The travails of age

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farewell to another original

There appears to be an enduring thread running through many of my blogs over the last few years. Sadly the thread is not about holidays, extra treats or shenanigans with my younger brother. It is that another of my original friends has made their longest journey.

My friend Nut was rescued from a hunting pack here in Yorkshire, UK. She came to her forever home in 2012 and never looked back. Nut followed a line of rescue beagles including Bean and Boo. She was loved and cherished from the first day and she quickly adapted to life on the sofa, the big bed, other beds, more sofas and maybe a chair or two. When I joined social media in December 2013 Nut was one of the first pals that I chatted with and she seemed so happy and content with her life. We met up when I visited Sheffield in December 2016 and I had the pleasure, nay privilege, of strolling about with Nut, her little brother Oggy and many other pals. We had a great day despite it being quite soon after Boo had made her longest journey.

Nut ensured that her house was made to be welcoming and friendly. This is shown by her letting Oggy come and live with her. Oggy arrived from a horrid testing laboratory in Europe. Nut stepped up immediately and took him under her paw and made sure he was looked after and got to know all the best things about being rescued. After Oggy’s arrival it was another two years before Oscar arrived, from Cyprus Beagles. Now the more observant of readers may notice that my little brother also arrived from Cyprus Beagles but I was assured by Nut that Oscar had no vampiric tendencies. Oscar was welcomed with equal love by Nut.

Nut enjoyed her life. Even after she had managed to injure her ligaments in one of her back legs and knowing she would need an operation she still wanted to do all the beagle things we are known for. The doctors were worried about the operation as Nut had been diagnosed with stage 3 heart murmur but she bravely went for the op as she knew she still had shenanigans to do, little brothers to watch over and a family to look after.

And then on Monday this week I heard that Nut’s body told her it was tired and couldn’t keep going. Nut started on her longest journey surrounded by the love she had received and given to others since 2012. The room is quieter and there is a feeling of sadness that pervades. Oggy and Oscar are wondering where their sister is which is wholly understandable as they come to terms with Nut being held in their hearts and not stealing their toys or the eggs that Oscar so delicately looks after.

So it is that I say farewell Nut. Sweet Nut who made the lives of many so much better, more fulfilled and enriched just by being herself. Travel well and feel the warmth of the everlasting sun upon your fur in the never ending meadow where the squirrels run slowly. Seek out those who have gone before and join the growing pack of those dearly departed.

Farewell but never goodbye, for one day we will meet again. Until that day I shall hold you in my heart.

Oh Eddy.

Following hot on the heels of from my blog about Tyrrell making her way to the Rainbow Bridge, I heard about another of my oldest buddies who’s body had told him it was tired and time to make his longest journey. This is indeed a sad time. So many of my original friends have now made their final journey, I’m feeling a bit lonely.

Eddy was a typical Yorkshire lad. Happy to be out and about, doing all the rufty tufty stuff that beagles love to do. Eddy was usually found in the woods, out in the fields, seeing his nan or greeting the many people who come to visit him.

He was born in June 2010, which makes him a month younger than me. I had known of Eddy since I started my Twitter account back in December 2013. I met Eddy when I made a surprise visit to Yorkshire and said hello to many pals in December 2016. We wandered around the reservoir and had a great time sniffing until we ended up at the cafe to watch the parents drink coffee to warm themselves up. We struck up a friendship immediately and it never faltered. I always enjoyed hearing of Eddy and see what he was getting up to, as he was forever having adventures and a great time.

Eddy was recently diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus after feeling lethargic, having quite some temperature and going off his food and water. Then his body told him that it was tired and he took his longest journey on Thursday 18th August.

Eddy my friend, we will all miss you, with your parents of course missing you the most. There is a little comfort in knowing that you are suffering no more. Run free big fella, find those who have gone before and who rest in the everlasting meadow with the sun on your fur. Your infectious smile will keep us all feeling happy and privileged to have been your friends.

An annual concern

Today is one of those days when I worry about what will happen next. I am reluctantly handing over my blog to my younger brother who isn’t really my brother. I have taken him under my wing so to speak and shown him the ways of the beagle. Anyway, here goes.

