Apparently I am obsessed with squirrels. I have no idea what this means. According to the people who make my dinner and get taken for a walk by myself and Lenny, I am forever walking between vantage points in the kitchen and dining room so I can spot when the grey furry invaders dare to enter my garden. In order to prove their point, one of my parents has watched me almost continuously today. If he hasn’t, it certainly feels like it. So, here begins the story of one day in the life of a Beagle (Harrier).
I woke up, got dressed and was immediately introduced to the overnight scents in the garden. About forty five minutes later, the scent of the first breakfast wafted upon my nostrils and I decided I would grace Lenny and the parents with my presence. It was somewhat of an unwanted interruption from squirrel scenting but sometimes needs must and all that. Having eaten my porridge and kibble (it’s actually quite nice) and then the obligatory marrow bone biscuit, Lenny and I were harnessed and off we go for our daily constitutional. Lenny went off with Dad separately today so I was off to pull mum around the fields. We reconvened at home and my baying at deer was duly reported to dad. Second breakfast was taken in the kitchen and we are supposed to go and lie down to sleep off our shenanigans. Herein lies the first problematic area with the request to snooze. Lenny being the goodie four paws goes and lays down and is quickly snoozing off his exertions. On the other paw, I always get this feeling that there is an invader in my garden. My favourite window pane has plenty of nose art on it. As I cannot see all my garden from a single vantage point I have to move around to the other window so I can see transversely towards the trees. It is at this point that certain parents want to know why I cannot just lay down and go to sleep like a certain younger brother of mine? And how was I to know that dad had a breakfast bowl full of cornflakes (other cereals are available, kids) when I decided to “stand under his feet”. Anyway, there wasn’t any movement in the garden so I retired to my bed on the sofa. Twenty minutes later I thought I might have heard something in the garden which would need investigation. I managed to wake up Lenny as well which meant there was double the quantity of parental eye rolling at our ability to stand in the wrong place at the wrong time. Use of “the” eyes is thus required to allow our release into the garden and we find ourselves running up and down the garden in pursuit of a squirrel that might have been there, some twenty or thirty minutes before. After a further thirty minutes or so, we decide that it is time to scrounge some training treats from a pliant human so we stand dolefully and quietly at the door waiting for our paws to be wiped upon entry to the house. Well, Lenny was quiet whilst I aroooed at the top of my lungs just out or dads reach. Sadly I didnt see the squirty water bottle with which I was squirted very expertly by dad. We retire to our beds once more and peace reigns. Suddenly its lunchtime which can only mean one thing. Off my bed and to my favourite window pane, I see a squirrel, arooo and whine constantly until I am released and I can chase it out of the orchard. I am tricked once more, this time by the scent of my most favourite snack of beef jerky. I am extremely obedient when beef jerky makes an appearance. Ok, I must admit that lunchtime is often when I can snooze for more than twenty minutes or so. The squirrel obsession count was five or six wanderings to the favourite window pane and five sessions of “annoying” whining. All before lunch, I was quite proud. Not sure where they get this obsession idea from though.
On to the afternoon and it is clearly time for the windows to be checked, both vantage points assessed and ensure that the garden is clear. There might have been a squirrel so this means I have to patrol and bay at the top of my lungs for forty minutes. Back in from the garden, I lay down in mums office and then I hear a noise that may be within a five mile radius. This means it may be in the garden, which means it may be a squirrel. Dad has to let us out again and then gets the blame when we arooo loudly and mum is trying to concentrate. This may have happened twice more before our dinner was served, somewhat late as usual. A quick snooze and I am back to the window pane for squirrel bothering and whining until I am released again. This time the garden patrol is only around twenty minutes so I can retire to my bed for a short time before Lenny and I are both released pre-teatime for our standard run around. Today it was a bit different as by the time we were ready to return to the house, dad had closed the curtains which means that my sight lines are closed off and I have little choice but to admit defeat for the remainder of daylight hours.
So ends the story of the day in my tormented life. I don’t think I am obsessed with squirrels, despite needing to chase them or at least try to spot them, every twenty minutes or so during daylight hours. Sadly Lenny doesn’t seem to share my love for all things squirrel shaped as he just does the bare minimum in chasing them off. Then he’s off to chew a stick or trying to annoy me with unplanned bitey face. I remain a bit worried by his apparent lack of concern for the squirrel invaders.
I am aware that I haven’t blogged for some time so I want to rectify that omission on my part. There is no excuse on my part however I have been busy. In any case, I can now dictate my latest missive for publication.
Lenny and I have had a hectic few weeks. I blame squirrels. I also blame the earth for spinning and orbiting the sun. Finally I blame the seasons, specifically one of them namely Autumn. Maybe I should try to explain.
