The land of scones, cream and jam

Having navigated our way through the first three days of our adventures in Cornwall, we awoke to the familiar sound of Lenny snoozing in his cave bed. Tea was made, we got our now normal stroll around the local area and we made ready for the shenanigans ahead.

Into the car and off we set. There seemed to be much trepidation from our parents regarding our destination for the day. Through streets and along lanes we travelled until we turned a sharp right just before a small fishing village called Mevagissey. We hardly had time to read the sign before the car stopped and we were harnessed. Welcome to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I looked at Lenny who looked back at me. We were sure that says Hooligan.

Once we had announced our arrival to one and all, we set off around the gardens which were lovely. Beautiful colours, wonderful shrubs and trees, quite a few other dogs and all the while there were scents everywhere. In some places the paths were quite steep but Lenny and I found our four-paw drive coped adequately. Our parents shoulders and arms did not cope so well with our attempts to investigate as much of the site as possible as quickly as possible.

We were getting a bit tired toward the end of the visit so we actually managed to walk quite nicely around the walled garden whilst smelling all the herbs, vegetables and fruit trees which were in blossom.

When we leapt back into our travel crates something strange happened as both Lenny and I fell asleep very quickly. So this was the plan of the parents. Tire us out like they did in the Lakes last September. And we had fallen for their ruse. We managed to get back to the holiday house for a short rest before returning to the pub for the early evening to “make sure it hadn’t closed”.

We awoke quite early and saw the sun was still shining. In fact the sun had been shining every day we were there, which was a bonus. After our morning constitutional we heard it muttered that “no car today because we are walking to Lands End”. Breakfast was taken and we readied ourselves for the fun times to come. Strolling through the village we went up some steps and then onto the South West Coast Path toward Lands End. The SWCP is actually a 630 mile path that runs from Minehead in North Somerset to Poole Harbour in south Dorset. We were walking a very short section of it which was lucky as, according to our parents, Lenny and I were already very pully. The path was well marked and thankfully dry so we made good progress, even past the wreck of RMS Mulheim which went aground in 2003 on rocks and broke up soon after.

Having made our way to Lands End itself we strolled about, checked out Longships Lighthouse which is about a mile offshore and then strolled about some more.

We decided against having our picture taken under the signpost which tells you how far you are from home, as it used to be free and now costs, according to a parent, too much and is a rip off. Instead we had our picture taken outside the little model pub.

It was decided that we would stroll back and get an ice cream on the way. Lenny and I looked forward to this as we had never had ice cream before. Sadly when we returned to Sennen Cove it became apparent that the ice cream wasn’t for us, only for the parents so we had to make do with some biscuits. The ice cream was apparently very nice however. We wandered reluctantly back up the hill to the holiday house at which time Lenny and I were to be found flaked out on our beds snoozing away for the rest of the late afternoon. Just for a change we went to the pub to make sure the beer was still good.

Our last full day dawned bright and cheerful. We managed to lift our weary bodies out of our beds for a final assault on enjoying ourselves. Having taken our morning bimble we returned, ate breakfast and made ourselves ready. Today we were going to do some culture and history. There is a place called Chysauster, which is near Penzance. It’s an ancient village so is pretty much a ruin now, but still very interesting as we found out. It was originally constructed about 2,000 years ago and was populated by people who were predominantly farmers. The walls of some of the houses remain but thats about it as the roofs were probably made from wood and thatch so degraded many years ago.

It had been undiscovered until the late Victorian era when an archeologist decided to excavate and see what was there. Apparently these types of settlement are only found in Cornwall and the west of England. Even Lenny and I found it interesting and it wasn’t a strenuous finish to our last full day in Cornwall. On our way back to the holiday house we decided to sleep soundly. We were rudely awakened to find ourselves in the middle of a cleaning mission by our parents before, unsurprisingly, we went to the pub “just to finish off the week”.

Lenny saying goodbye to Sennen Cove on our last full day.
Cheerio Sennen Cove

We had a great time and can recommend it to people. You’ll need a car though as many places are quite far apart and off the well trodden paths and roads. The sun shone and we enjoyed ourselves. In fact we slept for the following two days after we had returned home, so it must have been fun.

