I have briefly taken over Dexter’s blog to introduce myself. I had better hurry along before he notices that I have borrowed his computer.
Here goes. I was found as a stray in Cyprus. The people that found me said I was a stray on the streets. I went to the municipal pound who then phoned the nice Cyprus Beagle people. Anyway it only matters that I was found and rescued by Cyprus Beagles. I wasn’t in rescue in Cyprus long before I got a plane ride and found myself in the UK looking for a new home with a family to watch over me and make sure I have a life full of fun, direction and treats. I must not forget treats.
When Dexter and his mum and dad came to see me, I had no idea who they were but I could see straightaway that Dex is a good lad with a kind heart. I introduced him to my friends and we played a while in the garden. We went out for a walk whilst the humans chatted about things and I introduced Dex to the local park. I told him I hadn’t long been in the rescue lady’s house but I knew the park well. Dex and his parents left fairly soon after arriving and to be honest I went back to playing with my buddies. It was only when I was put into the car the following Saturday did I wonder what was happening. I was on the motorway and we were going somewhere new.
We arrived at Dexter’s house, went in and I immediately ran out into the garden, with Dex in hot pursuit. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. This was great, there were flowerbeds, grass, trees, hedges, a log store and a shed. There was even a gravel patch. Wow. Just wow. I raced around at breakneck speed with Dex, trying to take in all the sights and smells. All the while he wanted to know who I am and where I was from. It felt like we didn’t have time to relax on the lawn so I just whizzed about, enjoying myself. Then the ladies that brought me here said goodbye and told me to be a good boy. And they were gone! I was here, in a new house with new people and a new friend. I had no idea what was going on so I raced around the garden a bit more. This was all new to me, and to Dex as well. He was a little confused at this new young tearaway suddenly arriving in his house and disrupting his routine. It was a lovely sunny day so we spent a large amount of time in the garden, mainly engaged in play fighting and bitey face games.
Only when we were both sufficiently tired did we retire to the living room and took the chance to have a nap, before commencing bitey face again. These extensive sessions of play fighting would be a recurring theme for a while, unfortunately. When it came to bedtime, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that I had a bed all to myself with blankets and even a cushion base. Dex had the grace to show me which bed was mine. What a good fur.
When I awoke early the next morning I had to check around me to see if this was happening. Indeed it was real as there was Dex in his bed sleeping away with his leg hanging out of his bed. This was a sight I would have to get used to. I thought it might be fun to wake him up, however this proved to be a bad idea. He was already awake. Not only did we start play fighting but it also woke up Dexters mum and dad who weren’t best pleased with the early morning beagle alarm. At this point I can only confirm what Dexter said in his blog about the water spray bottle being wielded precisely by mum and dad. We were both soaked quickly. It was effective though, as we stopped for a while. I had a walk in the afternoon with Dex and he showed me one of his favourite walks in the fields behind his house. This was fun. I could get used to this. In fact, I have got used to it.
The first week went by in a flash to be honest. It was all new to me what with a routine that was being implemented and new things I needed to learn. In amongst all the routine and rules, Dex & I were squabbling for considerable periods and this was causing mum and dad to become worried. We were new to this “living together” lark and we didn’t know what we were supposed to be doing. Dex had been an only child for the first 5 years in his house, and I came from a background with no real system, routine or rules. Both Dex & I heard the humans speaking to the ladies who had delivered me. There was concern in their voices and I think the travel crate was in the car ready for my return. Maybe this was the reality check I needed. I could see they wanted me to settle, to succeed in making this my home and to enjoy life with a new brother. Both Dex & I could see that we needed to change something, but what?
The following day Dex and I were in the garden. We started play fighting and the water bottle didn’t make an appearance. We must have gone on for an hour or so and only when it got a little heated did either mum or dad step in. However no water bottle at first. We were letting off steam, sorting out our differences if you like or clearing the air. When we went a little too far in the play fighting and the water spray did appear. Eventually we both relaxed on the grass, albeit some way apart from one another.
Gradually there seemed to be a better understanding of the routine. As each day passed I got more of an idea that there are meal times, down times, training and walks. At the end of the second week, there was another phone call and this time the tone was better. Once they had finished the call, I got tickles and back scratches from mum and dad who also told Dex and I that we are now brothers so we had better start behaving nicely. I was staying. Excellent news. We looked at each other and knew it was up to us now to make it work. Dex had been at this stage before, he told me, and he didn’t want to mess this up for me.
When we were out on walks together we would be alongside each other for a while until one of us got a scent and went on our merry way individually. I was pulling on the lead and harness trying to copy what Dex was doing, where he was going and what he was smelling in the hedgerows and fields. Apparently this couldn’t go on so it was decided that I would be walked separately to Dex and I was also to get some training in the garden and local roads, where there are fewer distractions. I have been booked on some training sessions which, apparently, I am going to enjoy. It seems that one beagle who pulls a lot is quite sufficient in this house.
I am three weeks into this new adventure, I am settling down and the routine is becoming more like normality. Dex and I still get to play in the garden and house, but we are also becoming accustomed to each other. We have proven, thus far, that we can live with each other. I have a great chance to make sure this is my forever home and I don’t want to mess it up. Dex is a good fur and an excellent brother. Hopefully I won’t let him down. His mum and dad are now my mum and dad. I feel loved and wanted so all is good.
I will update further when I get a chance to borrow his computer. In the meantime I’m going to try and be a good brother to Dex. Wish me luck.
It was a Friday, I remember. The 19th of April 2019. “Come on”, said mum and dad, “we’re off somewhere new for an adventure”. Into the car and around the motorway we went. Indeed this was somewhere new. Somewhere called Essex. When we arrived in somewhere new called Essex, I wandered into a new house and was immediately let off the lead. Suddenly, out of nowhere, 7 beagles, a Jura Hound and 2 Dachshunds were onto me, arooing and barking. What was this, I wondered. It was like a maelstrom of tails and fur. I wasn’t complaining as it looked like fun but I was becoming tired after a while. Some time later I was reshackled and we wandered around the nearby park with one of the beagles that had originally assailed me. We didnt really pay much attention to one another as there were many sniffs to take in. One of the Dachsunds came along as well so we kept on waiting for him to catch up. He had little legs. Mum and dad did plenty of talking and then we left the lady who lived there. We came home and it was back to normality. Or was it?
A week later on Saturday 27th April – day 1
It was a week later on a Saturday and I wondered if there was something wrong. You see, I don’t usually get a double parent walk at the weekend. However today they were both anxious to make sure I was out and about quite early. Having returned from my walk, I resumed snoozing until there was a knock at the door to my house. I wanted to ensure that the intruders knew who’s home it was, but I was immediately told to sshhh. How rude, I thought. The front door was closed and the door to the kitchen opened. I saw that one of the beagles who I had met the week before was standing in my kitchen. It was the same beagle who had walked with me around the park. What was this sorcery? How did this beagle get here? Who were these ladies standing in my kitchen talking to my mum and dad? I decided to disregard all the questions and just show this beagle around my garden. Fortunately, as I was off lead, I could run around having unfettered fun. We ran around and around like a couple of wailing banshees, so much so that the grass was a blur beneath our paws. He was a bit quick, this beagle visitor. We decided we would graduate quickly to bitey face games and I was glad to see that he was also quite good at this too. The humans were deep in discussion most of the time. However they still noticed when bitey face was getting a little rough. Before I knew what was going on, the two ladies left the house and the beagle visitor was still here. I was a little confused.
At this point mum and dad looked at each other and were clearly making plans to try and keep us in order and to restrict the shenanigans which undoubtedly would follow. Unfortunately for me this meant that a water spray bottle was used far too often and usually on my head when I got too rough. To be honest, I was soaked. Darkness soon arrived and I was ready to go to bed. My house guest was still here, I still had confused ears. I’m cool with visitors borrowing a bed so I kindly showed him what to do when it was bed time. He looked a little unsure as to where he could sleep so I jumped into a bed next to him and showed him it was a comfy place to curl up.
Sunday 28th April
Morning sun broke early through the curtains and I opened a weary eye. He was still here. This was great. A round of early Sunday morning supervised bitey face in the garden was followed by a brisk walk with dad. We returned to find mum and my house guest in the garden. She seemed to be showing him some training, so I just got on with eating my breakfast. We managed to get another seriously good session of bitey face, and then shenanigans, in before we were harnessed up for a second time and we went for a pack walk to the local fields. This was great fun, I couldn’t believe my visitor was still here.
When we got back, dad picked up the house guest and stood on the scales. Normally this is not something that dad does voluntarily as it usually ends up with fits of hysterical laughter. However this time he looked at mum and said “10.3 kilos” when he stepped off. Now, even as a beagle, I know that dad doesn’t weigh 10.3 kilos. Darkness fell once more, and the house guest was still here. This time he understood quite quickly that the comfy bed within a bed was the place to go. Let the chorus of snoring commence.
