On Thursday last week I overheard that it was going to be a “big day” on Friday for me. I went to bed with a smile on my face and wondered what I was going to get up to.
Friday arrived and I had my same walk with dad in the morning. We returned home with the rest of the day ahead of us. The excitement built, and then fell, as lunch passed without incident. Lenny and I had our tea at the normal time and still it didn’t seem to be much of a “big day”. As time marched on toward Biscuit O’Clock I suddenly found myself being harnessed and I was leaving the house for another walk. Maybe this was the “big” part of the day? Along the High Street, past the small store and down towards the bottom end of the village I ventured with dad. As soon as we reached the end of the street, we turned up the little steps and I was presented with a view of a door. Sadly the door led to the vet. I had been tricked. Hoodwinked! It was time for my annual check up. According to my dad, it was a check up from the neck up.
The nice vet lady asked me to sit on the scale and made note of my weight. She looked at my pearly whites, felt my ribs and tummy and listened to my heart with a stethoscope.
Then it started; the divulgence of information on my recent bodily habits. Thanks dad! I didn’t authorise any of the details to be made public so I sat there looking embarrassed whilst he told the vet all my innermost secrets. I have been having tummy troubles recently. I had a few days after Christmas Day when I struggled to keep food in my body. This seemed to clear up after three days and all went along as expected. Then it all seemed to start again. I was visiting my garden about four times a night for a few days and then making numerous visits another 4-5 times a day. As a result I was starved for 24 hours to make sure it wasn’t a parasite or other nasty creature. When I went back to food, I noticed that there were certain items missing from my diet, such as fish tiddlers and gravy bones. My food was predictably bland, consisting of tasty kibble and tasty chicken. Sorry, I meant to say boring kibble and boring chicken. I was still being watched pretty much all the time just in case I had an accident in the house. Unfortunately the revised diet and 24 hour starve didn’t seem to have the desired effect and I have been somewhat under the weather.
As a result of my entire biological history being divulged to the vet I managed to avoid getting a jab in my behind, at least for a few days. I am having some antibiotic tablets, that I apparently know nothing about, in my food. The gravy bone supply has completely dried up. My food has been bland, dull and extremely boring for the last two weeks or so. The vet lady said I didn’t seem to be too bad when she was examining me. Just because I was wagging my tail, arooing at her and not listening to dad when I was told sit, I am not sure what gave it away. I thought this means I am being a beagle. One good thing to come out of it all is this though. Dad has to collect some “samples” from me when we are out on our walk so I get to try and run rings around him, tangling my leads. That’ll teach him for giving the vet all my personal details. I am going back on Tuesday for another check up. If I am better then I fear the javelin in my feathery behind.
I think I am just getting older and my body is changing. I cannot tolerate as many foods as I could a few years ago. I knew this time was coming and I am, of course, taking it all in my stride without complaint. I will eat my kibble and chicken without grumbling. I know that I am still here and I am, overall in good order and condition. I will have to try not to listen to Lenny crunching on tasty biscuits whilst I am on bland kibble. I shall soldier on, as always.
There is a scurrilous rumour going around that beagles think only of their stomachs and then complain that they haven’t eaten in all of fifteen minutes. This is a shocking allegation.
It struck me again today that Lenny and I are extremely lucky to have so many buddies around the world that we can rely on to make us laugh, cry and feel wanted. Throughout the recent past we have retained our friendship with so many of our pals, despite a worryingly large number making their final journey. For this we are very grateful and truly humbled. We also see that there are quite a few pals who parents sometimes struggle to come to terms with life in general and more often the day to day things that they have to do. We have a close knit community amongst the friends and, as we have mentioned before, we always try to make sure that if someone is struggling mentally or emotionally (is there a difference?) we can be there with a word of encouragement or gentle virtual hug. Sometimes we think it may not make any difference however we hope that it will. I think that may be the operative word here, hope. We know that we cannot be by our friends sides 24 hours a day so we are, kind of, relying on a simple act or word of kindness or thoughtfulness, to make them feel better about themselves. Albeit it is a brief interlude in their darkening thoughts however our hope remains steadfast.
We also know that just by us being us we can lighten a load upon some people. From experience Lenny and I are aware that we sometimes make our parents proud as well as a little more fulfilled in their lives. They look at us curled up on the sofa, the chairs, the big bed, maybe sometimes even our own designated beds and they cannot help but give us a tickle, a belly rub or stroke our long soft ears to make them feel happier. As rescues we know they have done the most important thing for us so, I suppose, its only incumbent upon us to allow them to give us tickles and belly rubs. Food is also welcome of course. Oops I wasn’t going to mention that, was I?
The world can be a terrible place sometimes what with the war, arguments, politics, racism, famine, pandemics, arguments about the pandemic and general malcontent of large swathes of the population. If we can help to alleviate even a little of that dark cloud then maybe, just a little, we have worked our magic on you and made you feel more worthwhile and valued. After all what else is there for us to do?
What’s that Lenny, it’s time for some snacks. Great, lead the way.
I am a beagle, you may have noticed. This will be my eighth Christmas with my parents so I have had plenty of practice in extracting love and food from them. Or so you would think. Beagles are renowned for having bottomless stomachs, hollow legs and probably the most expressive and irresistible eye contact. I am no different and I am certainly trying to teach Lenny to be equally as persuasive with his peepers.
I’ve been a bit unwell recently and there have been days and nights where a number of trips to the garden have been needed to avoid indoor accidents with significant clean up required. The parents were concerned over the food I was eating and wondering if it was one thing or a combination so dad was taken with taking me outside in the garden whenever I needed to. He felt a bit foolish when, on the only occasion I wasn’t attached to the lead at 03.30, I forgot what I was supposed to be in the garden for and started baying at the top of my lungs at all the lovely scents. Seeing him chase me around trying to quieten me was amusing.
The worst thing was having all treats removed from my diet. The best thing was that I went onto a chicken, rice and potato diet. I love chicken. Anyway the guilty food source appears to have been located and removed from my diet. It seems simply that as I am getting older my metabolism is changing and I cannot accommodate certain foods in the same way as when I was younger. Also I am not quite sure how the parents have managed it, however I am being fed delicious chicken at the same time as Lenny is being fed his normal food. He does cast the odd envious look at my food bowl but I ignore him as my face is usually busy and he cannot get his muzzle near my food. Anyway dad usually stands guard when we are eating so Lenny will be growled at if he makes a sideways movement toward me. Having said all of that Lenny eats his food like he’s never going to get any more. He inhales his food. He’s not quite up to Labrador speed of consumption but he’s nimble even for a beagle. I haven’t had any emergency trips to the garden over the past few days so it seems I have settled down again. Lenny seems to have become more aware of my desire to exist in a quieter place sometimes. We still practice our bitey face shenanigans but we break off and then shake at each other more readily.
The change of food on my part as well as my beagleness have allowed me to practice the use of “the eyes” on the parents. They are aware of the visual pleading tendencies. They have also cheated by telling one another that Lenny and I have had breakfast, treats, dinner or supper biscuits. This is grossly unfair as we cannot take advantage of one parent over the other.