Cream or jam first

Wow, where do I start? Somewhat later than I would have liked I can put paw to paper and tell you about one of the biggest adventures Lenny and I have ever had.

This particular Saturday dawned the same as pretty much every Saturday morning recently. One thing was different though. We were awake early, and I had seen some travel bags and dog items being put into the car the previous night. Ok, thats two things but beagles only ever count treats. Along the lane we walked so we could get some scents and do what we had to do. After a while we turned around and wandered back towards home. We were fed whilst the rest of the holiday items were put into the car. Then it was our turn as we were loaded into our travel crates and off we went.

Time seemed to pass really slowly at first as we wound our way around the lanes and minor roads toward the road that would take us, who knew where? Time to stop and stretch our paws and then off on our merry way once more. Two more stops including one when I reminded the parents that it was biscuit o’clock, and we found ourselves winding our way down a narrow country lane. As the boot was opened the smell of sea air filled our noses. Where were we, this wasn’t the normal beach we frequent and we are allowed to eat dead washed up sea creatures. We strolled down a slope toward a strange house, with a strange outlook toward a strange beach. Ensconced behind a door we watched as the contents of the car were unloaded among much grumbling about most of the “stuff being for Dex & Lenny”. Everyone was a bit fatigued by the time we had arrived and decided to adjourn to the pub to “see what it is like”. We were somewhere called Sennen Cove, in the far west of Cornwall. No wonder it took so long to get here.

As we awoke on our first full day, I poked my nose around the curtains to find the same scenery as yesterday when we arrived. We went for a short walk so we could get some scents and explore a bit. Back to the house and it was decided that we should go for a stroll around the coastal path to the next beach which was dog friendly and sounded exotic. It is called Gwynver and off we went. More avid readers will recall that I tend to pull and mess about on lead when I get excited for new scents and new places. The walk around the coastal path lived up to expectations with steep paths, steep drops and the associated huffing and puffing from an exasperated parent. We got to the top of the cliff at Gwynver and looked down to the beach. When I say looked down I mean down. The path was steep and rocky which prompted more worry and concern at the level of my impatience to walk quickly. With the path down navigated very slowly and carefully we strolled across the beach and rocks all the while ensuring that everyone who was there knew Lenny and I had arrived.

We made sure we saw all there was to see and then walked onwards towards another path and home. We’d been out for ages and the parents were feeling a bit tired. Dad went off to get supplies at the local shop and after a rest at the house, we went to the pub for the evening to “check it out again”.

This sea air was making me tired. I saw the Lenny was starting to sleep in longer too, although he sleeps like a log anyway. In any case as we awoke on the second full day on holiday, we took the now familiar stroll around the local area so we could smell rabbits and try to pull our respective parents into the nettles and brambles lining the path. Breakfast was taken and it was time to go out. Lenny and I were told that there would be lots of travelling today so we had to be good. Red rag to a bull comes to mind. Along the road past Lands End we turned right, left, right and left, went down hill and uphill until we arrived at a place called Minack. We were warned again that we HAD to behave here. We duly greeted the ladies on the entry booth of the Minack Theatre in our customary beagle manner. Minack Theatre is a wonderful place. It’s a theatre perched on the edge of the cliff on the southern part of Cornwall. The backdrop is the Atlantic Ocean.

Lenny and I were in awe until we realised we were still in Cornwall. The seats and steps were very steep which caused more consternation as to my alleged penchant for pulling on the lead.

We strolled down the steps, took to the stage, gave a performance worthy of an Oscar, made people smile at my antics and then strolled back up the steps again. It was lovely and we really enjoyed it all. Back in the car we wondered where we would go next. All the lanes seem really narrow and we were driving carefully around corners under we reached a place called Mousehole. Now, I don’t think its called Mousehole as many people called it Mowsull. Also we didn’t see any mice and there weren’t any holes.

It’s a very pretty small fishing village to the west of Newlyn and it is very touristy. We weren’t allowed on the beach so we enjoyed ourselves walking around more little narrow lanes. Duly loaded back into the car we set off for our last destination of the day, Penzance, so dad could post a card, take a picture of a pub and we could get a longer walk along the promenade. We walked along said promenade and made our presence known to the people at the little coffee shop doing a good trade in the early summer sun.