Hello, it is I, Lenny. I’m four today! I don’t know what that means but I do know it comes with treats, a birthday card, extra tickles and a stroll around my new favourite place, being the Paw Paddock. I think I can get used to this sort of attention. Dex has been told he has to be nice to me today (although he usually is!) and I get first dibs on biscuits and treats albeit for one day only.

We went nice and early to the Paw Paddock and I was let off lead to run around like a fur possessed. Instead I merely wandered off, sniffed and then strolled back to a parent to be re-shackled after fifteen minutes or so.

Chicken flavoured treats may have assisted in my recall however I want it known that I have been complemented on my recall generally in recent times. Dex was released and he too just strolled about and then disappeared to the other end of the paddock. When he returned, again to the sound of a treat bag being rustled, he was promptly re-attached and I was again released.

There were some tasty rabbit droppings that I wasn’t told off for eating so, I assume, it must be a special day.

We returned home just in time for the forecast rain to start falling. Its been dry as a bone here for a couple of months so this little period of rain is very welcome. We avoided getting wet and now I’ve been told I can laze on whichever chair I want for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to laze on the big bed however that was deemed too cheeky and is out of bounds. In due course I will expect my food to be served and then I will relax for the rest of the day.

I’m a lucky lad to be honest and sensible for a moment. I want for little (apart from snoozing on the big bed) and Dex is a good brother to me. He’s had more of these birthday things than I have, although I shouldn’t say “three times as many”.

Travel well

It has been very warm here in the UK over recent days. Some may say tropical and I have to agree with that sentiment. As I age it seems that the heat gets to me more readily and I feel rather unwell more often than I would like. Fortunately my parents are somewhat in tune with my inability to tolerate high heat throughout the day and night and they are aware that I need numerous trips to the garden during the twilight hours to make sure the carpets don’t need professional cleaning. During my day time wandering around the house, Lenny looks up from his various sleeping positions and casts a wistful eye upon my predicament. He doesn’t seem to suffer the same level of heat illness that I do, which is good. In any case we were supposed to go to the beach yesterday however, due to the weather remaining in the high 30’s and me still feeling a little poorly, we decided against it.

Waking up yesterday I strolled around the house, patrolled the garden looking for squirrels or cats and returned to be shackled and made ready to go for a walk. As I look up my dad looked at mum and said the phrase which is becoming far too familiar to my friends and I recently. He uttered “Another one has made their longest journey”, at which point Lenny and I got a tickle and were told that we are very precious.

Nine weeks old.

I have never met Tyrrell as she lived in Australia with her sister Tink, along with their mums. Lenny and I were privileged to meet their mums at the Beagle World Record Reunion. Tyrrell was fifteen recently and celebrated with a stroll into the park and a wade into the river. She was one of my first pals on Twitter and since I first spoke to her, I knew she was a funny and happy beagle. She was one of the naughty beagles who did some very silly things and cost her mum a fair chunk of money in vets bills. Eating part of her Greenies Toothbrush as well as chewing and consuming a nice handbag are a good indication of her ability to endear herself to her mum, as well as the vets bank account. She loved her little sister despite saying she “sort of liked” her but, I suppose, its a little like Lenny and I. Young siblings are a bit of a pain sometimes even if secretly we love them very much. I don’t think that Tink had the same vampiric tendencies as Lenny so Tyrrell was spared the indignity of having her ears look like colanders. Tink will miss her an awful lot, as they have been living with each other for eleven years or so. Tyrrell amused me by playing along with my stereotypical efforts at telling her to watch out for dangerous snakes, spiders, crocodiles, jellyfish and death drop bears all of which inhabit Australia. She reassured me that there were no saltwater crocs in her local river, but I wasn’t so sure. I do notice that she sometimes sent Tink into the river first though, probably just to check it out.

She was a friend to all, she laughed, joked and cried with the rest of us whenever we shared stories of fun and sadness. Now she is no longer in sight, only forever in our hearts and minds and we will all remember her with love and respect for being a fun and happy fur. When I heard that she hadn’t been well recently and, it seems, she was suffering, her mum took the most difficult but kindest decision. She was holding Tyrrell as she slipped away to make her longest journey. This is all we ask from our parents. Love and kindness when we are here, then love and compassion when it is time for us to leave.

