The deafening sound of silence

It’s me, Lenny. I have been allowed to write a guest blog for Dexter today. Maybe I should explain why.

We went out separately this morning for our walks. I went along the lanes to the west of the village, whilst Dex went up the shortest road then returned to wander along through the village. He was with mum and she said that he had the biggest grin on his face as they strolled along the road. I think he thought they were going under the big road and then around some of his favourite fields which have cows, sheep and, happily for Dex, squirrels aplenty in them. Anyway they didn’t quite make it to the fields as mum swerved suddenly and went up the steps to the vets. It appears the my older brother (who’s not my biological brother but I still love him) had an early morning appointment. After discussing the various things the vet was going to do, it was explained that Dex doesn’t like needles and anything in his scruff or neck would be a titanic struggle of epic proportions. In actually fact in our previous house, he went to see the vet and when she went to give him his annual injection he wriggled so much she stabbed herself. Oh well, at least we know she wont get rabies. Anyway, I digress. Mum left him with the vets as it appears that he needed his teeth cleaned and they were just the people to do it.

I returned home from my walk with dad and I was completely unaware of the parental chicanery which had unfolded. So, paws wiped, collar changed and off I go expecting to be accosted by Dex as I try to make my way to the water bowl. Nothing! No Dex, no greeting and no noisy fighting. I checked every room in the house and he definitely wasn’t here. I had my breakfast and went around the house again to check that he wasn’t hiding and waiting to pounce on me. No, sadly he was nowhere to be seen. I decided it was a good opportunity to go and sleep in one of his favourite places. However the silence was deafening. After a while I got a bit bored so patrolled the garden, chased a squirrel and got some biscuits for my efforts. However Dex was still missing and I was missing him. After lunch I had a snooze in Dex’s chair and then dad decided I could play with some toys. Usually we don’t play with toys as I have a guarding instinct and it ends up with a bit of a squabble between Dex and I. A noisy squabble!

A cheeky monkey beagle chewing a stuffed monkey.

Suddenly ring ring! Hello. Oh he’s ok and we can collect him. Phew. It appears he had a wobbly tooth near the back which has been taken out and the remaining teeth are now gleaming clean. He was a perfect patient and even had some soft food whilst he was at the vets. He’s going back for a check up on Monday afternoon.

When he arrived back in the house I had to be held back from greeting him too wildly. He’s home and snoozing. I have to “take it easy” whatever that means. We are being watched constantly so we don’t get up to mischief. As if we would do shenanigans in the house.

Where am I? Who am I?

It’s nice to have him back. I really didn’t like the sound of silence in the house without him. It was horrible. Tomorrow we will hopefully be able to run around arooing at each other and generally be silly. The defining sound of silence should be gone.

In the mists of morning

Lenny and dad have been going out separately to mum and I recently. I don’t really need to have as long a walk as Lenny. Also we seem to be bouncing off one another when we walk together with it being more like a lead pulling competition than a walk. So, it was decided over the last couple of days that Lenny would hit the lanes west of the village with dad whilst mum and I went north.

Lenny came back this morning with tales of awe and wonder. I didn’t really believe him until I saw the pictures. However it seems that his walk was indeed stuffed full with lovely views.

As autumn rolls in and the mornings become cooler and more moisture laden, the views across the fields and hills should become much more atmospheric. He was a lucky lad to get these vistas today.

Chanctonbury and the South Downs

I was busy chasing squirrels and had my nose to the ground according to mum.

Maybe I will get to stroll the lanes to the west. Maybe tomorrow.

Is this age creeping up on me?

I’ve been a bit ill recently. No, you’re not getting any pictures of me recycling my food as that is personal. Of course my illness had nothing to do with me raiding the kitchen bin and finding all sorts of goodies in there including tea bags and bits of kitchen roll which needed to be shredded, chewed and in the case of the teabags eaten. Unfortunately at 5 am this morning, I decided I needed to be sick and my parents were left with the clean up operation. I feel better now, thanks for asking. Also a while back my diet was changed as it seemed that my belly couldn’t handle the food I was eating and there were many and varied trips to the garden at plenty of unearthly hours of the night. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something?

