitey face shenanigans to take place until the parents decide they’ve had enough of us “annoying the entire road” with my incessant shouting.
Lenny did tell me that he had dragged dad down a very muddy country lane and it wasnt until they were well on their way that dad realised it was too muddy and was turning back. Lenny said that he will try again next time they are down that way as he is determined to make sure dad knows what it is like to be a beagle in mud.
The sun showing its face is always welcome as we can wander about the garden and get some warmth on our fur. Sadly we are normally accompanied by a parent who keeps their eye on extensive snout jousting, for fear of it waking the neighbours. As if we would do such a thing? So this mornings stroll around the grounds was augmented with plenty of standing about, pointing our faces at the sun, sniffing the air and wondering when lunchtime was.
Live life every day pals, as tomorrow it may be rainy and dull.
I am aware that I haven’t blogged in a while. My brain is in something of a cloud since I had my vet visit in January this year. I am due to go back for my annual boosters tomorrow as long as I am feeling better which, it seems, I am. As the vet didn’t get the results of my test back in time, they decided that my inoculations would wait so I get the pleasure of another trip there. Anyway it appears I have campylobacter Jejuni or some such ailment. Apparently its present, but dormant, in quite a few dogs and we live our lives in our free spirited way for most of the time. On this occasion though it seems that my campylobacter decided it wanted to have a big party and invited all its friends, even though we are still under some restrictions and I am not sure if I should be selling the pictures to the media. I shall report back in due course once the vet has seen me again and done the usual prodding and poking of my various areas. I am confident I am over the current bout of illness however.
Our walks have been taken separately due to Lenny and I still competing for the same scent at the same time, causing our parents to complain more loudly than usual of arms being pulled out of shoulders. We have heard rumours that if there was a Beagle Sled Dog Championship, we are front runners. Literally. The walks are the normal routes, although I have been jogging along with mum whilst Lenny takes longer walks with dad. We both return with tales to tell but only after we have chased one another around the house and indulged the neighbours ears with loud bouts of bitey face snout jousting shenanigans. To be honest, I am hoping that Spring arrives soon as it means the really muddy paths which we cannot go along currently will dry out and our parents will be able to navigate them successfully. It’s easy for us with four paw drive. We need more walks to explore and alleviate the tedium of the same three or four walks we are currently on. The views are ok, but I think we are missing the far reaching ones we had when we were patrolling around our old town. We’ve settled in to the new walks as we have been here for just over a year now. We do know where all the local squirrels and cats live which is always fun if the parents aren’t concentrating. Problem is that now they know I have a dicky tummy, the parents are on permanent lookout for field food which may find its way accidentally behind my teeth as I stroll along.
I cannot believe sometimes that it has been a year since we arrived in our new kennel. The time has just flown and I can’t keep up. I think we have made the house our own now, with beds and blankets strewn in strategic positions around the rooms. We have to listen to complaints about things being trip hazards but I am not sure it is our fault that the parents don’t look where they are going when they carry stuff.
I hope life gets a bit more interesting soon, as I am feeling a bit blue and melancholy at the moment. Maybe its age, maybe it’s my old bones or just having to live with Lenny. In any case, hurry up Spring as I am ready for some more adventures in the days ahead.
On Thursday last week I overheard that it was going to be a “big day” on Friday for me. I went to bed with a smile on my face and wondered what I was going to get up to.
Friday arrived and I had my same walk with dad in the morning. We returned home with the rest of the day ahead of us. The excitement built, and then fell, as lunch passed without incident. Lenny and I had our tea at the normal time and still it didn’t seem to be much of a “big day”. As time marched on toward Biscuit O’Clock I suddenly found myself being harnessed and I was leaving the house for another walk. Maybe this was the “big” part of the day? Along the High Street, past the small store and down towards the bottom end of the village I ventured with dad. As soon as we reached the end of the street, we turned up the little steps and I was presented with a view of a door. Sadly the door led to the vet. I had been tricked. Hoodwinked! It was time for my annual check up. According to my dad, it was a check up from the neck up.