Monday 29th April
Back to school. Wake up early, stretch and there he is still curled up, nose pressed tightly into the side of the fluffy bed. I thought, this is great, as I tried to get past him without waking him up. No chance, as he was onto me like a flash, his little teeth nibbling my ear. Right, I’ll show you, I told him in no uncertain terms and we became a squabble of beagles writhing on the floor. At this point I should woof that this isn’t the best way to wake up my mum and dad, who smartly separated us and made sure that shenanigans were cut short. I had another long walk with dad and this time I returned to find the house guest asleep in a chair. Mum had already taken him out for some training. I was getting a little more accustomed to him now, so the bitey face waited, ooh, until five minutes after I had returned home. However this session was also terminated fairly smartly as we were “getting too rough and needed some down time”. We’re Beagles, hello! Earth calling my parents. Soon after our fun was stopped I realised that even whirlwinds blow themselves out now and again. My house guest seems to like sleeping, somewhat surprisingly, more than I do. I accept that chasing each other around the house and garden, aroooing at the top of our lungs and playing bitey face for ages, may have something to do with our combined tiredness. However he goes out like a light.
The afternoon was topped off with our first zoom around the garden without close supervision. Mum and dad felt they could trust us to race around and not play bitey face as much. We did not disappoint them. Kind of. My house guest is mighty quick across the ground. However I know all of the shortcuts so I could keep up with him.
Before he went to bed, he had a bit of an accident. I think he thought that mum and dad would be angry with him, but they just changed the duvet and put the cover in the wash. He was shaking a bit in his bed but he needn’t have worried. These two are kind, I can vouch for that. I thought I would help him settle in his bed as he looked a little worried. He seems alright, for a pupster.
Tuesday 30th April
Yawn, stretch and morning is here. I slept so deeply last night, I can’t imagine what caused that to happen. Anyway we managed to wake mum and dad up again, but our shenanigans were cut short equally quickly. Dad and I went out for a walk whilst the house guest and mum went off for a shorter “training” walk around part of one of my favourite places, Pednor. I had a great time strolling around the fields at White Hill.
He was asleep when I got back so he must have had a good time and learned some walking tips. A quick (read 30 minutes) whizz around the garden chasing each other and general shenanigans mixed with rough and tumble ensued. I think my nap is well earned. My house guest seems to be following me around a little more. We aren’t playing bitey face as often and we can walk past each other without being naughty. Something must be wrong. He’s calming down and, apparently, so am I.
We had great zooms around the garden again and when we were told to break it up, we did. Wow, I must be getting old as I actually listened to my parents. We had our dinners together today, for the first time and we didn’t hassle each other. He doesn’t try to pick fights when I am on my bench bed which is good as I can get some down time.
He does eat quite a few sticks though so they keep him occupied. Dad soon put a stop to the twigs on the grass by cutting it and hoovering them all up with the lawnmower. Bad luck little pal. I keep on looking at him and wondering if I was like that when I was a pupster. I don’t remember but I hope so. Whisper it quietly, but I am getting a bit more used to him after a few days. We will see what the next days bring.
Wednesday 1st May
Morning everyone. As dawn broke I looked wearily out of my bed. My house guest is still here and he hasn’t chomped my ears yet. Things are looking up clearly. We had the first part of our breakfasts together, although we were supervised closely by mum and dad. I was then off for another walk with dad, this time to the fields which is always fun as I get to pull on the lead and try to chase deer and squirrels. My house guest went off for another training walk with mum.
Once we returned he was asleep in the chair so I decided to try and get into the house without disturbing him. I was successful as far as getting through the door. Sadly he was onto me like a flash once I got into the living room. We became the customary squabble of beagles in the various rooms as we continued our now traditional, and extensive, sessions of bitey face games.
I was so engrossed with the renewed shenanigans that I completely forgot that I hadn’t yet had my second breakfast. I have breakfast in two halves, not two whole breakfasts, sadly. Anyway, it seems that we are learning to play nicely sometimes when we are in the grounds and the house. Mum and dad are getting a bit more relaxed with us being together and the water sprayer hasn’t been used as much. I have just realised again that my house guest sleeps an awful lot, and in all sorts of strange positions.
We were wandering around in the garden just before lunch and I was pleased that the water spray bottle hadn’t been used on my head for quite some time. Then I realised that my house guest was sniffing around the orchard, some 20 metres away. Maybe there is a connection between the water spray and shenanigans? I will have to think about this a little further.
You know, it’s weird having a little house guest around. I am so used to being an only dog around here that sharing beds, my grounds, lending him a harness, lending him a food bowl and allowing him to sleep in one of my six beds, takes a little getting used to. I think he wants to be friendly but he keeps on trying to nip my ears when we aren’t playing bitey face. Then he wants to snuggle up but I don’t seem to want to. Maybe this will take a little more getting used to.
It’s lucky he’s good at sleeping as mum is looking up training tips for him, to see if they can bring him a bit more into line and get some good habits instilled early. I’m not sure he would be cheered up if he knew what they are looking at teaching him. Apparently it’s too late for me, as a wise and hardy older Beagle Harrier. Phew.. Anyway, he’s been here nearly four days. Time has flown.
Thursday 2nd May
Morning breaks and the sun streams through the windows. My house guest is asleep and I am gasping for some water. No sooner am I out of bed than my now customary shadow is close by. Mum and dad are clearly wiser to the upcoming commotion and are out and about quicker than usual. We took breakfast together and mum is teaching him some more manners when it comes to waiting for his bowl to at least be put down on to the floor. He’ll learn.
Dad decided to take me for a stroll across Pednor this morning and we bumped into my house guest early into the walk. He is still under initial training by mum. We went our separate ways after a short distance together so he could concentrate. Through the field went dad and I, past the horses and up onto the wooded path, down into the valley and then up the hill on the other side. Turn right at the top and road walk it back to home. I love this part of my walk, its really pretty in the early sunshine.
Anyway we returned just after mum, to find the second half of my breakfast was about to be provided so it didn’t take long before we were out in the garden. Resumption of bitey face was instant and my head became wet equally instantly.
Then I did something really stupid. We were in the kitchen and still playing. Dad was wiping the water bowl spillage off the floor and I might have nipped his arm in my excitement. The resultant ten minutes of down time in the Boot Room was very boring, I can tell you.
We’ve just got through an entire hour without playing. Something is happening. Ok, it may be that my house guest is in the study (boot room) and I am in the living room but nevertheless, it’s fairly impressive. My head hasn’t been watered and is dry and I can even manage a nap without him wanting to play.
Mum and dad keep on speaking with the ladies who brought my house guest to my house last week. It seems the ladies are checking up on him whilst mum and dad are reporting back. I have no idea what they’re checking up on but its nice sometimes to have a guest.
Friday 3rd May
Another night of sumptuous sleeping has passed and I awoke to find my house guest curled up in his bed, snoring quietly into the blanket he is laying on. I managed to get out of bed, shake and stretch before an inquisitive nose appeared by the side of my face. We managed not to nibble each others ears for a further fifteen seconds. When we managed to clamp onto each other there was this worrying growl and we saw dad was sitting up watching us. For the first time we went into the garden together before our first breakfast and we didn’t squabble or play bitey face. It was extremely helpful that I was onto a squirrel trail very quickly and I was thoroughly distracted. Come on, says dad, we’re off for a walk around Pednor. My house guest set off with mum and I think there was a suspicious smell of cut up frankfurters as training treats in the training treat bag. I was of course mistaken, according to mum and dad. I think something is going on with the house guest as the walks with dad are long, usually around 2 hours. We get home and mum gives dad the thumbs up, I get cleaned up and then off into the grounds for some serious running around and general shenanigans. However the bitey face is still there and the running around happens more as I chase him to have the last word in our game. But the bitey face seems to be getting more growly on my part. We do however follow each other, sniff squirrels trails and, if you are the house guest, eat beech nut kernels.
It’s a strange time I think. We are both trying to show each other who is the boss and we have squabbled a little bit too much today. Maybe we are becoming a little more used to having each other around but for some reason there seems to be more tension today. We are having more regular times apart where we are being watched like hawks. However as soon as we are released we seem to want to continue our little battles.
I know he’s a pup, and he knows I am an older dog, but for some reason we aren’t hugely tolerant of each other this afternoon.
Saturday 4th May
Even I was surprised when I was woken up at 5.45 this morning. It wasn’t particularly sunny and the light had only just really reached the windows. However, there he was, yawning and stretching as he came towards me. Here we go, I thought, which ear is he going to nibble first? As he slid past me to get some water in the kitchen, I was happy that my ears remained intact, it is my birthday after all. Well, we think its my birthday but as a rescue we don’t know the actual date on which I entered the world. We both wandered out into the garden for an early morning patrol and managed not to squabble as we were too busy tracing last nights wildlife trails. Dad disappeared shopping for a while and when he returned they had breakfast. I was still surprised that, as we hadn’t had any walk yet, my house guest was able to maintain some decorum in his behaviour.
