Same breed? Really?

It has recently become more obvious, to me at least, that Lenny and I are very different.

We have been going on our walks and meeting various other four legged pals around the village. We have some new buddies called Bear and Loki who are a Chocolate Labrador and a Caucasian Ovtcharka respectively. At this point you may need to look up Loki’s breed as I am not sure how to describe him, apart from fun, large and boisterous. Bear is a big lad and a friendly happy dog to boot. I don’t mind happy pals and I’m content to try and play rough house with them, albeit whilst shackled to one of my parents. Loki is only four months old but is already twice my size and twice my weight at thirty kilos. He is going to be an even bigger lad than Bear. In any case, I met both Bear & Loki yesterday and I was quite happy to see them. Fast forward to this morning and Lenny is out for his stroll with dad. As they turn the corner of the road, Bear & Loki are coming toward Lenny. He sounded the alarm immediately and tried to hide behind dad when Loki came to say hello. The fur near his tail was raised and Loki’s mum gently put Loki back on the lead. Lenny doesn’t like boisterous dogs, either puppies or adult. Yet he is quite happy to be boisterous with me, as can be seen from previous blogs where we spend the majority of our waking hours have extended snout jousting in the garden. Yet he meets Bear and Loki and retreats behind his human for safety. We are still trying to work out the difference between rough housing with me and with other pals.

That’s just one example. Another occurred yesterday when Lenny watched a squirrel run across the road ahead. He stood and watched a squirrel, without a sound, without a leg quiver as it scampered left to right, five metres ahead of him. I would have been doing an impressive impression of the Town Crier if the tree rat had been in front of me. Now, whether he knew he couldn’t get to it or he was just stunned to see one, I don’t know. I will be having words with him though.

Finally, for the time being, I submit the following evidence that my brother is a strange sort. He has just had his dinner and is now curled up snoring in the cave bed you see in this picture. He likes to be covered and have the sunlight removed so he can snooze. I actually wonder if this confirms my fear that he is a vampire.

Compare that to this picture where I cannot handle being covered in any way, preferring instead to remain in the sun, with merely a blanket and a throw to keep me comfy.

I have never liked being covered by blankets or have clothes put on me. Only if its freezing cold or pouring rain will I reluctantly allow a jacket of some description to be attached to me. Sometimes I am not sure he’s even a beagle.

Strange boy my brother.

That wasn’t my idea of a big day

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 wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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.

In conversation

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.

End of times

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.

I hope it gets more exciting.

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.

Gotcha

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.

I’m the handsome one on the left.

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.

Safe. It’s the best.

That is the best day with the best feeling.

We only went and did it again.

The week after we had shown Raffa and her mum around London, we were asked most politely to show some more pals around the capital. Lucy lived in the US. Arizona to be exact. Her mum and dad were in the UK travelling and seeing all sorts of wonderful places as well as many friends who live here. It was our pleasure to be the final furry pals on their trip in December 2019.

We had another early start on 8th December to make sure we got to the station on time. On this occasion Lenny was up with the game and knew what we were doing. We’d only just recovered from the previous weekends shenanigans with Raffa but we made sure we had best bib and tucker on for this latest expedition.

Pfft, the smelly tube.

We arrived in London, alighted at Barbican and strolled down Aldersgate Street towards St Pauls Cathedral. We announced our arrival in the usual beagle fashion and made auntie S and uncle J laugh at our antics. The day had started well. We tried to show them things that were a little off the beaten track and that visitors wouldn’t normally get to see. We wandered through Postmans Park, went around the back lanes to Spitalfields via the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange.

Some of the brave people in Postmans Park (with a strange dog)

We strolled, chatted and showed them around. I aroooed at some police horses and the lady riders laughed as I was so loud that it reverberated through the empty streets. We were doing the breed proud as we marched on.

Arooooo!

When we had lunched we took them to the Tower of London and sadly had to say goodbye.

Me and Lenny with auntie S

We had fun again that day, our paws ached and we slept most of the way home on the all stations tube journey.

When they come for another visit hopefully we will be able to show them other places.

Rainy days and Tuesdays

I suppose I am lucky to live here. Safe, secure and loved I live in a nice house which is warm and dry. Looking out at the weather for the past couple of days, I am very fortunate.