The nice vet lady asked me to sit on the scale and made note of my weight. She looked at my pearly whites, felt my ribs and tummy and listened to my heart with a stethoscope.
Then it started; the divulgence of information on my recent bodily habits. Thanks dad! I didn’t authorise any of the details to be made public so I sat there looking embarrassed whilst he told the vet all my innermost secrets. I have been having tummy troubles recently. I had a few days after Christmas Day when I struggled to keep food in my body. This seemed to clear up after three days and all went along as expected. Then it all seemed to start again. I was visiting my garden about four times a night for a few days and then making numerous visits another 4-5 times a day. As a result I was starved for 24 hours to make sure it wasn’t a parasite or other nasty creature. When I went back to food, I noticed that there were certain items missing from my diet, such as fish tiddlers and gravy bones. My food was predictably bland, consisting of tasty kibble and tasty chicken. Sorry, I meant to say boring kibble and boring chicken. I was still being watched pretty much all the time just in case I had an accident in the house. Unfortunately the revised diet and 24 hour starve didn’t seem to have the desired effect and I have been somewhat under the weather.
As a result of my entire biological history being divulged to the vet I managed to avoid getting a jab in my behind, at least for a few days. I am having some antibiotic tablets, that I apparently know nothing about, in my food. The gravy bone supply has completely dried up. My food has been bland, dull and extremely boring for the last two weeks or so. The vet lady said I didn’t seem to be too bad when she was examining me. Just because I was wagging my tail, arooing at her and not listening to dad when I was told sit, I am not sure what gave it away. I thought this means I am being a beagle. One good thing to come out of it all is this though. Dad has to collect some “samples” from me when we are out on our walk so I get to try and run rings around him, tangling my leads. That’ll teach him for giving the vet all my personal details. I am going back on Tuesday for another check up. If I am better then I fear the javelin in my feathery behind.
I think I am just getting older and my body is changing. I cannot tolerate as many foods as I could a few years ago. I knew this time was coming and I am, of course, taking it all in my stride without complaint. I will eat my kibble and chicken without grumbling. I know that I am still here and I am, overall in good order and condition. I will have to try not to listen to Lenny crunching on tasty biscuits whilst I am on bland kibble. I shall soldier on, as always.
Since the news that our furry cousin, Minnie, went to the Rainbow Bridge there has been a bit of a dampener in the house. Not greatly helped by the weather yo-yo-ing between awful and terrible. Walking in the rain is a fun thing to do, I can vouch for that. Lenny isn’t as gleeful as I am when it comes to looking out of the door prior to our morning stroll and seeing the rain tumbling down. In fact he doesn’t much enjoy walks through the muddy fields either so I am a little worried that he isn’t really a Beagle at all. He even allowed a squirrel to stroll nonchalantly along the fence and never told me.
So our spirits were lifted somewhat this week as the weather has cleaned up its act and we have been able to stroll, sniff and try to eat field food just like we wanted to. I’ve been on shorter walks compared to Lenny although we have walked in the same direction, I generally turn around before he does. He needs the exercise more than I do. Since it is January the weather is changeable from one day to the next. We like it when its dry and cold as the scents tend to remain at ground level and we can bay loudly when we are on a trail. I’m not sure our parents are as happy as us being on a trail, as their arms tend to grow at different speeds. In any case we always try to stop every now and then to soak up the beauty of that which surrounds us.
We went from a beautiful sunrise over Chanctonbury (as above) on Monday to a real pea souper this morning over Shipley (as below).
I actually managed to get to see the pea souper this morning as I had the privilege of walking the male parent, even if I did have to listen to his grumbling about me pulling and jerking on the lead “like a toddler”. Apparently I’m eleven and a half and should know better.
What I do know is that cold, crisp days are great. May I see many more of them.
At 12.15 today 7th January 2022 my cousin Minnie made her longest journey. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on New Years Eve. I wanted to place in writing my admiration for her.
Minnie was found tied to a fence in Epping Forest, which is on the north east London and Essex borders. Her rescuers estimated she was between 15-18 months old when she was found. This was in 2017. Just let that sink in a little. She wasn’t even two years old and she had been abandoned!