We were soon on our paws and today promised great fun as we were going for a walk together around Pednor. Along the road, turn left up the hill and along the footpath toward the farm. Turn right, up the hill and then back along the road until we arrived at the horses field. My house guest was in awe of the horses, who just stood around eating grass. He arooed at quite a few people and mum was trying to persuade him to ignore people by bribing him with small morsels of frankfurters. I know this is true as I also got some frankfurters once I had cottoned on to his luck. When we got home we started to push each other around a little which meant that mum and dad had to step in and keep us separated for a while.
We went out again later in the afternoon for a shorter further walk. When we got back we were both really quite tired and this seemed to make mum and dad happy as it meant we weren’t as enthusiastic about ear nipping and general shenanigans. Mum and dad are looking at each other a bit worried as it seems that our continual “play time” is getting a bit rough and I am struggling to know when to stop the rough and tumble with the house guest. It’s not nasty, I just want to play beyond the point when he submits. When I am told to leave him alone, I seem to get really vocal and frustrated with everyone. Maybe it’s because I have been an only dog for pretty much all of my life.
Sunday 5th May
My house guest was awake even earlier this morning, sometime around 5.35. This is early even for me, and that’s saying something. We were out in the garden at separate times which is a little strange however it meant that the customary ear nibbling and fighting was non existent. Mum and dad are watching us both again however they needn’t worry as we haven’t been near each other in the house. We even managed to lay in our beds quietly whilst mum & dad are eating breakfast. They’re chatting away and they still sound a bit melancholy.
We went for a circuit around Pednor. The house guest was attached to mum and we all set off. I was straight onto a trail and marched off accordingly.
The house guest isn’t as reactive any more to horses, runners and cyclists which is good. Mum is feeding him copious quantities of frankfurters to distract him but nevertheless he has improved. When we got back we were still not being trusted to be in the garden together and unsupervised. In the house we can be separated apparently but running amok in the garden, not so much.
Dad picked up the house guest again, stood on the scales and said to mum “11.2 kilos” so this sounds like either dad or my house guest has put on some weight during the last week. My noms money is on the house guest. We didn’t play much in the afternoon as we were quite tired after our walk earlier in the day. We had done a fair amount of sniffing and investigating and it was interesting to see that the house guest was following me about a bit more and we were getting interested in the same things.
Mum and dad spoke to the lady who dropped me off a week ago. They had a long discussion about how I was getting on with the house guest, and whether he was also settling in. The general consensus seemed to be that, apart from me being very vocal and fairly rough in play, we were getting more comfortable with each other. As the lady pointed out it is a big upheaval for me as well. After all it’s my house and I need to be able to adjust to a new fur sleeping, playing and wandering around my house and garden. I’ve been an only dog for five years and no one really knows what I was like before I arrived, with regard to socialisation. My house guest seems to have made himself very much at home. He even managed to get into the right bed when he went to sleep. He burrowed under the blanket too. You won’t catch me doing that.
Bank Holiday Monday 6th May
He woke up at five twenty this morning and wandered out to the kitchen for a drink of water. Mum, dad and I just looked at each other and thought “nope, this is too early” so he was coaxed back into his bed. When he jumped up onto the big bed, I don’t think they had the energy to put him off again so they let him snooze there as long as he laid still. Six thirty am duly arrived and we all wearily roused ourselves to start the new day.
We were put out into the garden together fairly quickly after we awoke. This is unusual as recently we have been in the garden at different times because we have been playing bitey face with a bit too much roughness. So when we were put out today and we started nibbling each other, it was surprising that we weren’t admonished. Some two hours of rough playing then passed before we came back into the house. There were regular breaks for water and we didn’t go near each other when we were drinking. It seems that when mum and dad were speaking to the lady who dropped me off, she had assured them that we may need to sort out our differences and that mum and dad were stepping in to break us up a little early in the bitey face “discussions”.
Duly harnessed for our walk, I was actually feeling the effects of the prolonged playtime. However, when we reached the lanes around Pednor we both found our vitality once again and there was some serious hedgerow investigations to do. He flaked out on his chair whilst I was zonked in mine when we came home again.
We returned to the garden this afternoon and, sadly, my behaviour wasn’t as good as expected for a house guest. I have a very wet head again as dad is expert with the water sprayer and both mum and dad are eagle eyed at spotting my indiscretions and my lack of etiquette. I seem to be struggling still when it comes to learning how hard to press when we’re playing rough and tumble in the garden. I don’t like being told off. I am trying to learn not to be overly rough, truly. Anyway I’m off to bed before I get into more trouble.
Tuesday 7th May
Today I thought I would allow my house guest to do a post on here. I hope it will be interesting.
Hello everyone my name is Lenny and I was born in Cyprus some 9 months ago. I was found as a stray wandering the streets and was then rescued (and saved) by Cyprus Beagles who arranged for me to move to the UK. I arrived in Essex on 9th April 2019 and was looked after by a very kind lady and her family. When I arrived at this house, I think the people said I was being fostered with a view to making this a forever home. I met Dexter the week before I arrived at his house and he seems quite a good dog. He’s very playful which is great as it fits in with my behaviour as an older puppy.
So, what have I made of the last 11 days I hear you ask? I have loved it. There are new rules that I need to understand. I can’t sleep on the big bed, however I have numerous beds I can sleep in. I also have a chair that I can snooze in. I have food three times a day and I go for walks in some great countryside.
I have a big garden to run around in, I have sticks and leaves I can chase and eat, I have a good pal in Dexter who plays plenty of the time and I also have two people to look after me. I’ve been promised a trip to the local town soon as well. Something about socialisation. I even got a chew from Dex today.
I think I have fallen on my paws here.
There have been some teething problems I will admit. My arrival was quite disruptive to Dex as he had a fairly set routine and I, basically, blew it out of the water. As a pup I like to play pretty much all of the time and this includes a fairly significant quantity of bitey face and ear nibbling. I have been on Dex’s ear a fair bit to be honest and sometimes I am surprised that he hasn’t told me off. That’s not to say he’s been wholly accommodating to my shenanigans but he seems fairly tolerant. Equally he is quite vociferous when I have had enough of rough and tumble and he wants to play on. There have been times when we have been told off a little. I am learning to be quieter and not hassle Dex as much as I was when I first arrived. It’s difficult for us all I think as we all have to adjust and, in some ways, it’s most difficult for Dex as he has been an only dog for five years. This sounds like a long time to me but Dex explained that he is eight so most of his life. He’s alright is Dex.
I am relaxing a lot more now I have been here for a few days, and as I adjust to the routine which is set by the humans I am finding more time to chill out and look around me. I get to sleep often as well, which is good for me as it lets my brain catch up on all the fun I am having.
I was walked around the garden earlier today so I could try to get some basic commands in my mind. Dad was very generous with the frankfurter treats as long as I did sit, stay and a little bit of recall. I think I will be getting more training as time goes by, as long as I am staying that is. Dexter told me that the training is really easy, and the frankfurters are dished out liberally.
On my walks I was going out with mum when I first arrived. This was so I could get used to where I was living and so they could see if I pulled or walked nicely, and whether I was interested in pavement food, for instance. Now I get to go out for walks with Dex, although he is usually quite a distance in front of me and pulling on his double leads so he can get to the scents quickly. When we get back he’s usually tired so I thought this was the time to pounce and start playing rough and tumble. Oh how I was wrong. For an eight year old, he’s got a lot of stamina and he knows all the shortcuts in the garden so he can “cut me off at the pass”. Still, it’s good fun running around, rolling about on the lawn and chasing each other through the flowers and shrubs. Apparently I smell of Geraniums, whatever they are.
This is so different from living in Cyprus. I was abandoned and probably heading towards roaming on the street, to be honest. Thankfully I was picked up and now I am exploring new places and new people safe in the knowledge that I am secure and loved. All I have to do is stop nibbling Dex’s ear. I hope I can manage it. And then I need to hope that I can stay as, whisper it quietly, its nice here and I like it. He’s a good fur.
Wednesday 8th May
Back to me for today’s update. My house guest was out of bed even earlier this morning despite it being horrible, grey and very rainy outside. We were hoping that he may want a bit of a lie in but it appears that eight to nine month old pups don’t require as much sleep as other dogs and indeed humans. I have got used to having lazy days when it’s rainy and grey outside so this was a bit of a shock to the system. Anyway “up and at em” I suppose is the motto.
