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.
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.
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.
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.
When we had lunched we took them to the Tower of London and sadly had to say goodbye.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think I will stay here as being just bored is better than being bored and soaked, needing a towelling down.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
We had a good walk this morning and then I saw that he got some extra kibble in his bowl. Not much, mind, but enough for me to notice. Apparently he’s on something called a “bit of a diet”. Anyway happy birthday little brother Lenny, I hope you’ve have a good day and I might even let you chew my ears as a treat. I suppose I had better let him say something.
Hello everyone it’s me Lenny. It’s my birthday apparently and I am something called three. It’s good being three as I got extra food in my bowl for my second half of breakfast and my dinner. I hope I get extra biscuits later before I am forced to go to bed. So, I am determined to enjoy myself today and, who knows, maybe tomorrow I will be four and get extra, extra food? What do you all mean it doesn’t work like that?
As I mentioned in a recent blog I have been struggling to find subjects to woof about. Maybe the pandemic has been going on for so long that my earlier windswept and interesting lifestyle has become staid and dull. I don’t know when this state of stupor will subside and I can go back to being wild eyed and footloose.
Anyway the Olympics have been on the tv and I have been watching some of the startling feats and abilities of some very talented humans and equines. I marvel at their feats and wonder at the stories of their endurance both through competing as well as the training in very challenging circumstances over the last eighteen months or so. Hugely technical tricks in the street BMX, pommel horse training in the back garden (whilst on Zoom call to the coach) and swimming as well as gym training at some unearthly hours to maintain fitness to retain a gold medal. All these activities take dedication and a fearsome will to win. I am not sure I have, or ever would have, these traits. I have a fearsome will to get treats or to beat Lenny at bitey face games, all the while running around the garden baying loudly. If there was an Olympic event of Beagle snout jousting, maybe I could enter.
I have also listened to some of the competitors say that they are going to take some time out for the sake of their own mental wellbeing. They feel as if they have the weight of the world upon their shoulders and it’s getting too pressured. I think this is a very brave thing to say. There is so much pressure put on some athletes nowadays that I am surprised more of them haven’t said they need to take a break earlier. When you have been at the top of your sport for years and years, you are unbeaten for a very long time and people are looking at you as the “Face of the Games” then the pressure mounts even more. Throw into the mix a pandemic, an extremely challenging and disrupted training schedule and general day to day family life, then I am in awe. To then hear people grumble and moan about the decisions which the athletes are taking is terrible. People who have probably never landed a double back somersault with pike on the vault or who have never swam under an hour for 100m breaststroke in the paddling pool in their garden. Truly awful to hear that people who have been fighting mentally and physically for years to achieve something that 99.9999999999% of people will never achieve, well its saddening. One of the athletes at the London Olympics recently took part in a documentary. She said that she was the “poster girl” for the Games, she was the archetypal “Face of the Games” and her face was all over magazines, billboards, transportation, murals etc and it piled so much pressure on her that she often wondered what would happen if she didn’t win gold. Thankfully for her she did win gold, and the pressure just lifted as soon as she crossed the line in the 800m final event. But for someone who has trained far beyond many peoples reasonable comprehension to have to think and worry about what will happen if I do not, or cannot perform AND WIN, is surely piling on pressure beyond reasonable limits. It is brave for people to speak up and say “wait a minute, I need to be mentally and physically right for this”.
I have a buddy on my twitter and his dad is going through a tough time at the moment. He was brave and told people “listen guys I am struggling so I am going to try and find help”. No one as far as I ma aware has been rude, nasty or condescending toward his admission that he wanted to find help. We all try to be supportive and help him see that he is loved by many and that he is important to many people. Sometimes it is difficult to find the right words to say but this doesn’t stop me from trying. Often I see that he has tweeted and many people have already responded with simple messages which we all hope he will read and find love and comfort in. A straightforward reply of “we are here to help you” or “You matter, you mean something to us” we hope can help. I’ve said it before on here but my nan always said that if you can’t say something nice then say nothing. The world is pressured enough as it is, people are struggling and maybe aren’t as mentally or physically tough as once thought. It used to be seen as a sign of weakness to admit that you need help. That’s wrong.
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?
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.
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.
I wanted to return to one of the recurring themes which has allowed me to write this blog and, hopefully, keep people interested in reading it.
As some of you may know I, along with many others, had a beagle friend called Fred who lived in Germany with his parents. Sadly Fred made his longest journey on 22nd January 2021 and there were a large number of people who were extremely upset, not least his parents. Within a few months of Freds farewell, his parents rescued a lost soul called Ignaz (subsequently called Sunny due to his happy demeanour). This is his story of safety, love and security. Thus far.
I spoke with Fred’s mum, auntie Cathy and I am very grateful for her help in writing this blog.
Ok, I am going to start with the sad part (sorry) about Fred. Please don’t cry too much. When Fred passed over the Rainbow Bridge, you were both obviously very sad. However did his passing ignite a desire within you to get a rescue or did you harbour a desire to get a rescue anyway?