Once she had been rescued and was being looked after, my auntie and uncle went to see Minnie and decided she would go to live with them. I found out very soon after they had made the decision to adopt Minnie. My heart sang with happiness. I knew she would be looked after like royalty as they had rescued greyhounds before and both of the greyhounds had lived wonderfully happy lives. So it was that in early October 2017 Minnie found herself a forever home and she quickly set about making it her manor. She was swiftly into training her new parents and getting them used to servicing her every whim.
Minnie walked every day, she went on holidays to Suffolk and Cornwall. When she was away, she waded in the sea, chased rabbits in the long grass, whizzed along the beach after her ball and laid roaching in the sand with a grin on her face. She was a pub dog, she visited homes and gardens, she went to see her grandparents and I even got to meet her once. Sadly I made an idiot of myself and I have felt guilty ever since. At home she would be chasing deer, rabbits and squirrels across the marshy areas around the river Arun. She even managed to need rescuing by the Fire and Rescue people as she got stuck on a little island in the middle of a tidal river. She had swam across and could not return.
After her shenanigans in the river she was limping a little and it wasn’t getting better so she was looked over by the vet and it was thought she would need some treatment for what seemed a strain type injury. When the X-Rays came back, the prognosis changed as there were signs of advanced cancer in her front right leg and shoulder.
Minnie made her longest journey today. She follows many others to the place where there is no pain or suffering and where there is only soft light and warm meadows. It is the kindest and yet most difficult decision that our parents can make for us when our bodies are tired and cannot keep going.
Today I have the saddest ears, for Minnie was a sweetie of a dog. She was, and is, an angel in the true sense as she was happy and loved and she touched the lives of all those who came across her. She had a great life once she had been rescued and found her forever home. My auntie and uncle changed her life, and changed it for the better. They gave Minnie a life of love, comfort and showed her she was cherished. She will be looking down at them with love in her heart.
Run free Minnie furcuz, free from aches, ills and pain. Free to chase the rabbits for as long as you want. Free to feel the warm sun on your back. You are released from your duties down here. Farewell Minnie, for it is never goodbye. We shall meet again some day.
Sometimes Lenny and I have a few minutes to spare. We like to check up on one another, make sure we are happy and to swap yarns and tall stories about the things we got up to before we became a noisy duo. Oh erm, Happy New Year to you all.
Lenny: Dex, do you like living here? Dex: I do, Lendog. Its very different from the last place but its cosy and comfy. Even the carpets are warm and I can stretch out on the floor. What about you then, Lendog? Lenny: It’s pretty good here. I dont like that the garden is way smaller than our last one but the house is warmer and we have stairs to chase one another up and down.
Dex: Would you go back to the previous house then? Lenny: No. I would bring the old garden with all its scents and smells here. Then we could run around like a couple of idiots.
Lenny: So we’ve been here nearly a year and I have settled in to the new routine, I think. Dex: Lendog, you settled within twenty minutes. You just leapt on your bed and were snoozing before the removals guys had finished. I, on the other paw, took another month or so to feel at home. I struggle to feel settled quickly, there seems to be too much else for me to understand and explore.
Lenny: New paths, new woods and new roads to explore. What do you think are your favourites? Dex: All of them. We dont have as many places to explore here so we need to make sure we enjoy them all as much as possible. It helps that there are squirrels everywhere. What are your favourites, Lendog? Lenny: Well, now you ask I like the longer walk I do with dad, down to the top end of Storrington and Sullington. Its mostly on the road but sometimes we return home through the little footpath between the fields and then over the little wooden bridge. I did like the circular walk to Thakeham but since the farmer has ploughed up the path with the tractor we are banned from going that way. Dex: Do you miss the old walks then Lendog? I know I do, I used to like the strolls around the big field in Botley, the walk up to Chalfont Woods and the ride on the tube? Lenny: Yes, I do miss them. The circular Pednor walk as well as running through the fields at Mayhall were always good, fun walks. I think we may have to persuade them to take us back, even if only for a day. Dex: If I could bring back those walks I would be happy. Having said that, I am slowing down now and I’m not sure I could manage one of the six or seven mile walks I used to regularly pull one of our parents around. Lenny: True story Dex. I would also be very happy if I could have those walks again. Maybe it was the familiarity of them as well as being directly on our doorstep. There are too many places here which are fenced off and out of bounds to us.