We managed a quick pre breakfast game of bitey face in the kitchen, living room and dining room. Our breakfast put a hasty stop to the games and we were harnessed up ready for the walk. Outside we were swiftly onto the fields and we were allowed to pull mum and dad through the woods early into the trip. They mistakenly believed that the trees would give them some shelter from the rain, however the drips are bigger and when the wind blows through the trees, the “rain” is heavier. I didn’t care though, and nor did my house guest it would seem. Back out into the meadow and then around the top field, turn left, left again and then around the mile field. Finishing the walk and coming back down the gravel track we noticed that the rain had eased and the clouds had lifted somewhat. When we got back home we were thoroughly towelled down and let loose to continue our rough and tumble through the house before second breakfast was served. We even managed to eat our respective food side by side and without any incursion into each others bowls. Mum and dad looked relieved. Into the wet garden for a short time and then onto our beds for some quiet snoozing.
This house guest is alright. We are walking past each other a bit more often without squabbling. Ok, we are being watched over, however even I am impressed with my restraint in the face of the severest ear nibbling provocation at the moment. There are times when we need to squabble but they are becoming farther apart. I haven’t been water sprayed by dad for a whole day so maybe somethings are changing. My house guest is definitely feeling a bit more at home here. He knows he can wander about and relax wherever he wants and won’t get told off, unless he’s on the big bed of course. For instance he went missing about an hour ago so mum sent dad on a search party. After a few minutes of silence dad came back and said he was in one of my beds under the desk in the study. He was all curled up and sleepy. Originally he was a bit wary of wandering about and trying out some of my beds. However I am a gentle fur when it comes to sharing and I don’t mind if pals want to use a bed that I am not sleeping in. Apart, of course, from my night time bed which is mine and very comfy and definitely out of bounds to interlopers.
As another day draws to a close, my house guest is still here. I am getting more used to him being around and I think he is getting used to being here too. I suppose the longer he’s here the better. The thing is, I always wanted a pal to run around the garden with and wander the lanes, fields and countryside near my house. He might nip my ears and play fight quite a bit, but its nice to have a buddy to knock about with.
Thursday 9th May
I was rudely awoken at four forty am. My house guest managed to leap over my bed and onto the big bed. Suffice to say he was then quickly removed from the big bed. This lasted around ten minutes. I think they let him stay for some peace and quiet. That may not be the best idea in the long run, but we shall cross that bridge when we get to it. Fortunately it wasn’t raining in time for the morning walk and we were off for a stroll around Pednor, so the house guest could get some scents and a little lead training. The walk was going so well until my house guest decided to pick up and try to eat something that really shouldn’t be picked up and eaten. He then allowed dad to try and remove said squelchy, smelly, dirty and vile muck from his mouth. We believe it emanated from a fox. Let’s just say that dad was extremely unimpressed with this gift all over his hand and trainers. As a result the house guest was duly escorted home without honours. This is probably where the phrase “in the dog house” is most apt.
It was raining for the second day in a row. I think the house guest is feeling a little stir crazy. As a pup he needs mental and physical exercise and in the rain that’s a bit difficult. For an old paw like me its easy to snooze the day away, catch up on some rest and recharge the batteries for the days ahead.
He has been wandering around, destroying one of the chew toys I have allowed him to maim.
The rounds of bitey face have returned and this means so has my harness and the water spray bottle. Dad hasn’t lost any of his aim, sadly.
Mum and dad are starting to train him both indoors and outside on the patio. A little recall and some sit, stay and down commands, all mixed with playtime and copious quantities of frankfurters for bribery. This all sounds positive as they wouldn’t be looking to train him if they didnt want him to stay. Dad has even booked a six week course of training sessions with experts, however he has told mum that if the house guest doesn’t stay then I am going to have to pass as a pup and will be doing sit, stay, leave, down and roll over. Ugh good grief, the ignominy of it all. He’d better be staying if that is the case. Anyway I am off to bed before I get into any more trouble.
Friday 10th May
This is getting bad. It was four forty five this morning when I was used as a vaulting horse for my house guest to make his way onto the big bed. He was unceremoniously removed three times before mum relented and allowed him to rest on the big bed. However, he decided that he didn’t want to sleep in today and we were all out and about far too early.
Mum and dad decided that we would go out to Pednor again as it is easier to guide my house guest and show him how to walk properly. It was good weather for a change so we didn’t get a soaking. He was quite reactive to some of the people this morning, and even managed to growl at a couple of lumps of concrete laying on the grass verge to stop people parking there. Strange boy my house guest sometimes.
It seems he’s been here two weeks tomorrow and “we have a decision to make soon”. We were getting on each others nerves a bit today, the house guest and I, so we were left to our own devices to try and get some angst and frustration over the recent inclement weather out of our systems. The bitey face lasted about 5 minutes before it got a little too heated and was broken up. Mum and dad are stepping in at about the right time now, and we are ordered to our respective quiet rooms to rest and chill out. I don’t think it will affect the outcome of the “decision” but I know there is some serious discussion over how to control our rough and tumble when there is only one parent about.
We are getting better at quite a few aspects of living together such as eating our food at the same time without bothering one another, and the first morning garden patrol usually passes off incident free. With a parents overview, we can often walk past each other without going in for a nibble, so things seem to be calming down. There are just occasions where it all goes a bit wrong. We need to work on these. I look at him and he clearly wants to stay and not be messed about any more with a forever home.
Saturday 11th May
I was woken up before 5 am, I got involved in bitey face and we went out for a combined walk with mum and dad. When we got back there was more bitey face and then we slept for a while. Mum and dad made a phone call and then they sat smiling, wondering what they had done.
Dad was given a bit of a black eye when Lenny leapt over the water bowl and his head whacked dad in the left eye. Good work Lenny.
He’s staying. My house guest is staying. I am so happy I could run around in circles arooing at the top of my voice. He might be a nibbling pain, who tries to turn my ears into beagle versions of colanders, he might try to annoy me all the time and I might try to chase him around the garden until I am exhausted. However he is now officially my little brofur so I have to look after him, show him the way and tell what’s right and wrong. I need to help him through life and be a good friend and a great older brother for him. He has come all the way from Cyprus for this. I am not going to let him down.
Dexter and Lenny are brothers. That has such a lovely ring about it.
As a result of me meeting auntie Carolina and showing her around, it was decided that I would send my hudad back to London on Wednesday. I couldn’t go into many of the buildings that we walked past the previous day on account of me being a furry hound. So we hatched plans to try and show auntie Carolina & auntie Karen around some places. So, I instructed Dad to go into London again.
They all met at Tower Hill tube station and firstly went through St Olave’s Church, Hart Street. St Olave is the patron saint of Norway I believe.
Thence up to the Monument for a really good view of London. The Monument was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London of 1666. It is said that if you were to lay the Monument down upon its side, the fire ball would touch the spot where the fire started in Pudding Lane.
Next was Leadenhall Market which is one of the oldest markets in the City of London originally selling meat, poultry & game. Now it is home to a number of boutique shops and restaurants. The architecture of the Market itself isn’t really altered so maintains much of the older charm.
Then they went to the Royal Exchange. The building was founded in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Gresham. It has twice been destroyed by fire and the current building was designed in the 1840’s. In its various guises it has held the Lloyd’s Insurance Market for around 150 years.
Next on the tour was St Pauls. I showed auntie C the outside of the building the previous day. The present St Pauls was started in about 1670 and finished in 1708 apparently. It was officially declared open by Parliament on 25 December 1711.
When they went inside they were all in awe. Well, they were in St Pauls but you know what I mean. It was apparently the most lovely place with fabulous painted ceilings, statues and wonderful architecture. They seemed to spend ages inside marvelling at the sight.
The views over London were pretty good. Dad managed to climb all the way to the Golden Cross to take these pictures.
Once they had finished exploring St Paul’s it was off to Blackfriars tube station and then out of Westminster Station for a tour of Westminster Abbey. Everyone said they were impressed with the architecture of the beautiful building. There were also quite a few famous people including princes, kings, queens and poets interred and commemorated within the Abbey.
They finished their day with a stroll through Victoria Tower Gardens, for the best views of the Houses of Parliament.
They departed with sore feet and happy faces. Everyone said they had a nice time.
I hope so. Auntie C had travelled a long way to see London. I think she enjoyed it.
Tuesday morning dawned and I was quickly on my paws around the fields with my hudad. In and out of the hedgerows, through the woods, around the edges of the ploughed fields and then a quick circuit of the big field. Just over 4 miles and home for second breakfast. Suddenly my harness is being waved in my direction and we are going for another walk. I will not complain as I get to sniff around in the park, woods, lanes or fields again.Once harnessed, I saw there was a very colourful bandana attached to my collar and it had my name on it. This time I was with both my human pawrents so this gave me suspicious ears. Along the road until we arrived at the train station. I remembered I had been here previously. The overground train arrived and we jumped on board. I like adventures and this was going to be a mystery tour for me.