If I ignore him, he might sniff somewhere else.

I have been thinking quite a bit over the last few weeks about me slowing down too. Since we moved into our new house, I have these new fangled stairs to negotiate and I seem to be using up more energy every time I go up, especially when I am chasing Lenny. Then when I get upstairs I seem to seek out the bed under the desk in mums office or try to lay snoozing on one of the spare beds. This of course relies on Lenny not finding me and trying to bite me. When we are outside in the garden it may be smaller than our old one, but I seem more content to just stroll about and try to eat bees. Yes I know that is pretty stupid and I am regularly squirted with the water gun that has been bought just for this eventuality. However the bees seem to buzz around and I cannot help but try to catch a few of them. I have yet to succeed, much to the relief of the parents. Lenny and I seem to understand that the garden is smaller and that I like to have more time to sit on a bench to watch the birds land on the fence and then listen to the sound of the cars and trucks outside in the road. I suppose it is because I am allegedly 11 now that my body and mind is telling me to take things easier.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with bee(s).

If only that were the case when we are out on our morning walk though. I seem to be permanently pulling at the end of the lead trying to get to the critters in the fields and hedges.

I am not saying that I am old and infirm, far from it. I think I am beginning to realise that when I am in the house and garden, I don’t have to run around like a hound possessed all the time. I have a good life and generally I am very healthy, it is just that there seem to be more occasions where my bones feel a little weary and my mind is telling me to relax and not chase that squirrel on the fence.

Come on squirrel, I’ve still got what it takes.

Did someone say squirrel.

Fighting weight

Lenny and I went to the vet last week. We moved house and needed some tablets to make sure that worms don’t live for too long in our guts. I know its disgusting and I apologise if you are having your tea but that is what we did. We were tricked into going by a mean parent who only said that we were going for another walk. Anyway the vet asked to see us so we could be weighed and quickly checked over. Due to the current quarantine restrictions we were allowed into the vet practice separately and dad had to sit outside. As he was the mean parent who tricked us, both Lenny and I wanted it to be raining so dad would get wet. Sadly it was dry and bright. I went in first and sat on the scale like the good boy that I am. Thirteen point nine kilos dad was told, whatever that means. Then it was Lenny’s turn to sit on the weigh bridge, sorry scales, for his quick check over. Fifteen kilos, the vet nurse said to dad, who was taken aback somewhat at the number. This got dad thinking on the way home and he was quick to speak with mum. A plan was hatched and Lenny was none the wiser thankfully. Lenny is going out with dad for longer walks and he will get a little less food in his bowl as well as fewer biscuits are treats.

So it began the following day when I was attached to my mum and Lenny to dad. We started off in the same direction and after a couple of miles I was turned around to head for home. Lenny and dad were heading for the hills it seems. They disappeared around the bend in the road and I was left wondering what was happening. I found out soon enough that Lenny had taken a longer route through the country estate that we had so enjoyed a week or so before. I was feeling bit jealous until I saw Lenny’s breakfast was smaller than mine and he hadn’t noticed. As usual he had dived in and inhaled his food, much in the fashion that a Labrador is alleged to inhale their food. I say alleged as Labradors are bigger than me. The following day Lenny was hooked up again to dad and they took off in a separate direction to mum and I. Again he came back with a grin on his face and recounted where he had been and the other dogs he had met. I didn’t feel as jealous this time as, again, his food bowl didn’t look as full as it used to and he hadn’t noticed. The weekend arrived and we went back to walking as a group. This time we went around the country estate together and Lenny showed me where he had seen the long horned cows as well as where he had scented the deer. We took the long route to the pub yesterday and Lenny and I were allowed to pull and jerk on our leads quite a lot. When we got home we both realised how tired we were from all our lead based shenanigans and it occurred to us that maybe there was a method to us being allowed to mess about so much.