Lenny: Have you met next doors cat yet, Dex? Dex: No buddy I haven’t. Most people in the village would have known about it if we had bumped into each other. I haven’t properly met the little dog at the other end of the road yet either. In fact there is another dog in the farmhouse opposite that we haven’t been allowed to say hello to? I think we are missing out on something. Lenny: I don’t know what I would do if I met the neighbours cat. I would probably aroo loudly and then try to play bitey face with it.
Lenny: We went to the beach quite a few times this year. It was fun as we could get out and about in the fresh air and enjoy an early morning stroll along the edge of the sea. Dex: Yes we did enjoy ourselves, especially the part about eating all the dead washed up stuff that came from the ocean. I’m not sure if our parents enjoyed our trips as much but, hey, they only needed to clean up for three or four days afterwards. Lenny: I remember that. Somehow they didn’t think we would try to eat all the smelly dead stuff that has washed up in previous tides. Dex: And we got to see grandad more often, which is always a bonus as we can teach him the art of good tickles and belly rubs. I am quite proud we have shown him that not all dogs are bad or naughty. Lenny: You were training him before I came onto the scene, so thats all your own work. I just turned up, saw he was half trained and then set about helping you finish off his studies.
Dex: So, Lenny, what do you remember about your life in Cyprus? Lenny: Not much now. It was nearly three years ago that I adopted all of you so I have been quite busy making sure I have my paws under the table here. Dex: Fair enough, I suppose you have had a lot of things to adapt to here. Is it different from your Cyprus life? Apart from the weather of course. Lenny: Indeed it is. I was a street dog for most of my very early life. I am not sure if I just escaped or was dumped from the hunters but I was very lucky to be picked up and rescued. There are far more rules here and I am still not wholly content with this lead and harness stuff. I know we are told its for our own safety and, mum and dad would be really upset if I got off, but it’s still quite restrictive. Dex: I agree with you about the lead and harness stuff. I went through a time where I was collar walked and I nearly strangled myself because of my utter insistence in chasing everything all the time. As you know I escaped three times and on each occasion, they were really worried about me doing something stupid. I think we are going to have to put up with harnesses, sadly. Lenny: So what do you remember about before you arrived here then, Dex? Dex: Almost nothing matey. It is so long ago now that I have had too many memories in between my arrival and today. I know I came from Wales originally but I don’t remember where. I know I was rescued, escaped, tried to play with a car and lost. After that I came to live with these two and have ruled the house ever since. Well, until you arrived that is. Then the dynamic changed once more and I had to learn how to live with another dog. I was confused at first but you didn’t push in too much on important stuff like food and water so we didn’t need to squabble over those. The parents were quick to set down rules about eating and stuff like equal tickles or belly rubs so, again, we didn’t need to squabble over those.
Dex: So, overall, you enjoy living here? Lenny: I suppose so. The house is nice and we get to run up and down the stairs playing bitey face games. The garden is way too small for us but the squirrels seems to have emigrated south with us. What about you, Dex? Dex: Me? Yeah. The other garden was way better, both in size and places to sniff and play. However I can lay in about ten different places here in the house and we can get some downtime from each other which is good. I’m a bit older than you so I need my naps, despite being alert whenever I am awake. It seems to be warmer and more cosy here. We need to find some other walks and adventures nearby in time for Spring so we can go off exploring again. There aren’t as many walks as before.
Lenny: I’m hungry. I think we’ve solved the problems of the world. I think it’s time to go and pester a parent for food. Dex: Good idea Lendog, lead the way.
Well, it’s my end of year review to be more honest. I know that many people do these, however I suspect they don’t do a review from a canine point of view. What a tumultuous year it has been for Lenny and I.