Arriving in London some 40 minutes later I tasted the same type of stale air that I had tasted some 5 months ago. My ears were still suspicious as we walked briskly through Regents Park. Sadly there were no squirrels. We descended onto the Underground and took the train to Aldgate. Up the steps and into the maelstrom that is the edge of the City of London. I had not been here before, this was a new adventure for me. We seemed to be late as I was hurried down various streets only to arrive at a view of the Tower of London. When I stopped gazing in wonder at the Tower I felt a different pair of hands giving my ears a really good tickle. There was my auntie from Argentina. What was auntie Carolina doing in London? Why was I getting ear scroffles from an auntie who was supposed to be 11,514 kilometres away. I no longer had suspicious ears, they were now happy. Very happy. She does great ear tickles to be honest.
We set off on a great adventure. I took the lead of course. We went over Tower Bridge and then along past Hays Galleria.
We walked under London Bridge and past Golden Hinde and then to Shakespeare’s Globe. Now we decided to go over to the north side of the river so we crossed the wobbly Bridge, with St Pauls Cathedral looming in the near distance.
Through Paternoster Square and we strolled down to Blackfriars tube station. We got off the tube at St James’s Park for a stroll about.
Everyone sat down on a park bench to eat some food whilst I was quiet and reserved as usual.
Fortunately there are quite a few squirrels in the park so I managed to introduce myself to some of them just after humum had finished her sandwich. After a while we allowed auntie Carolina to go about the rest of her day and she took a London Tour Bus around the city for a few hours.
I left with sad ears as I had a wonderful day with a lovely person in a great city. I slept all the way home on the tube train. Well most of the way.
I will never, ever forget this day. I was honoured to show auntie Carolina around a small part of London.
Sometimes we have to approach a sad and serious subject. I am on Twitter as some people may know. I have a large number of friends on Twitter and despite not meeting 99% of them in the fur, we woof and discuss what has happened during the day which is usually fun stuff. There are some occasions when the talk turns to more sobering matters such as the illness and injuries that afflict us all at some point in our lives. I have gone through my phase of being pawly and injured. I am hopeful that I have finished with that particular chapter. There are friends who suffer injury now and then. We all try to rally round to help to support them when we can.
Then there is the subject that we all know will arise but none of us want to contemplate, the subject of us making the longest journey. It is known as Over The Rainbow Bridge, as this has a softer tone and feel to the inevitable end. This is the most difficult time for any dog owner, and we always try to treat it with respect and thoughtfulness.
There seem to have been too many friends who have gone bravely to take the longest journey recently and this is always a strange and difficult time. We all know that, usually, we furs don’t last as long as humans. This doesn’t, and shouldn’t, diminish our ability to wheedle our way into your hearts and then take a small piece of it with us when we make our final journey. We may not be here for your whole life but you are invariably here for our whole life. Furs inevitably rely on their humans for pretty much everything from beds to food to tickles and walks. We don’t ask for much when we are here with you and it might be this level of love and loyalty that allows us to take this piece of your heart with us when we go. It’s a strange feeling when you find out that a friend who you have woofed with is suddenly not there. The emptiness in your tummy is palpable and it doesn’t decrease for a considerable time.
I have heard it said that we know when it is “time” and I think this is a true story. A while ago one of my friends was at the vets for various ailments and a picture was posted of him. I looked at his eyes, he seemed sad and resigned to his body giving him notice that this was the time to be brave and make the final and longest journey of all. This is now being replicated by a friend who knows he will go to the Rainbow Bridge soon. However he will do it on his terms and when he, and his parents, want him to go. The bond of love between them remains unbroken and there will be an acknowledgement when the time is right for the lead and collar to be hung up for good.
That the humans we leave behind are sad and feel lonely is, I think, an indication of the esteem and love they hold for us beyond our years of living and companionship. Equally it is an indication of the love and loyalty we have given back. The overriding factor seems to me to be that we have, in the main, enjoyed our time here. This gives our humans that sense of comfort when we have gone. They have looked after us and allowed us to enjoy life, see new things, smell new scents and have fun. Maybe our departure for the Rainbow Bridge shows the humans what they will miss most about us. The sense of fun, loyalty and the bond between us. What I think, and hope, we leave behind is a sense of celebration of our lives and the fun that we had when we were here.
Its not my time yet and I hope that I will continue to be here for quite a while yet. However when I go to the Rainbow Bridge, for I shall go one day, I hope that I leave pals and peeps with a sense of contentment that they made my life worth living and that I was happy. For now though, there is still much life in me.
I think it is vital to understand what the people at rescue centres in different places around the world do and how they do it. We all know why they undertake rescues of course, because there are many furs in need of help through no fault of their own. So, I decided to ask my friends Gracie the Beagle and Roscoe the Basset Hound if I could woof with their mum who is the Adoption Co-ordinator for New England Basset Hound Rescue. This is the discussion we had. I think you will find it interesting and hopefully will give us all a better insight as to the difficulties and the triumphs encountered in rescuing furs.
Please can I ask you to tell us what you do within NEBHR and how NEBHR helps to rescue Bassets?
I am the adoption coordinator for New England Basset Hound Rescue. I also take care of the rescue’s Facebook page and make sure the web site is kept up to date. I started off nearly 3.5 years ago as the social media coordinator and then in October of 2018 we needed an adoptions person. I took up the post straight away. Our rescue covers the New England states, which are Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut. We are a non-profit and run solely on donations. We have no state funding, but donations to us are tax deductible in the U.S. Those of us involved in the rescue are all volunteers. We joke that the only one one who gets paid is Roscoe because he gets treats when he poses for pictures to use on the rescue’s Facebook page. Oh, and the reason we do it is because we are all crazy about basset hounds. We are the only basset rescue that is based in New England, although there are some other basset rescues in other parts of the country that will have dogs transported to adopters in New England. Okay, so now on to the process…
Bassets and Basset mixes come into our rescue for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes they’re found running loose as strays. Other times we get contacted by animal control officers who have held them but no one came to claim them. On some occasions they’ve been set loose to fend for themselves by bad breeders or by hunters who have decided they’re not worth their keep. Then there are times when owners turn them over due to changes in life situations like they’ve lost their job and their home, and they aren’t allowed to have pets where they’re moving to, or we’ve even had somebody turn their dogs over to us because he was about to go to jail. Next there are those who want to get a new puppy so they dump their older dog, those who get into relationships with someone who doesn’t like their dog so rather than dumping the boyfriend, they dump the dog, people having a baby and “won’t have time for the dog”… The excuses are endless, and rarely do we get the full truth in the story of why someone decides to turn their dog over to rescue or leave them at a shelter. There are also times of sadness when the owner dies unexpectedly and the family can’t take the dogs, so they turn to us for help. And finally there are those who get the cute basset puppies and a few months later turn them over because they found out that it’s a lot of work to raise a puppy. Any puppy is work, but we all know hound pups are extra special and thus require extra work in training, etc.
So once our intake person gets the information about the dog, our fostering volunteer goes to work right away to find a foster home to agree to take the dog into fosterers home. Depending on the distance between the dog and the foster home, one of the board members or one of our volunteers will go and pick the dog up from the original owner, animal control officer, shelter, whatever the case may be, and drive the dog to the foster. I’ve done surrenders, and it’s not fun and sometimes scary. The foster takes the dog into their home and take care of him or her as if they were members of their family. They take them to a vet soon after their arrival at the foster home so that we can make sure the dog is up to date on all of the required immunisations and make sure that if there are any health concerns, we can evaluate them and get started as soon as possible with any treatment needed. We see a lot of skin issues, malnourishment and obesity, a large number of eye problems (which bassets are prone to), arthritis (again which bassets are prone to), spays and neuters and sadly a lot of the dogs come into care testing positive for heartworm. This can be treated, but it is really uncomfortable and hard on the dog during treatment because they have to be kept in a very calm and quiet environment.
Besides getting the dogs healthy, fosters also work on training issues if possible, as they are best placed to evaluate the dogs’ personalities and behaviour. This helps me, as the adoptions person, to have a better idea of which potential adopters would be the best matches for the individual dogs. Our goal is to place dogs in what, we hope, will be their forever home. We do our best to place them where they are most likely to stay and not come back to us. A dog stays with the foster family until he or she is ready to go on to their forever family, which could be anywhere from 2 weeks to many months. It all depends on what the dog needs in order to get ready to move on to the forever home environment.
Thank you. It sounds like its quite a well oiled machine. What are the procedures that you go through to register, check the details and then help to decide where each dog will go firstly and thereafter forever.
I shall start in adoptions. When an application comes in, I check to make sure that all of the required information is included, and if they’ve left any of the absolutely necessary details out, I email the potential adopters and tell them I won’t process their application further until they provide the necessary information. After I’ve got all the details I need, I will make arrangements to have a phone interview with the applicant. During that phone call, I review the application and ask them questions about anything that concerns or confuses me about their answers on the application. I also like to have them tell me about their past dogs. This gives me a chance to hear in their voice how they really felt about those dogs. We will discuss breed traits, behaviour and health issues, as well as general hound behaviour. I need to make sure that they know what they’re getting into, and that they don’t adopt a basset hound just because they saw a cute picture somewhere. We also discuss points such as whether they have a fenced-in yard or not. For some rescues it’s a deal breaker if they don’t. That’s not the case for NEBHR. However what is a deal breaker will be the potential adopters having an invisible fence or an electric fence of any kind. I would never allow a dog to be adopted by a person who would use one of those or who would use an electric training collar. Never.
