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.

Same breed? Really?

It has recently become more obvious, to me at least, that Lenny and I are very different.

We have been going on our walks and meeting various other four legged pals around the village. We have some new buddies called Bear and Loki who are a Chocolate Labrador and a Caucasian Ovtcharka respectively. At this point you may need to look up Loki’s breed as I am not sure how to describe him, apart from fun, large and boisterous. Bear is a big lad and a friendly happy dog to boot. I don’t mind happy pals and I’m content to try and play rough house with them, albeit whilst shackled to one of my parents. Loki is only four months old but is already twice my size and twice my weight at thirty kilos. He is going to be an even bigger lad than Bear. In any case, I met both Bear & Loki yesterday and I was quite happy to see them. Fast forward to this morning and Lenny is out for his stroll with dad. As they turn the corner of the road, Bear & Loki are coming toward Lenny. He sounded the alarm immediately and tried to hide behind dad when Loki came to say hello. The fur near his tail was raised and Loki’s mum gently put Loki back on the lead. Lenny doesn’t like boisterous dogs, either puppies or adult. Yet he is quite happy to be boisterous with me, as can be seen from previous blogs where we spend the majority of our waking hours have extended snout jousting in the garden. Yet he meets Bear and Loki and retreats behind his human for safety. We are still trying to work out the difference between rough housing with me and with other pals.

That’s just one example. Another occurred yesterday when Lenny watched a squirrel run across the road ahead. He stood and watched a squirrel, without a sound, without a leg quiver as it scampered left to right, five metres ahead of him. I would have been doing an impressive impression of the Town Crier if the tree rat had been in front of me. Now, whether he knew he couldn’t get to it or he was just stunned to see one, I don’t know. I will be having words with him though.

Finally, for the time being, I submit the following evidence that my brother is a strange sort. He has just had his dinner and is now curled up snoring in the cave bed you see in this picture. He likes to be covered and have the sunlight removed so he can snooze. I actually wonder if this confirms my fear that he is a vampire.

Compare that to this picture where I cannot handle being covered in any way, preferring instead to remain in the sun, with merely a blanket and a throw to keep me comfy.

I have never liked being covered by blankets or have clothes put on me. Only if its freezing cold or pouring rain will I reluctantly allow a jacket of some description to be attached to me. Sometimes I am not sure he’s even a beagle.

Strange boy my brother.

Suns out!

As it will soon be Spring properly here in the UK, it seems appropriate that the weather has decided to play ball and get a bit warmer during the day. The early mists are quickly dissipated by the sun which means we can get out into the garden to relax on our soft beds on benches. Anyone would think we are spoilt.

It is supposed to get a bit chillier next week so I, for one, will be enjoying the warm early Spring weather whilst it lasts.

Now all I have to do is wait for the seeds and bulbs to be planted so I can accidentally dig them up again.

I don’t know what to say

With the world in such mess it seems that whatever I think about writing is trivial. My life goes on whilst countless other people are having their lives abruptly halted through nefarious means. Hate, war, death and hardship stalks far too many people and I feel somewhat insulated from it all here. I have a comfy life with walks, food and (probably) too many beds to sleep in. I will not go into the politics of it all, as many others have already done so, and I am merely a beagle.

Lenny and I are getting walked every day come rain or shine. The routes are becoming more familiar each day and we are looking forward to Spring arriving so the off road paths can dry out somewhat. Then the number of trails will increase and we wont be walking the same three or four routes as we are now. I’m a regular jogger with mum now as we bimble past the barn, stables and then a couple of farms on our four mile a day jaunt. Lenny is becoming very good at walking on a lead without pulling according to dad. This doesn’t include the two occasions when cats have been spotted ahead and Lenny’s enthusiasm has been stifled by dads quick reaction in sliding his hand down the lead. He has got close however he is continually restricted in his efforts to “play” with cats. He is also being tired out through having walks between five and seven miles. I have certainly noticed my ears haven’t taken such a battering from his teeth recently.