I lay awake early this morning and looked around. Lenny was in his bed next to me snoozing quietly whilst my parents were catching the last vestiges of sleep before we pounce on dads kidneys on our way to the kibble bag in mums bedside cabinet. I realised that I am the luckiest beagle ever. I’m getting older and a bit wobblier every day but I still get to run around chasing Lenny and getting gently told off by mum and dad when I eat something disgusting on a walk.

Run free Tyrrell sweetie, find those who have gone before you and relax in the warmth of the everlasting meadow and their companionship. Your friendship, humility and fun will live on.

Farewell to another friend, never goodbye. Rest easy Tyrrell.

Paw Paddock runaround

My vampiric little brother, who isn’t an actual blood relation went off to the local, and new, enclosed paddock yesterday morning to test it out for our future entertainment. He appears to have given it a solid thumbs or he would if he had opposable thumbs. We would also be able to break into the treat jar if he had thumbs, but that’s for another blog.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand (or paw). A new paddock area has opened in my village and we decided we would try it out. Since I had shown signs of leg ache from the previous Beagle Derby the parents decided it was wiser to get Lenny to test it out and then I can go along the next day to make sure he was telling the truth.

In
Come
ing
Its fun.

He returned home with tales of fun and laughter, of scents and of freedom to run around like a fool for a while.

On the back of this advice I needed to make sure he was telling the truth so, this morning…

It is indeed fun

I can vouch for his honesty, on this occasion. I had a great time running about, scenting and trying to find field food to eat. We will be going back, of that I am certain. I suspect it wont be together as we tend to get a little over enthusiastic and I find myself a little lame in the hip for a day.

If my current snoring is anything to go by, I think it will be fairly soon. The parents are enjoying the peace and quiet. How rude.

A nostalgic trip to Brighton

It’s summer, the heat is turned up, the people long for a trip away from their daily lives and a visit to the seaside is a British tradition. I have been to the beach on a number of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Eating dead sea creatures, walking through the tidal mud and sand, and pulling parents across the breakwaters seem to be a speciality. I have even taught Lenny to practice the art of parental misguidance when we are beach bound.

I have not been to one of the most famous beaches in Britain however and, looking through some of my grandads photos, I saw something that intrigued me. Here are some pictures taken in 1963 and the place is almost deserted compared to the hustle and bustle of today.

Tickets please.

I can say these were taken in 1963 as the Volks Railway opened on 3rd August 1883. The train pictured proudly states its the 80th anniversary. It is still operated as a historical seafront attention running between the Aquarium and Black Rock. Check the suited chaps on the deckchairs taking the sea air.

A stroll along the promenade was a popular way of getting some clean air, away from the smoke and grime of the big cities. Brighton became popular in the late 1700’s when the King, George IV was a regular visitor. The arrival of the railways in 1841 undoubtedly assisted further in its rise in popularity, as people with a few pennies to spare could escape from London for the day and spend their time at the beach.

Along the coast to the east

I enjoy the contrast in this picture. See the gent in the long coat and hat, and then notice the man and child just coming out of the water; the deck chairs filled with people in suits and dresses. I think it is roughly where Brighton Marina is now.

Many things have changed since these photos were taken. Many things. For good or bad? I will leave that to you to decide. I want to go to Brighton one day, maybe I will see these places and find out how much they’ve really changed.

I’m back

I am wholly aware that I haven’t blogged in, what is for me, a long time. Even us furry wannabe bloggers get writers block sometimes; feeling that there is little or nothing to report which may be of interest. In any case I digress. Today I realised that there had actually been some things that had happened.

In late June Lenny and I were treated to another one of those things we like so much, a surprise trip out. We had no idea where we were going. All we knew was that we were being incarcerated in our travel crates and off we go on a magical mystery tour. I looked at Lenny who looked at me, we shrugged our collective shoulders and laid down to await our release. We arrived at our destination, a large gate was opened and then shut firmly behind the car. We looked out of the car and it resembled one of the scenes from the Great Escape. Out we got once we were on our leads and we were marched into a large semi grassed paddock area. Round the perimeter we walked, with the parents muttering to one another about safety, holes in the fence and keeping a close eye on us. Still we weren’t dissuaded that we were to bump into Ives, Big X and Hilts. Suddenly Lenny was released from his lead. He stood there, looked around and then strolled off. He was free to roam around which he duly took advantage of. I was still shackled so couldn’t join him in bitey face shenanigans with additional running around singing the song of the breed. He strolled, mooched and wandered. He was called back and duly returned for which he was given hefty congratulations and a gravy bone. Duly re-harnessed he then watched as I was unclipped from my lead and allowed to roam free for a while. I should countenance this by commenting that I heard both parents mutter under their collective breaths “this could be interesting and I suspect he’s not coming back on command”. Just to prove them wrong I wandered off, sniffed, ran about, bayed loudly, ran about some more and then came back upon recall.