We will discuss how many hours a day a dog would be home alone. Some are fine being home alone however some have separation anxiety and suffer when they’re alone for longer than a couple hours at a time. We talk about children as some of the dogs that come into our care have resource guarding issues. A small child can come across to a dog as competition for food, treats, toys or attention, and as a result we can’t place those dogs in homes with small children because it would be setting the dog up for failure. We will cover the things a family is looking for in a dog. Sometimes they want a young energetic dog that can go on hikes and family adventures. Sometimes they want a dog that is more laid back, more of a couch potato. Once the interview is done, the next step is to call their vet’s office and check to make sure that they’re good pet parents and have kept all of their previous animals up to date on their immunizations and other care. I also have to contact their local animal control officer to make sure they do not have a record of animal-related complaints against them, including nuisance to neighbours or dogs roaming free. Lastly I have to find a volunteer who lives somewhere in the vicinity to go and do a home visit on our behalf.
A home visit volunteer visits the house where the dog will live and checks to make sure it’s a safe environment for a basset and make any suggestions. For example, stairs and long spined dogs do not go well together, especially if there is nothing that provides traction on the stairs. It’s really easy for a basset to fall down the stairs if they don’t have traction and this is pretty much a guaranteed back injury or even paralysis. If the house is too cluttered, again this is a difficulty as Bassets are mischievous and get into places they may not necessarily need to.
If the home visit is positive and all the other things have gone well, I can approve them to adopt. I send them a congratulations email and we start looking for a dog that will be a good match for their family. Once the match is made, the foster family and the adopter arrange a meeting, and the new adopter will take the dog home. Sometimes it’s too far to drive for one or the other, so we can call on our transport volunteers to help transport the dog from the foster to the new family. I check in with the new family after the dog has been with them overnight to make sure things are going okay. Sometimes I will be sent a photo of the Basset. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to get a text with a picture of a basset totally taking over a couch and knowing that I just made that happen. That is what makes it all worth it.
Is the “no dog to anyone with an invisible fence” your decision, or the NEBHR or law (state or federal). I am wondering if it is a legal requirement. What percentage of dogs come back to you? Hopefully not large numbers. Do you get transfers from other Basset rescues coming to you, or you to them?
The decision on invisible or electric fence is something that more and more rescues are deciding to have as their policies, but it’s not a law. If it’s a law in any other states, I’m not aware. The problem with invisible or electric fences is that they are ineffective with hounds. As you know, a hound picks up a scent, and they go. Bassets are even better scent hounds than beagles, if you can believe that! They are second only to bloodhounds in scenting ability. They are ineffective at keeping a hound in an area. However if you think about it, surely if you are jolted with electricity on your way out, are you really going to want to return? We have had a few dogs arrive in our care that have been abused with the electric training collars, so these collars are very traumatic to them. We do not get a large percent of dogs that come back to us after we adopt them out. I’ve had 2 come back because in one case the children got too rambunctious and the dog didn’t like it. The parents got nervous the dog would bite. In another case a lady decided she couldn’t deal with training issues of an 8 month old puppy. Sadly sometimes the dogs come back to us after their adopters have passed away. We have a dog in our care currently for that reason. He was adopted in 2017, and the adopter passed away in 2018. We don’t really do many transfers back and forth with other basset rescues. Occasionally we get a call from an all-breed rescue that ends up with a basset and wants our help, and we get calls from animal shelters sometimes when they have bassets come in. We do take dogs from other areas of the country if they can be transported in to us. We are not licensed to transport them in, but we can receive them.
May we turn to the fundraising aspect for the NEBHR. This is clearly a very important aspect so I would like to understand a little more about how the fundraising occurs.
Okay, Dex, we are always, ALWAYS in need of donations, so we try to come up with some small creative ideas throughout the year. We also need to put together our annual fundraising event, Bassetpalooza. This is a great occasion where people come from all over New England with their bassets and spend the day playing games with them, catching up with those of us who helped in their bassets’ rescue efforts, and raise money with raffle baskets. We have our rescue’s little store where we sell New England Basset Hound Rescue merchandise as well as other dog-themed items, and explore what vendors there have to offer. For instance last year, Dunkyn’s mum set up a booth selling her home made dog treats. In addition we do a calendar contest, in which Roscoe has been entered for the last 4 or 5 years. The 12 bassets that bring in the most money through votes get to be the main photos in the following year’s calendar. We do an event-themed t-shirt fundraiser each year and alongside the calendar. Wilbur the Basset’s mum & dad designed the t-shirts for Bassetpalooza 2017. People can come to the event wearing that year’s t-shirt if they like, or have it as a souvenir. We do other things through the year, such as smaller raffles through the Facebook page and a year-end video with a plea for donations. We always remind people that they are tax-deductible. Right now we’re working on a Valentine’s Day fundraiser, where we’ll have photos of the dogs in our care along with links to donate in order to show them some love on Valentine’s Day. We’ve had some of Gracie’s friends from Twitter make things for us to sell at events and in the store. For instance Schroeder’s mom Connie made plastic canvas signs, tissue boxes and luggage tags for us and LilyDoodle’s mom Erin sent us some awesome doggy bandanas that she made.
If you could change the law, what do you think you would change. For instance compulsory micro chipping?
I don’t know really what to say about laws… I mean obviously animal cruelty and neglect laws should be harsher in my opinion, and it would be nice if we had some kind of a registry of animal abuse and neglect perpetrators that we could use as a tool in vetting potential adopters. I just do what I do and try my best to find homes for these deserving dogs where they will get the love and the care they deserve.
I will include a link to the donation page of the website:
I have long been an admirer of furs who have special talents or abilities. I thought it might be a good idea to woof with one such illustrious dog who has overcome some difficulties and now is an example of courage, strength, fortitude and overall doggedness. I don’t think Winston will mind if I woof that I suspect these attributes also apply to Winston’s mum (Mumz) who had the never say no attitude to try and give Winston the best life possible.
This is Winston’s story.
Winston, hi. Can you tell us how did it all begin? Have you been with your mum since you were a small puppy? When did you find out that something wasn’t quite right with your legs?
Ok well Mumz didn’t meet me until I was 6 and Bruv was 9, at least we think he was 9. I was ok at that point regarding my walking. I’d had my cyst removed 3 years before that, so I was young when I got it, however it was removed successfully. But then I started scuffing my toes on my back legs, so she took me back to specialist centre who did lots of tests and found scar tissue at operation site. The scar tissue was attached to my spinal cord. There was no choice but to attempt to remove the scar tissue but it was risky. The day before I went in Mumz made sure I had THE best day at the seaside. The operation released scar tissue but damage had been done. Mumz was told I’d be completely paralysed within the year and would be “easier” to put me to sleep. She was so shocked because she didn’t expect that response or recommendation. Through her tears she asked if I’d be viable for a set of wheels or hot rod to support my back legs and thus allow me to get around much easier. They reluctantly confirmed it was possible and Mumz was still really upset when she took me away.
However she then got cross and I mean really cross. She started doing research and hopefully try to get a second opinion. This proved to be quite hard as people in the profession don’t like to step on each other’s toes. Eventually she found somewhere in Birmingham who would see me. It’s a 3 hour drive but we did it. They were brilliant. They explained exactly what was happening inside me, and they even drew Mumz an “idiot proof” picture to demonstrate what was going on. They explained the spinal cord has no pain receptors so I wouldn’t be in pain. The only pain I would get would be muscular as my front end would be working so hard. They even recommended the best hot rod wheels for me. She was elated as they also recommended I find a physio and hydrotherapist. We took action straight away. As a result I stayed upright for 5 years. I didn’t walk normally but I walked. I needed my hot rod wheels after a year or so when we went out but I could still get round the house and garden. Of course I had my man mobile or chariot. It’s been hard work, I have physio once a week and hydro every couple of weeks and a lot of work at home as directed by physio but it is worth it. She has to massage my front end every day as I get muscle fatigue through pulling myself along on the wheels. As a result, my front muscles are larger than they ordinarily would be. She also researched mobility aids, my special “help em up” harness (I think that’s what it’s called) and then also an off roader hot rod wheels. She’s made good contacts with people in the know – in fact the hot rod people are the ones who got me the Alan Titchmarsh show a while ago on the television.