As a beagle harrier I am hardwired to chase small furry creatures that dare to enter my line of sight. Recently there has been a plethora of creatures present on our walks. On our walk through hill and vale we are restrained so any sighting of an unsuitable creature bounding across the road or field ahead of us means we are only able to advance to the end of the industrial strength leads. Worse still they have been invading my garden in the search for food for the forthcoming winter season. We have apple trees which should provide us with tasty and nutritious fruit for eating in their natural state as well as being baked in pies and tarts. This is in an ideal world and doesn’t account for the activities of the local squirrel, magpie and blackbird populations. I say local but it seems to attract all and sundry from around a ten mile radius. If it was only the magpies or blackbirds, the world would be a sane and reasonable place. Sadly, with the addition of squirrels, the facade of calmness is removed and replaced instead with frantic door scratching, constant whimpering and persistent marching from one door to another so I can get a better view of the pesky creatures whilst they cavort in my garden, eat apples and then try to bury their winter food in the grass. Being a beagle harrier with expert vision up to a mile or so, it is extremely difficult for me to miss seeing them in the garden. I have to constantly remind the parents that I should be chasing these furry little chaps and I need to be let out. At this point I should also comment that my little brother Lenny doesn’t help the situation much. He will fly out of the door with me and chase the squirrels up and down the garden. Once the invaders have been repelled he will wander nonchalantly up to the orchard and pick an apple off and start to eat it. I need not describe the look of sheer horror and abject disappointment that I feel.
Having said all the above, Lenny and I actually caught a squirrel last week and were about to play tug of war until we were foiled by our parents. We were strolling around the patio having a sniff when all of a sudden, from the left side, this squirrel wandered towards us. We were stunned at his bravado. Did he not realise who we are? Did he not understand that we are hardwired to “attend” to small furry chaps such as himself. In any case it didn’t matter as within a second his head was in my mouth and I was trying to cuddle him with my teeth. Lenny ran around cheering me on whilst asking to pay tug with the squirrel. My fun was short-lived as a dad shaped object advanced quickly upon our shenanigans and I was told in no uncertain terms to “DROP IT”. I followed the instructions but Lenny then picked the squirrel up and started to practice his dental lobotomy on the furry little chap. We knew we were in big trouble when mum appeared on the scene and the fun was over. Dad still had to remove the very scared, and somewhat drool covered, squirrel from the garden. Fortunately he was wearing gloves as the squirrel bit the finger of the glove to show his gratitude at being saved from a certain doom. Dad had the foresight to loosen his finger from the glove so he wasn’t bitten.
So there you have it. I blame the seasons, the earth spinning and orbiting the sun and the fact that Autumn is upon us. If it wasn’t for all of these factors combining there wouldn’t be as many squirrels in my garden and I wouldn’t be driven to absolute distraction by them. That’s my story and I am sticking by it.
I do think that Lenny looks at me sometimes and wonders why. Just why?
Dad went to my nans funeral on Friday. Lenny and I knew there was something not right as dad seemed a little apprehensive on our morning walk. We had a nice walk and dad told us what good lads we are, but there seemed to be something in his voice that told me things were a little different. We didn’t mess about too much on our walk or when we got back home. We got a big hug and a kiss on the head each before he left.
He said everything went ok on Friday afternoon, kind of as you would expect a funeral to go, really. Due to the current restrictions on people attending services, there were only 26 people so it felt a little more personal than when grandad passed away and there were about 50-60 people there. He did a talk and said to people about the link with the past being cut, abruptly and leaving you with regrets that you didn’t say what you wanted to say. When he got home, dad told us that he loved us very much and we got another round of tickles. I might have scored a couple of gravy bones too, whilst Lenny was walking around the garden but he doesn’t have to know, does he?
Then on Saturday we woke up, had our first half of breakfast, went on our walk, returned to our second half of breakfast and proceeded to settle in for a nice snooze. Suddenly, knock knock on the window and Raffa Beagles mum is standing there waving furiously at us. What a lovely surprise for Lenny and I. We greeted auntie J in normal beagle fashion and then proceeded to play hide and seek in the garden. She lost as we are quite good at finding people.
After an hour or so we calmed sufficiently to roll over and snooze whilst the humans had a chat and caught up on life. We haven’t seen auntie J since early December 2019 and then were very saddened when poor sweet Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge on 4th February this year. We had been saving up our leg leans and licks for her since then. It was a lovely sunny day so we went into the garden and showed everyone how fast we can run circuits around the flowerbeds and across the patio. I think they were impressed. We were just settling in for a long laze and looking forward to tickles when auntie J said she had to leave so we gave her a cheery beagle send off. Then it was off to sleep.
Strange days clearly follow one another. From sadness and reflection to a feeling of joy seeing friends in the space of 24 hours. Take life as it comes everyone as you won’t know what is around the corner. As Raffa said, never give up when faced with challenges and live life to the full.