Having then walked and pulled our way around the lanes and seen St Michaels Mount, we returned to the car for the journey back to the holiday house. Just for a change we went to a different pub in the evening, again to “check it out”. Lenny and I just slept.

We awoke to the sound of dad making a cup of tea for mum, who was poring over a map to locate the next stop on our adventure. After we had lifted our weary bodies out of bed, and mum and dad had walked us around the local area, we got into our travel crates for the shenanigans ahead. Usually Lenny is a bit wary of the travel crate but he realised that fun was on the cards and positively leapt in and made himself comfy. We made our way to Perranporth on the north coast of Cornwall. Mum had seen some pictures of her parents here many years ago and had wondered what it was like now. Well, she was finding out exactly what it was like. Warm and sunny with a dog friendly beach.

We wandered and strolled about the town and even managed a visit to the nice sandy beach.

Saying goodbye to the beach, it was back into the car and off to somewhere shrouded in myth and legend. We drove down more winding country lanes and were duly deposited at a place called Tintagel. Lenny and I knew this is where King Arthur lived and we hoped we would be able to explore his castle. We were not disappointed as we walked across bridges, saw dilapidated castles, steep cliff and the water crashing on the rocks below. This was great fun as we explored, climbed onto lofty perches, nosed about amongst rocky outcrops and had our picture taken far too many times.

Then, for the last time on the day, we leapt into our travel crates whilst we were driven back to our holiday house. We managed to drag ourselves to the pub to “make sure it was still alright” although we really just slept and dreamed about our adventures.

In fact I am so tired now, I will finish my stories of adventures soon.

So, there I was.

Five years ago today I was hauled unceremoniously out of my bed at some unearthly hour of the morning to be brusquely advised “Come on, we need to do a good early walk as we are off on an adventure”.

The Buckinghamshire hills

Off we went on our merry way, along the hedgerow so I could scent the critters who had spent their evening tucked away safely. We returned home far too early for my liking and I was loaded into the car and warned to “Be good”. Soon upon the first motorway we were whizzing along. We then arrived on the second motorway and seemed to be travelling for ages when we left for the normal roads and I was told to shush as they had to concentrate on where we were going. Around the lanes, across the cross roads, turning left, right then left and the car stopped. As the boot was opened the glorious sound of over a thousand beagles met my ear drums and I couldn’t help but sing the song of the breed.

We had arrived at the Beagle World Record event in Macclesfield near Manchester and my parents had kept it secret from me and, it appears from a large number of my friends. We saw our buddies straight away and again I had to greet them all in typical beagle fashion.

Then the main event arrived. We knew we had to walk around a course of about a mile to try and break the largest dog walk by a single breed. All the humans had to wear a little tracking device which showed that they had walked us around the course. We didnt know how many beagles were there, but we knew there were plenty. We knew we were up against formidable opponents as it had been Yorkshire Terriers somewhere in Mexico that currently held the record at 783 (thats a lot of Yorkies!). Anyway off we trotted around the course, through the wood, alongside the lake, through the other wood and thence back to the finish line. As we crossed the line the humans made sure their trackers were registering and then we were allowed to have fun and play. I got a certificate to say I had taken part and in lieu of us beating the record it was filled in with my name. We knew we had to wait for a while until all the beagles had been counted and the numbers verified. We wouldn’t know that day so we strolled about some more and then made our weary way back down the motorways and home.

World Record holder

A few months passed until it happened. We all got notified that we had done it. I was one of 1,029 beagles that had walked around the course. I am a world record holder. That sounds quite good to me. And I had fun too, with loads of my buddies, so thats even better.

This isn’t quite the Christmas present we wanted

Off to the vet I went yesterday. My leg isn’t getting any better and the current trial of pills to try and alleviate my ailments isn’t working. After the ignominy of being starved from 10 pm the night before I was taken to the local vet orthopaedic centre so I could be examined, prodded and poked. All the while I would be away with the fairies, sleeping and dreaming of squirrels to chase. The vet said that my stifle (knee) looked very swollen and I was in pain. He looked at the X-Rays and told us that there was a problem which needed fixing.