I took to everything without complaint. It took a couple of goes before I realised my hot rod was a good thing but once I realised it meant I could run in it, I was fine! I’ve done all my physio without any complaint, however I think this was probably because food was involved. I’ve adjusted with each step of this journey. It’s Mumz who found it all upsetting and has cried buckets over the years but I’ve not dwelled on how I used to be. As long as I can get where I wanna go, I don’t care how I get there. I don’t mind saying I have been an inspiration to Mumz and everyone in the family. I’ve not changed one bit from the waist up. My zest for life has always been strong and I’m always wanting to be up and at them. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not cheap to look after but I’m worth every single penny and I’ve got a really close bond with Mumz because I rely on her so much. I’m quite fond of her despite her being a bit needy. I can’t walk at all now but we knew this would happen and it’s now 8 years since they told Mumz to put me to sleep and I’ve had a great time! I have had lots of fun, holibobs, trips to seaside and so on. I’m 14 and a half now so I’ve done brilliantly. Me being disabled hasn’t made me any the less of a great pet and friend – if anything the opposite because I so enjoy life it makes it all worth while. Every owner has a special bond with their pet but I think the bond you develop with a disabled pet is a very special one, and who wouldn’t want that.
Thanks Mr Winston sir for the clear and extensive answer. May I ask where you were before you picked Mum to look after you?
We came from a somewhat broken home. Bruv and I had been living together so Mumz got to adopt us both. Bruv and I were the best of buddies, we always knocked along together and were a strong unit.
Did the hot wheels make you and Mum feel that, actually, dogs with disabilities can be super powered and inspiring to others?
Mumz was shocked almost beyond words at how easily I was dismissed as a lost cause by the people who did me op. In the very same meeting when she was told that it would “easier” if I was put to sleep, the specialist asked if we were doing anything nice for fireworks night! I mean, talk about priorities. She now understands better how other places didn’t want to step on their toes but she wasn’t looking for that. She just wanted to see if anyone had any other ideas except euthanasia, but they wouldn’t listen. She couldn’t quite believe how some people who make a living out of caring for animals could be so uncaring. She also changed vets cos my vet wasn’t great in time of crisis too. I think that’s a very important point. If you’re not happy with what you’re being told, try your hardest to get more info and a second opinion. The internet has taught Mumz so much in respect of stuff like this. For instance, like how to help with me toilets as sadly the nerves dealing with that area were affected but it’s all very manageable when you know how. My vet didn’t know how and wasn’t interested. It’s very important to get the right team around you when you have a dog like me with very different needs. They are out there, the experts, you just need to find them.
So, Zombiesquad was a direct result of your combined thought that pets with disabilities can be super powered and inspirational?
Yes, exactly. This is why I’ve taken on hunting zombies cos I knew I was the best candidate. The whole point of starting zombiesquad was exactly that, to inspire others and to let them see my journey, and how brave I was (I can hunt zombies after all) and the fun people can still have with a disabled pet. We wanted to make my twitter page fun. She wanted everyone to see how happy I am. Obviously she had no idea it would grow so big but she’s thrilled she’s got such a large audience who can see how good my life is. People have approached her for advice with a newly disabled pet or on behalf of friends with a newly disabled pet which has made her very happy because without Twitter / ZS they wouldn’t have known me. She was able to reassure and offer advice and point people in the right direction at a very scary and daunting time.
Thanks. I think everyone agrees that the twitter page is indeed fun and inspirational. May I turn to something a little sadder. When Bruv went to the Rainbow Bridge, this was clearly a very large loss. Did you and Mum have an idea to get you another friend or apprentice soon after.
She didn’t want another dog after Bruv. We loved him so much, still do, the thought of someone else and going through that again was not something she was prepared to do. It felt very disloyal to him. But then I got depressed. Very depressed. Mumz did her best to cheer me up and even spoke to an animal behaviouralist but I missed him so badly nothing helped. So her solution was to allow the Kid to move in. We’re not best pals like I was with Bruv but he’s a companion and someone to do things with. He cheered me up.
Mr Winston, thank you for allowing me to interview you. I think everyone can see that being a pet with disabilities isn’t something to hold you back. The zest for life, for fun and for chasing zombies clearly allows you to live as full a life as possible. Thank you also to Mumz for pursuing the alternative option, for not taking the first advice as final and wanting the best in life for you.
Nellie Beagle was rescued by BREW, Beagle Rescue, Education & Welfare. I wanted to understand and learn more about how Nellie came to be adopted and what was the process. So, I asked Nellie’s mum some questions.
When you decided to adopt, did you specifically want a beagle or was it more of an accidental acquaintance?
How did we wind up with Beagles? Well, our neighbour had a beagle called Zoe. She walked by our house every day. Zoe was such a sweet dog, always happy to give a lick or a hug. When we decided to get a dog, my husband Rich said ‘Why don’t we get a beagle?’ Once we decided on the breed, I started doing my research which took around 6 months. I noticed that there were a number of organisations out there who rescued and rehomed beagles. We decided that we would pursue an adoption through BREW – Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare. We filled out the application, had the home visit and were approved for adoption. The lady that undertook the home visit check actually brought two male beagles with her, they were called Magoo & Finnegan. Whilst looking at the available pups, I noticed Nellie and fell in love. She was just so petite and beautiful and we had to have her. We were approved to adopt her and we travelled to pick her up a few weeks later. Nellie was only in a foster home for a few weeks and I believe that she was used for hunting prior to us having her. She wasn’t potty trained and she wasn’t interested in being with us for the first 6 months. The things she did like were eating, going for walks and her bed. Her bed was a favourite from the very first day. The first 6 months were tough – she was pooping and peeing in the house and hiding the remainder of the time. We tried to crate train her and she would do the most amazing things with the crate – turn it upside down, on its side, move it across the room – just nuts. When that didn’t work, we tried gating her and she ate the gate. We came home one day to find shreds of wood all over the place from her gnawing away, trying to escape. This required a vet visit to make sure she didn’t have any splinters in her mouth.
Did you ever feel in the first 6 months that it may be a little too much to take on?
I remember telling my husband, Rich, at one point that if she peed in the house one more time I was done. Actually I think after that time she stopped peeing in the house. She also dug up a brand new rug – we put it down, left for a little while, then returned and she had made a giant hole in the rug. It was almost like a cartoon. We are not sure how one little dog ruined a 8 x 10 rug in 3 hours but she did. She was very trying at times but we knew that she was learning how to be a dog and how to live with us. This spurred us on, made us more determined to succeed and give her a life worth living. After 6 months she eventually settled in and became the perfect dog.
Why the sudden change after 6 months?
Perfect took about 6 months. There were many good things about Nellie from day 1. She liked to sleep and liked her bed so she was never up early or in the middle of the night. She always liked supper and was a good eater. She was always mild mannered and sweet to both humans and pups. She loved to go for a walk. She was a tracker, barking constantly when she smelled a rabbit. She loved her dog walker and couldn’t wait to see her each day. I think it took a village of people to get her to perfect.
Was Nellie called Nellie when you adopted her?
Yes Nellie was Nellie and as it is a cute name we decided to keep it and not subject her to having to learn another name. She was healthy, happy and friends with all of the dogs in the neighbourhood. She also made friends with all of the humans too. Everyone knew and loved Nellie.
So, was the adoption process easy and how did Nellie arrive at your house via BREW and a foster home?
Yes she was fostered in Ohio. She went from pound to a Brew foster home to us so had quite some upheaval. The process was easy but there were of course some requirements such as initial application, home visit, approval, etc. All hurdles we needed to cross.
Thanks. So it was fairly straightforward. Please continue.
Her grandparents also loved her – one grandma made chicken especially for her and the other made sure she had Christmas presents and brought treats on every visit. Nellie loved going to the dog sitters house and conspiring with her beagles (the dog sitter never had beagles until she met Nellie and she wound up having 4 and being a life long friend). The dog sitter has 5 fenced acres. Nellie would run in the front door, pick up the pack and run out the back door in a matter of a minute. We would try to say good bye and tell her that we would miss her but she was long gone. When we picked her up, her nose was always raw from all of the good sniffs she found.
After 5 years, we moved to a house that had a fenced yard. We thought it might be nice to give Nellie a friend, so we adopted Lucy, a senior beagle from BREW. Nellie was great with Lucy. She welcomed her with open paws. There were no issues at all. Lucy lived with us for about 2 years before she went OTRB.
Do you think there was a “pack’ mentality between Nellie & Lucy? Maybe luck that they were two gentle like minded beagles?
Maybe luck & pack.. I think so. I also think that Nellie was such a loving dog that she would welcome anyone.
What did you know of Lucy? Can you tell us a little more about her?
We don’t know much, again she was a pound dog we adopted through BREW. She was very sick when we first adopted her, she almost died as she had pancreatitis. She was only with her foster mom for a short time. She was at least 10 when we adopted her. We wanted someone around Nellie’s age at that time. I think Nellie was 8 or 9 when we adopted Lucy.
Thank you. So, Biscuit, Remington & Dawson are the next ones on the radar.