When Fred died we were so broken, the grief was unbelievable! He had been my side kick for 12 years and I had no idea what to do without him. I had always wanted to rescue a lab beagle and we said that the next Beagle would be a rescue or a lab Beagle. But we didn’t think we would do it so soon. We just started researching who could help us and then we found http://laborbeaglehilfe.de and Sunny (previous name Ignaz) was on there with his brother and we enquired, never thinking we would be able to get him. We thought it would take months and months to find a rescue but as soon as we saw Sunny, and found out he was still available, we were smitten and really wanted to give him a forever home! It didn’t end my grief but it certainly brought the light back into our lives. Definitely. I wish Fred was here as well – he’d be teaching him all the bad habits. I had Fred from he was 12 weeks old but I always knew that I wanted a rescue at some point.
What processes did you have to go through in order to get Sunny? Did you meet him (Covid etc) before he arrived and how much did the rescue tell you of his past
The rescue process? We were looking for organizations that could help us and Klaus found laborbeaglehilfe and that was it. We saw Sunny and knew we had to try to give him his forever home. They are small but I think quite well known. We had a couple of very long phone calls with the rescue lady from http://laborbeaglehilfe.de where she asked about our experience with Beagles, where we lived, how often would he be alone, did we have a garden (we don’t!) and many other questions. We were then waiting for her decision and really hoping we could get him. We checked the website and saw that he had been moved to ‘reserved’ but we hadn’t heard anything. So then we were panicking that he was going to someone else! But thankfully not as we received confirmation that we had been successful.
We didn’t get to meet him until the day he arrived. I think it was mostly COVID that meant we couldn’t meet him first but also think they like to take them straight from the lab to their new home if possible. The ladies from the rescue came in first and checked out our house (and us too!). Then when they were happy they went outside and brought him in with another Beagle (Robin) to help him not be so nervous. We know he is from a lab that did medical testing but the rescue don’t tell you anything else – no testing details or location. They just said that this lab was one of the better ones in terms of the care they take with the dogs (apart from the horrendous testing obviously!). It’s scary to hear how much animal testing still goes on in Germany!
Were you expecting what walked through the door? Did you have expectations or pre-conceptions of Sunny and his behaviour?
When he arrived I sat on the floor and he came straight over to me which was great because we had no idea how he would be with people. He’s been very snuggly since day 1. The rescue people had us prepared for all the worst case scenarios. For instance that he wouldn’t come near us, that he wouldn’t be house trained, that he would jump on the table. However he was the opposite! Teaching him how to use stairs was the main thing but after 3 days he had it sussed and he’s now really confident with them. As for sleeping in an actual dog bed – forget it! He’s set foot in it once. Its only sofas and the big bed for this boy!
How did you approach the basics of showing him his new life?
He made great progress really quickly. Indeed his curiosity was stronger than his fear (most of the time). He’s such a sweet, funny little goof ball and it’s amazing to see his personality come out more and more. We were prepared for all the worst scenarios with him but he is so snuggly, well house trained and also has no interest in human food (unbelievable for a beagle!). We tried to get him into a routine as quickly as possible to help him feel safe and secure. Now he sits outside the kitchen in the morning impatiently waiting to go for his walk.
Did you speak to anyone else about taking on a lab beagle?
We didn’t speak to anyone about it. We just started looking, thinking that it would take a long time and suddenly he was almost here.
The house was so empty without a dog in it and we knew we could give a rescue a great life. It all happened really fast.
I have heard other people say that their dog who recently passed to the Rainbow Bridge had “sent” the current dog. Do you think Fred had something to do with Sunny?
I do think that he was ‘sent‘ by Fred. The day we heard we were getting Sunny, a Robin bounced across my path as I was running and I knew it was Fred telling me it was ok. We wanted a lab Beagle because it is something I am passionate about – ending animal testing. It was through following the Beagle Freedom Project that I came across the Twitter pack so it feels like it was meant to be!
Are you strict with him, given the possibility of his previous life being pretty awful?
We are not very strict with him. We figure he had a hard enough life and now he can enjoy the sofa and the big bed as much as he likes. We do make him sit and he is really good off the lead. We work with him on that so he is learning and getting good stimulation. Thankfully he is really keen to learn. We push him only if it’s things like going out for a pee etc. Really its to keep him to his routine but otherwise we are patient with him and let him make progress at his own pace.
What do you think are his best and worst habits?
His most endearing trait is his goofiness! He’s a bit a clown and falls over himself quite frequently. His one bad habit is he is a poop eater. Big time!
He has quite a nervous character so we have to watch him with loud noises and new things but his shaking episodes are not so frequent now. Recovery from trauma is not a linear process so we just take it day by day and if he has had a lot of stimulation and activity we will make sure he has a quiet day so he can process and recover.
He’s such a sweet boy – he really brought the life back into me after losing Fred. Life with no Beagle is not fun!
Thank you auntie Cathy. I think Sunny is in very safe hands and will learn that love and safety are now his for the rest of his days. He’s a very lucky beagle. And yes, life without a Beagle is no fun.