I know it’s winter here in the UK so there will be wind and rain but, come on, that’s two storms one quickly after the other and it’s not even Christmas. My garden is flooded in places and the paths through the woods that usually contain some great scents are now muddy slides with added slippery leaves on the surface which make for fun viewing as one or the other parent goes sliding around. You need four paw drive dad, just like Lenny and I.

Early morning before the rain sets in

We walk earlier in the morning at the moment so we have predominantly missed the worst of the rain over the last few days. We have also been walking the lanes so as to avoid the muckier sections of woodland paths which we normally enjoy. I knew my parents were mean to us by not allowing us to mess about in the mud. No that it matters much as the verges are soft and often I find myself wading through puddles up to my elbows. Lenny on the other hand avoids walking through puddles for fear of getting his paws wet. Strange boy.

He’s bored. Dry but bored.

We are restricted to quick garden excursions between the rain so we can do our business and then return to the safety and security of a sofa each, all the while with a human leg to snooze against. We are pretty bored to be honest but that pales into insignificance when we look outside and see the rain lashing against the windows. Also it is dark and dreary so this suppresses our need for running around like a couple of crazed hounds, so our parents are fairly pleased.

Go away rain. I need to do things.

I think I will stay here as being just bored is better than being bored and soaked, needing a towelling down.

What to say?

I have been remiss once more on the blogging front. I can only say that it has been busy around here and, as a result of our being occupied, there hasn’t been much to report.

As summer turns to autumn, we notice that the leaves are turning brown as we go on our walks, the winds rise and the rain becomes more frequent. The times of our walks are changed according to whether our parents are going to get soaked to the skin or not. No thought or consideration about Lenny or I getting bedraggled I notice. Having said that we are seeing that Lenny doesn’t like walking in the rain, nor does he like walking through puddles. This is strange as that doesn’t seem very beagle to me and I don’t understand him. I like to scour the hedges and roadside verges for critters and scents whilst Lenny seems happiest in the open areas so, again a strange boy. We went field walks over the weekend and he seems to have mastered the art of looking handsome and noble. Ok, treats were involved but I am proud of my tutoring.

Noble hound

We have revisited our good walk to the top of Chanctonbury Ring which affords us some lovely views over the surrounding countryside. We couldn’t go too far as there were cows grazing and I don’t do too well with cows to be honest. I tend to yell at them so the prospect of being chased around a hilltop by three quarters of a ton of ruminant isn’t particularly appealing.

Lenny looking out for cows

I have thankfully recovered from my visit to the vets to have my teeth cleaned. I am not sure I have wholly forgiven my parents for tricking me into going there. Yet. I am back on proper food and I can still pull and jerk on the lead so I am feeling fine.

We are not looking forward to Guy Fawkes Night in a couple of days time. I despise fireworks and I always shiver and try to dig holes in the carpet to escape the sonic cacophony which erupts. I am hoping that it won’t be as bad this year as we have moved house and no longer live within two hundred metres of the local football club whose display was enormous and very scary for Lenny and myself. We shall see what transpires but we know we will be safe in the house and the television will probably be turned up far too loud to try and drown out any explosions.

It’s a busy life being a beagle, I seem to have something and nothing to do at the same time. I’m off for a lay down.

Hopefully I can report some more exciting shenanigans soon.

It’s creeping up on me, I think.

I went to leap up onto a bed this morning. In the process of making myself ready to launch my form onto the soft mattress with a duvet cover smothered in beagle glitter, I was seen to hesitate and then make a double movement to reach the giddy heights of the bed. I just made it. I have not hesitated before and it made my dad feel a little sad.

He watched as I settled carefully onto the middle of the bed, looked out of the window and sighed gently as I rested.

I can still do it. Just.

Happy times

I’ve been blogging about sad subjects recently. In order to redress the balance I thought I would see what I was doing five years ago today. It seems like I was enjoying life and being on holiday in the Lake District in the UK.

It was my first trip, my first holiday if you will. We had sat in the car in a seemingly never ending queue of traffic along the motorways. When we arrived it was dark and I didn’t realise the beauty of the area until the following day.

Brotherswater. Stunning.

For a beagle or, I suspect any dog, the Lakes are a wonderful and magical kingdom of scents and sights. I went to Patterdale, at the lower end of Ullswater, for a week. We explored so many places that I could hardly take it all in.

I could get used to this.

It was fantastic.