So tell me all about your day.

Lenny is going to get longer walks, fewer biscuits and a little less food in his bowl. We are also going to get less cheese that is “accidentally” dropped when food is being prepared. Apparently I don’t need long walks every day as I am getting older and I seem to be getting more stiff joints and cramp when I don’t drink enough water or go too far on a walk. I actually quite like not going too far as it means that I can come back and relax for a while before the hooligan hound breezes through the door and bitey face begins in earnest.

I hope this new routine doesn’t make him even more ravenous for my neck!

A path trodden by few.

Today we decided to try out a path less travelled. Lenny and I had the usual wait for the parents to get themselves ready. We were fed our first breakfast on time and then waited for what seemed ages for the staff to finish faffing about.

Out of the house and turn right, then left, under the road and sharp right up the slope toward the woods. Lenny and I made ready for our noses to go into over drive as soon as we got to the edge of the trees. We weren’t disappointed as we both picked up scents straight away but were surprised when we suddenly veered left through the woods, along a path and next to a field. What was this sorcery, surely our normal path is to follow the road and then cut into the field slightly? We weren’t complaining, merely wondering what was happening. As we approached the first gate we heard the parents tell one another that this was all new from here on and it would be an exploration. For me it would be a Dexploration. As we quietly said good morning to the horses we wound our way past the farm, along the edge of the trees, over the brook and then back into the woods. It was at this point that we realised we had been hoodwinked. Listening to the parents, they had seen a herd of eighteen Roe deer in a field about half a mile back and they had decided not to tell us, for fear of a continual noise which would “awaken the dead”. This was clearly unfair. We happened upon a path and then a narrow lane which lead us back to the next village from our home. We managed to jerk and pull our parents for the entirety of the lane so that we could remind them of our presence at the lower end of our respective leads until the narrow lane became a road and the cars increased in number. Turn right and up another lane, through the edge of the woods and returning under the road bridge we found ourselves, all too quickly, back at home.

That was fun.

We had adventured and had fun. Here’s to another set of adventures in the very near future. Lenny is duly sleepy so I can escape being bitten for a while.

New paths, new friends and old foes.

It was chilly this morning once we were out and about on our paws. We managed to prise mum and dad out of bed at a reasonable hour and we were quite impressed with our efforts. Come on, they said, we will take a stroll a little further than we have been before. We were intrigued with the lack of clarity over where we were about explore.

Out of the house and along the road, we soon found ourselves in the lanes through the countryside. We had walked it a few times so the views seemed to arrive quite quickly. The scents also came thick and fast and we had to slow down to make sure we got as many sniffs as we could. Past the church, right, then left, through the gate, along the path, through the next gate, along the track and we find ourselves standing at the lower end of a wonderfully quaint and very quiet Sussex village. Lenny and I decided that we shouldn’t make ourselves known to the residents until we knew why we were there. Mum and dad clearly had a purpose for coming this way as they were looking left and right as we walked all the while dad saying “I’m sure its just here on the left”. We continued along the narrow lane for another few minutes and dads face lit up as he realised they had found the pub that they had wondered about ever since we had arrived four weeks ago. It wasn’t open due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown as well as the more prescient fact that it was 9 am on a Sunday. Having satisfied their interest we all strolled on to the end of the lane fulfilled now we knew the purpose of our walk today.

Apparently its just around the corner

Turning round we walked back toward home. At this point dads had slid down my lead and I was told to stay close to him. Being an obedient Beagle Harrier I always listen to him, despite it being extremely boring when I cannot explore at the end of the two metre lead. Lenny then let out a long arooo and as I looked up there was another beagle walking toward us. We greeted this fellow beagle in traditional fashion, with all the humans feeling very embarrassed at the loudness of our greetings directly in front of someones house. We found out that our fellow beagle had been rescued by Beagle Welfare and rehomed about eighteen months ago. She was now living a wonderful life with walks aplenty, a comfy sofa or two and multitudes of scent possibilities. We parted company after a few minutes and felt happy in heart and soul. We agreed to say hello the next time we were in her village.