The outcome is that I am going to have an operation to repair my right cruciate. The operation is a Tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) and involves the vet opening up my leg, doing some alterations to my bone and ligaments and then sewing me back up again. Apparently I won’t feel a thing until I come round and then hopefully come home the following day. Then its rest, more rest and then some rest to make sure I have rested enough. Also I will get some physio and maybe hydrotherapy to assist in my recovery. There are tails (see what I did there!) that the operation is fairly quick and successful so I am confident that I will be back up and running quite quickly after I have been diced and sliced.

It’s not quite the present we wanted this year but I will hopefully be in a better place early next year once the operation and recovery are complete. I will let you all know how I get on. I might even let Lenny take over my blogging whilst I am recuperating.

In the meantime I think there might be some turkey which I need my begging eyes for.

My Anniversary

On 19th December 2013 I was safe. I had been adopted and found a good home which was warm, dry and had two people who were prepared to do their utmost to give me a good life. Essentially everything that I needed. I had no idea what Christmas meant and looked quizzically at the green tree covered with lights, in the corner of the room but I knew I was safe.

Now I have been here for nine years and I have gained a brother, been on so many adventures and got too many friends to mention. I now realise that it is Christmas and every other celebration every day.

It’s my Gotcha Day which, for a rescue, is the most important day in our life.

I may have suffered some fur fade, and one of my legs may not be playing nicely at the moment, but I am safe and loved. That is the most important thing.

The travails of age

I’ve been struggling recently as age is catching up with me in its many and varied disguises. I have not been on here as much as I would have liked as there are issues with my health that needed dealing with first.

As the avid reader will be aware I am a rescue dog and no one really knows how old I am. My chip says 2010 but that doesn’t necessarily mean I was less than a year old when it was put in my shoulder. When people ask, they are told I am “about 12 and a half”. I may be older however.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago it was noticed that I had started to wander about and stare into space, as if I had seen or heard something. There wasn’t actually anything there. I would be staring at a wall or an empty chair. I sat looking at the door in the utility which is the normal escape route for our escapades and shenanigans, however I was staring at the hinged edge of the door despite having been out of it hundreds of times. One of my assistants wandered past and I never even noticed him standing directly in front of me. I have been scratching my right ear far too regularly and to such an extent that I had cut the inside with my toe nail. I have been hearing sounds that I had never reacted to before and, equally, been silent to previously reactive things. I didn’t notice any of the fireworks this year which is strange as I normally try to hide behind a chair or dig holes in the carpets around the house. Certain sounds that I was hearing were making me anxious to such an extent that I was being ill. My brother kept on sniffing either side of my face as if he can tell that there is something not quite right which is true, as he normally sniffs me before biting my ears. Combined with this is the arthritis in my scar leg and I am, in the words of my parents, a “bit of a mess” at the moment. I had the shakes in my leg, and I wasn’t putting it down on walks, even though the said walks are getting shorter it seems by the day. The muscle is wasting away because I cannot use the leg as much as I would like to.

I went off to the vet to see what they said. Apparently I had quite a bad ear infection which may have been the cause of me not sleeping properly, scratching my ear and hearing some sounds and not others. Drops are being liberally applied to said ears. Of course I am going deaf with my age. My eyesight is also waning so I am starting to stare at more things more often, if you see what I mean. My leg is arthritic and even though I am on medication daily now, it isn’t getting any better. There is a physio option for me which will be discussed when I go back to the vet. The pain relief quantities have been increased so I can hopefully grumble less in my sleep. I heard my parents speaking today about the difference in the muscle tone of my rear legs. The rear left is strong whilst the muscle on the right has pretty much wasted away and my hip bone shows a bit more. My walks are becoming shorter and shorter as I am struggling with the lack of mobility in my leg which, in turn, means I don’t exercise it. My brain still seems bright and my senses are somewhat strong. Each time I see a squirrel, smell a deer or I am aware of a cat, I still try to chase after them baying as I go. This clearly doesn’t do my leg much good as I strain at the harness. I am off to the vet again tomorrow for a check up and see what can be done, if anything, to alleviate my current malaise. I will let people know how I get on.

Please look out for us as we do depend on our parents. This isn’t a sympathy post today. I wanted to purely place in words that we do get old, we do get wobbly and we do need our people to look out for us and make sure we are living as comfortably as possible. You are our lives, we rely on you for so much throughout our lives.

In other news, dad put up the Christmas tree yesterday.

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?
: 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.