After Lucy passed, we thought it would be a good idea to adopt another senior beagle. We drove to Chicago to pick up Biscuit and put her in the backseat with Nellie and came home. Again, there were no issues. The two of them were like 2 peas in a pod from day one. There was no fighting, just beagle love. Biscuit had been in rescue for almost a year while she worked through heartworm treatment. She was such a happy and pretty pup. A few months after we adopted Biscuit, we learned of a terrible situation where 2 beagles were living outside, not being fed, not receiving vet care and were in danger with the cold weather coming. A friend was able to get the owner to surrender the pups. Our friend asked for our help because she travelled for her job and was not able to take the dogs to care for them. We told her that we would help until we could figure out what to do. Again my husband, Rich, met Remington and Dawson at the vet the first day they arrived. They had been living in their own filth and both were malnourished and sick. I should say that neither had names at this point and they were named at the vet’s office. Dawson had ear infections, intestinal parasites and nasal parasites. Remington had the same plus a skin issue and heartworm. We got the medication and veterinary care that they needed and then moved them to crates in our laundry room for 90 days. We could not have them with the girls as they could pass on the parasites and infections. After 3 months, we were able to get Dawson neutered and get all of his infections cleared up. Remington went through heartworm treatment and when that was successfully completed, he was neutered. Neither dog was housebroken or had any manners at all. We needed to teach them everything about being a dog. This was a very difficult time for us. We weren’t prepared to have 4 dogs, 2 of them very sick, but we figured it out. After working through all of the issues with Remy and Dawson, there was no way that we could give them up, so we wound up with 4 dogs.
Did you know of the situation with Remington & Dawson before they arrived at the vets?
We believe the boys were owned by a man who passed away. The dogs were given to his son and we understand that he did not take care of them. At least this is what we were told at the time. We don’t know if they were sick prior to the dad passing away or not. I have pictures of where they were living which was essentially a fenced in area with a chicken coop type place and weeds everywhere. We are not sure why this situation happened, only that a friend of a friend became aware of the situation and asked the owner to surrender the pups and miraculously he did. The odd thing is that he actually had another dog, I guess his dog, that was well taken care of and living with him.
What did the vet say when your friends had the boys surrendered and then picked up by you?
One friend had the owner surrender them and the other friend picked up the dogs and drove them to the vet. Rich met them at the vet. The vet knew that they were going to be in bad shape but we are not sure the vet knew how bad of shape they were in. The boys were living in their own faeces and Rich said they were really stinky. The vet said she has seen similar cases of neglect in the past and that we probably saved Remington’s life. Clearly much longer in the insanitary conditions and he would have died. Dawson would have too but he was not as sick as Remington. After the vet check the boys went to the dog wash and our friend went through 2 bottles of shampoo trying to get them clean. After the boys initial visit to our friend’s vet, we made an appointment and took them to our vet about a week later just to have them checked out and to get additional medications and make sure that nothing was missed in their initial vet visit. Getting them healthy – especially Remy – was a journey. It took Remington 6 months before he was through heartworm treatment and clear of all issues.
It is heartbreaking to hear stories like this, however it is heartwarming that the boys were saved and are happy. Can I ask about Nellie going OTRB (Over The Rainbow Bridge)?
Life at our house with 4 dogs was going well for a number of months until we took Nellie for her annual physical. They did a urine test and discovered that she had TCC or Transitional Cell Carcinoma. The outlook was very bleak as most dogs lose their battle within 6 months. TCC is cancer of the urethra and is common in older spayed beagles. Usually what happens is that the urethra gets blocked and the dog cannot urinate, so they need to be put down. We were very fortunate as the foremost vet researcher for TCC was at Purdue University, close to our home. Nellie started treatment there, first in a clinical trial, and then traditional chemo. She continued her fight for almost 3 years. She was going for chemo monthly and taking daily medications. She eventually decided that she had enough and stopped eating one day. We took her a few days later to the vet and she went OTRB. It was truly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. We sent tissue samples to Purdue so they could potentially help another pup and/or stop the disease completely.
We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the Twitterpack at her passing. She truly was one in a million.
Again, thank you. It is truly heartbreaking when things like this occur. Can you say, is TCC hereditary, is it common?
We are not sure if it is hereditary but it is very common in older spayed female beagles and also in Schnauzers, I think.
Since Nellie’s passing, Biscuit’s health has continued to decline. We think she is at least 14. She has congestive heart failure and is on a number of medications. The medications cause issues with the kidneys and we are now dealing with kidney and liver issues with her. She is going to the vet twice a week for fluids to help her kidneys. Remington (9) and Dawson (8) continue to be happy pups.
Thank you for letting us know so much information about all the dogs you have rescued and loved. Giving a dog a chance of a good life is wonderful and we are truly grateful to you, and of course Rich.
It was the dead of night and my parents were out of bed and making ready for the day ahead. After weeks of chicanery and subterfuge with various friends, we were at last on our way to rural Shropshire to make Charley’s parents cry, albeit in the nicest possible fashion. They were blissfully unaware of our impending arrival and this was the way it was supposed to be.
We met up with Raffa Beagle and her mum, and thence on to Charleys house. “Oh my, what are you doing here?” asks Charleys mum, whilst his dad expressed similar surprise from an upstairs window. “Who, us? Oh we were just passing and thought we would drop by to see you”. Griff the Beagle and Boot the Cocker bounded out to greet us and the humans settled down for coffee, buns and chatter, all the time waiting for the unexpected delivery.
After an hour or so, panic sets in as there is no sign of the delivery truck bringing the unknown gift for Charley’s M&D. Off we set on our walk with Raffa and her mum having to turn back as it is feeding time. After phone calls it appears that the delivery will arrive, however not until later in the day. “Do you not realise we have people from London and Liverpool who have taken time off and driven for hundreds of miles to be here?”. The rest of us kept going around the fields and arrive at Charley’s final resting place. It is a place of contemplation and maybe some sorrow but also of great beauty, looking out over the fields where he would run, roam, laze and watch the world go by, all in the shadow of the Shropshire Hills.
“Who’s that at the door?” – action stations and all hands to the pump time. Charley must have known something was up for, as soon as the unknown package was removed from the truck, a wonderful double rainbow appeared over the house with one end landing close by Charley’s last resting place. To see the look upon the faces of Charley’s M&D when the bench was removed from the crate, of joy mixed with reminiscence of some long held thoughts, was strangely comforting to us all. The culmination of a plan to honour Charley had borne fruit, and the fruit was mellow and welcomed. Griff explored the bench quizzically. Boot strolled in his nonchalant fashion toward the bench. Charley’s M&D sat upon the bench and looked at the rainbow stretching over the house and toward the fields and hills.
A suitable tribute, a timely reminder and a place of contemplation. All considered, it was a good day. I could return home content. I am not sure that we made Charley’s M&D cry, but I hope we made their hearts feel full of the love of their friends.
What a week of walks and shenanigans. Sunday started with a great walk around the local lanes and fields. I love all the smells and sniffs, as well as all the rabbit warrens I can stick my nose into.
Having returned home and eaten my breakfast, it was straightaway into the car and we drove north through winding roads and lanes, then across the Grand Union Canal to a place called Dunstable Downs. There were many people there, enjoying the walks and sights on a warm late summer day with the wind blowing breezily through my ears. I was getting excited about visiting the woods and hill tops I could see. However we seemed to be heading toward the Visitor Centre. I had a lovely surprise when I saw Raffa Beagle and her mum waiting for us. Raffa lives in Liverpool and was visiting locally for the day. We walked and woofed with each other whilst scenting the longer grass and admiring the views. Of course we were both asked if we would like strokes and belly rubs which were not turned down. We found a great hill to sit atop and watch the gliders take off and land. It was great fun all day, however we were sad when Raffa had to leave to go home again.
Monday through to Thursday I was able to drag one or the other pawrent around the fields or lanes locally. I even got to meet some Alpaca who live on a farm near me. I don’t go near them as one of them was attacked last year by an off lead dog.
Today was another adventure, this time to Ashridge Estate and Northchurch Common. We had driven past on our way to Dunstable on Sunday but this time we stopped and I got to experience all the sounds, sights and scents of the woods and long grass. We dexplored for about 2 hours and it was great fun to see somewhere new and get all the lovely scents in my nose. I saw squirrels leaping from tree to tree and would have enjoyed chasing them, had I not been shackled to my humum. It was fun wandering about not really knowing where you would end up. Its not big enough to get completely lost in the woods, but the scents and sights would keep me occupied for some considerable time.
It was quite windy which was welcomed as the scents were blown quickly into my nose and my ears flapped happily in the breeze.
We left after a couple of hours and I expected to return home. However we continued our adventure to the Tring Brewery for some “supplies”. I got to meet Ronnie the Lurcher cross whilst my humans made purchases. There was only one thing left to do when I got home. I had to run around my garden arooing at squirrels and making a noisy nuisance of myself.