Was it something I said?

Lenny and I made sure that the “beagle brakes” were liberally applied most of the way home so we could enjoy the scents of the hedgerows for as long as possible. Happily for us a cat ran across the road in front of us toward the end of our return home and we managed to ensure that the feline fiend knew we were in the area. For some reason we don’t get on with cats. Whilst we were trying to introduce ourselves to the cat, it appears that we had invented a new pastime of “Beagle wrangling” so it sounded like it was worth while taking our stroll today.

I’ve worked hard today

Mission accomplished. Time for a nap I think.

Well, that was all a bit exciting

After I had experienced the theft and then return of all my toys, beds and food, it was apparently time to settle in to my new home. I call it my new kennel but my parents insist it’s a home. In any case it is warm, comfy and very different to my previous kennel, sorry I mean home. For a start its on two levels and has these strange things called stairs. Lenny and I have wasted no time in chasing each other up and down these strange stair contraptions that take us to another place called “upstairs”.

Lenny and I also wasted no time in taking our parents out to explore the local area to try and sample the delights it has to offer. So it was that dad woke up with a beautifully executed beagle kidney pounce nice and early on the first full day and he was dispatched to make a cup of tea. We don’t want him slacking now, do we? Within a short time we were exploring the village and met a beagle who lived close by. He was very well behaved and wasn’t on a lead which was both surprising and disappointing. Surprising that he was well behaved and equally as disappointing that he wasn’t up to shenanigans. I suppose we will have to make up for his polite behaviour. Not yet however as we still had to scent where the local critters lived. We went down the road, across a road, up a road, across another road, under a bigger road, over the bridge, along another road and then found another road to walk along. All the while our noses were no more than 5 centimetres (that’s 1.9685 inches to old money aficionados) off the ground. We had to take in all the new smells that the village had to offer us. We had to be careful though as street lights were in different places to those we were used to and we found ourselves too regularly almost upon them. We returned home and rested whilst mum and dad did some unpacking of their belongings. Our stuff had already been unpacked and put away in cupboards, so it was good to see them get their priorities right. We went out a couple more times on the first full day and fell into our beds for a long lazy snooze. In fact I was so tired that I snoozed on Lenny’s bed which was a bit dangerous as he is a bit of a vampire. I think he was equally tired so didn’t bother trying to attack me.

Hope Lenny doesn’t notice!

The peace and tranquility was shattered on the first Sunday we were here however. We went out across the fields and were having a great time exploring and seeing new places to enjoy in the future. Suddenly Lenny was pulling and jerking on his lead whilst all the time baying at the top of his voice. Whatever could have possibly caused this commotion. As I looked up, there were seven Roe deer prancing through the field in front of us, maybe 100 yards away. It would have been rude of me if I hadn’t joined in the general commotion so I duly obliged mum and dad by doubling the volume of baying. I am not sure they were all that impressed as we were swiftly turned around and we walked a different path all the time listening to mum and dad muttering something about “why didnt we get Labradors or Poodles?” Then we went out on our final constitutional of the day and a fox must have wandered past the front of our home a short time before. We managed to bay, pull and jerk for the entire walk around the block whilst conveniently forgetting that we had “things” to do. We were quickly reminded of our duties however. Apparently it’s lucky we don’t have neighbours yet.

To be explored.

Then, during the week, we found the lane which leads to the path which leads to the pub which isn’t open yet. Mum and dad seemed happy to have found the path to the pub.

Lenny, that’s not the pub.

We have behaved ourselves really well so far, even if I do say so myself. There has been quite a bit of disruption to our daily routine. There has been so much unpacking and moving things about that we sometimes didnt know if we were coming or going. We haven’t yet been allowed out into our garden as the turf and soil need time to bed in apparently. It is tantalisingly out of reach for another week or so.

Garden racing will have to wait I suppose.