In JANUARY we moved kennel from north west of London to West Sussex and closer to the seaside. Not that we were thinking of the sea, sand and balmy beaches at the time as it was freezing cold and raining. All of our belongings had been packed away and we had lived in an almost empty house for the last week of the month. It was a strange time, within the strangeness of Covid times.
In FEBRUARY we were trying to unpack all our belongings, become accustomed to our new home, explore new paths and seek out new civilisations, to boldly go where few beagles have been before. I fear I may have strayed into sci-fi with that last section. Having said that we met another beagle on our first walk, so that was a good result. We also made our first venture to the beach.
In MARCH the sun came out, we were allowed to explore our garden and we slept, having become more accustomed to our new house. We explored more paths, smelt more squirrels, greeted more dogs and generally made more of a nuisance of ourselves.
In APRIL we explored further afield, Lenny saw a stag in Knepp Estate, we smelled the bluebells and played in our garden. The mists lifted and the area looked prettier so we decided to stay for a while.
In MAY we took another trip to the beach, we ate dead stuff that had washed up and this gluttony meant we had to wake our parents up at midnight, 2am, 3.30am and 4.30am on a couple of occasions. We explored more of the lanes and byways whilst having a fun time. We also saw more bluebells.
In JUNE the sun was still shining, our grass was growing prodigiously, we lazed and sunbathed whilst also fitting in walks each day. We sniffed the flowers, played bitey face in the garden and enjoyed the start of the warmer summer months.
In JULY the warmth of the summer sun meant that we could go in the car and visit Borde Hill Gardens which was great, and we managed our first ascent of the season of Chanctonbury. The views from the top were great. In between we managed to laze about and play in the garden.
In AUGUST we decided to rein in the adventures for a few weeks. We only explored the lanes and byways, found some new woods to bother some squirrels and celebrated Lenny’s birthday. All in all a quieter month but one of rest and recuperation.
In SEPTEMBER we needed all our energy as we had a special visitor. We showed Raffa’s mum our new kennel, showed her the pub and then, the piece de resistance, our best bitey face in the garden. We think she was impressed. The week after we went off exploring in the car and then on the train back to London for a quick stroll around the City. Lenny tried to eat pavement food and got told off. We rested and chilled out for the rest of the month. We were exhausted.
In OCTOBER we found ourselves back at the beach so we had to eat more dead washed up creatures, thus allowing us to ensure our parents couldn’t oversleep. Lenny missed me dreadfully, apparently, when I was away for the day having my teeth cleaned and polished. One tooth fell out so I received sympathy but no extra food. We ascended Chanctonbury again but didn’t get as far as we wanted to, as bulls and lively older beagles aren’t a good mixture.
In NOVEMBER the mists returned as the sun lowered in the sky. Beautiful mornings gave way to rainy days and we dodged showers on our walks. We found some new fields to wander around, although the lack of squirrel bothering opportunities was worrying.
In DECEMBER something called Christmas was going to be celebrated this year. A tree suddenly appeared in the corner of the room, we were warned to stay away and not to play near it. Our walks became muddier, the sun seemed to disappear earlier and we didn’t get any leftovers from Christmas dinner.
Yet again however we lost many friends, colleagues and buddies. We all know that, one day, we will make our longest journey. We know that we will travel with love and affection permeating every part of our existence. However, the pain does not lessen with this thought. Too many friends have left an indelible paw print on too many humans. Maybe next year will be different. Maybe not so many of us will make the journey. Maybe we will be able to meet up, explore new places with old and new buddies. I hope so.
No, not some perfume which has probably been tested on beagles and then sold to unsuspecting people, but apparently something that applies to me.
I am a beagle, you may have noticed. Lenny is also a beagle and, again, this may have come to your attention. In that case, my parents want to know, how are we so different when it comes to certain small furry creatures which run along the fence at the back of my garden sending me into some delirium in the process. Of course I refer to squirrels. The grey variety that hitched a ride over from the North American continent and which now plague woods, forests and my garden so successfully. I would like to thank whoever it was that thought they would be a good idea, but I cannot do so.