This is fun

I was then re-harnessed and Lenny was released again. This went on for just shy of an hour and I have to admit it was great fun. Returning to the car we both slept until we arrived home and breakfast was supplied. Apparently we are going to go again to Paw Paddock near Horsham.

A puppy again.

It’s hot out there. Our walks seem to have got earlier as the summer has progressed but I wont complain. I am still going on separate walks to Lenny so we don’t encourage one another to pull and jerk on our leads when trying to get to the same place. I have mainly been strolling past the stables in the early morning when the sun hasn’t had a chance to scorch the grass brown. Lenny has been up hill and down dale past the little church, going either to the next village or down in the cool shady lane toward the woods. It’s ok actually as I am slowing down significantly now. I prefer to sniff and amble along so, not having Lenny to annoy me, is pleasing. He likes to go at his own pace which is apparently akin to a snail sometimes but he gets his enjoyment out of not being on my sniffari. Once home we are then confined to the house and garden during the day so we don’t have the chance of overheating and falling ill.

Pffft, too warm.

Finally for now it was highly amusing to see Lenny’s face last week when he was escorted to the vet for his annual check up. He was prodded, poked, jabbed and had kennel cough vaccine sprayed up his nose. The vet said he was in fine fettle and he was given a five day course of antibiotics for a little inflection he had. Thankfully that has now gone. Anyway I tried not to laugh at him when he came dolefully through the door into the house, complaining about being tricked into going to the vet and grumbling about parental chicanery. Like I say I did try not to laugh, kind of.

Go away, I’m not happy.

So now you’re all caught up. We cannot wait to get back to the relative freedom of the Paw Paddock but I think Lenny s counting the days until the next annual vet visit. He’s muttering something about going on holidays when that date comes around.

My brother

He’s been here three years today and I, for one, am very pleased he’s here. When he crashed through the front door in 2019 I wondered what exactly had just happened.

We squabbled, bickered and chased one another around the garden for the first weeks much to the concern of our parents. Once we had been able to settle ourselves we have lived noisily alongside each other, again much to the concern of our parents.

He is here to stay and I am so happy that he has a safe home which will let him live a good life.

A change of scenery

I am aware that I haven’t blogged any of my adventures recently. In order to rectify this situation I made sure I was accompanied by a responsible adult and they took some pictures.

It was a bright and warm morning to explore the lanes to the west of the village. We set off at a quickened pace to ensure we didn’t miss any rabbits, squirrels or cats that may want to stroll across my path. We turned right at the end of the road, avoided being run over by the Sunday morning traffic and then right again onto the lane which took us to the edge of the village and beyond. We are lucky that there is a belt of greenery around the village and once past the houses, we can look across the fields toward the South Downs. Along the lane we marched, all the while with my nose no higher than 3 centimetres from the ground.

Up the hill we went, one of us scenting and the other puffing. Past the church and turn right again at the top of the hill.

This is where we would ordinarily continue to Thakeham which is the next village along. Here the instruction was given to me that we would only go to the first gate. I would usually squabble and pull a bit, however I was already warm and feeling a bit tired so I compliantly turned for home. I did managed to eat some greens though.

We managed a quick view of Chanctonbury and then descended the hill and back toward the village.

A sharp right meant a quick stroll through the village itself and I could try to introduce myself to a certain tabby cat that sits in a garden. Sadly he wasn’t around so the walk went without a hitch.

We returned home and a quick session of beating up Lenny ensued before our breakfast. It must be my age though, as I was pretty soon fast asleep on the floor.

A good walk was had. I wonder where I will go tomorrow.