They have been cavorting all day and I have been unable to control my whining and pacing in and out of different rooms to get a better view of them. As my view improves the whine goes up a decibel or ten, with associated baying when I cannot get to them. I move from a chair in the living room to the kitchen, back to the living room, off to a bedroom overlooking the garden, return to the kitchen, push the closed and locked door in the (vain) hope it will open and then stand in the living room once more noisily whining at whichever parent is closest. It would appear I am tormented by them (squirrels not parents). According to said parents we are not going to live in a cave whereby any and all views into the garden are shut out with curtains, so my view is panoramic around the garden. As soon as I am released into the garden to chase off the pesky critter it merely leaps into a nearby tree and pulls faces at me. I return to the warmth of the living room and watch as the squirrel descends from its lofty perch and continues its efforts are sending me doolally.
Then Lenny decides to wake up and see what’s going on. I cannot believe that he has missed the entire squirrel bothering episode because he’s been sleeping soundly. Does he not understand that these creatures are our mortal foe, they represent everything that makes a beagle obsessed with shaking it warmly by the neck.
These pictures were taken about four seconds apart. He’s just awoken from his nefarious slumber. I had been like this for the previous ten minutes, gently whimpering at the scoundrel running amok in my garden. I really don’t understand how he can be so relaxed about having squirrels in the garden. Is he truly a beagle? Maybe it’s me? I think I need to have a bit of a lie down in a darkened room.
Another year has passed since I arrived in my forever home. Eight years ago today I strolled into a new house with new people, new rules and hopefully a new way of life. I was a little worried at first as I had no idea about what was happening or if this was foster or permanent. As the days turned into weeks, then into months I began to realise that this was it, this was my forever home with people who would look after me and make sure I got love, food, beds and some degree of routine. I say “some degree” as most beagle parents will tell you that there is only a certain amount that us beagles will tolerate before we have to give in to the stubborn traits so wonderfully associated with us.
So that is it really. I was a Christmas dog, but the parents started their homework on me in the previous September. Three visits and numerous internet searches led them to be my guardians. We went through all the teething troubles in the first eighteen to twenty four months and then I began to feel more settled. We look after each other to be honest. When Lenny arrived my world was turned upside down and had the normality shaken out of it. We had a new family member to look after and I am still training him to be my protege. He will get there, I hope.
Us rescues have many events in our lives and most of them we have no understanding of their meaning. Christmas and birthdays are fun. The one day we will always seek to appreciate will be the day when we were rehomed for the last time, into our forever life and with our guardians.
It was a bit chilly around these parts this morning. We set off for our daily walk together and managed to negotiate one of the local roads that some drivers treat like a race track. Sadly our normal path through the woods is cut off by an enormous tree which has fallen across it. In any case we managed to cross the road a few times and avoided being pummelled by the speeding cars and lorries.
We turned right onto a quieter road and climbed the short hill away from the hubbub of the morning rush. Squirrels darted left and right as we advanced upon them. Our parents complained that Lenny and I were in competition with one another to try and get to the squirrels. As we descended past the stables the lane stretched away and we strolled (pulled and yanked) along enjoying our walk. I was attached to mum and Lenny to dad so we were on opposite sides of the road and could scent and sniff to our hearts content. Dad told mum that he and Lenny were going to walk on a little further as Lenny had been on fairly short walks recently and needed a bit more scenting than I did. So, off they went, as mum and I turned and headed for home. I didn’t mind to be honest as it meant that I could zigzag across the road and scent both sides without the interference of my little brother.
When Lenny and dad returned about thirty minutes after us, Lenny could hardly contain his excitement. He had walked further and seen a lovely view across fields and sheep in the farthest field. They had turned for home and the sunlight drifted through the early morning haze and made the trees look all spooky.
I feigned indifference to his tales but secretly I was jealous of him having another walk with brilliant views. I suspect my walk also had good views but I was too busy with my nose to the ground.
Tomorrow we go again on our walks. This time I intend on making sure I keep Lenny firmly in my sights so I can also see the lovely views he gets to see. I just hope I remember to look up from my sniffing along in the grass.