Thankfully the wind of recent times seems to have left us alone for a couple of weeks now and we need only look forward to the Spring rain making our garden into a soggy mess so Lenny and I can get way too much soil under our dew claws. We have some plants in the garden too and, of course, Lenny and I have helped to water them. We can gloss over a story about a certain rufty tufty beagle who was caught (allegedly) eating a mixture of clay, manure and potting compost which had been used to try and give the shrubs a good head start.

And there it is, my current life in a couple of paragraphs. It pales into insignificance when I see and hear what other people and their pets are going through just to survive. I shall report again when, or if, something happens which is worthy of mention. In the meantime I’m off for a nap.

Eunice sounded so lovely.

As we were tucked into bed last night, we were told that there was an early walk on the cards due to a visit from Eunice. We aren’t averse to early morning strolls, however looking out and seeing the strong winds and lashing rain, our fervour for a stroll was lessened. Being rufty tufty beagles we braved the elements which, thankfully, had eased and we had only the wind to contend with. Usually I like the wind as it blows all the scents into my nose and I dont have to work too hard sniffing them. Today was a little extreme though and it felt like the scents were being propelled by a leaf blower, on its highest setting.

We returned and ate our usual (small) breakfast, we ran around the house playing, got told off by being noisy and then quietly laid next to each other silently chewing on our opposing ears. This of course was noticed and we were told off again. Ugh, boring. Then I heard it, a whistling and rumbling, all around the house and across the garden. The wind had picked up considerably and was blowing heavy stuff about in the garden. One of the benches was being moved almost as if a poltergeist was present. Dad went off to move the bench, flower pots and other heavy items to places of relative safety. We were allowed out to explore and we noticed the strength of the wind in our ears. Lenny was into the garden and then back in the house quickly whilst I was strolling about having a good snooter. Back indoors and the wind whistled and rattled around the house. I heard crunch and crash as a tree fell over outside and within ten minutes there were tree fellers cutting up the remains of the tree to take it away. No one hurt and no damage so all was good. It wasn’t even lunchtime and I was wandering around worrying about the wind. I hate the noise it makes. For some reason it really unsettles me. Lenny, on the other paw, couldn’t care less, snoozing away in my chair.

I cannot smell squirrels in this wind.

After lunch we returned to the garden, had another explore and found loads of sticks and twigs to chew and play with. The wind still howled at times, although I was more comfortable outside in the garden than I was in the house. Apparently I am a strange boy sometimes. As the wind abated my fears receded and I could relax a little. I thought I could relax, but Lenny was still occupying my chair so we had to have a session of noisy bitey face snout jousting to sort out who’s chair it was. I lost so slinked away on to the sofa to get complimentary ear tickles from a parent.

Up a bit, and left a bit.

Eunice seems to have disappeared now, although her legacy will last for a few days yet. The possibility of trees being weakened means that it is unlikely Lenny and I will get walks in the woods for the foreseeable future. Hey ho, we will just have to make do with pulling our parents around the usual routes.

Nice knowing you Eunice, but feel free not to call again.

Just like London buses

Two come along close to one another.

We set off early this morning in the crisp pre dawn air. I decided that I would help mum jog along one lane whilst Lenny had plumped for dragging dad along a different road. I seem to have mastered the art of beagling whilst not stopping too often. I can sniff and scent whilst keeping moving. I can pull gently to one side or the other again whilst keeping my legs going in a forward direction. There are of course certain things that require me to stop although we will gloss over those for the sake of this missive. It was lovely and quiet along the lane toward Knepp this morning. We made our merry way through the trees and alongside the fields, where no doubt critters abound. The chill air seems to hold the scent at ground level so I fill my nose with the aroma of familiar foes. I am usually home a little before Lenny as he hasn’t quite mastered the “sniff and stroll” technique. My twenty minutes without my brother is usually filled with being cleaned and then running around the house safe in the knowledge that vampiric fangs are not travelling toward my appendages and extremities.

When he does arrive home, and has been cleaned, then it is time for bitey face shenanigans to take place until the parents decide they’ve had enough of us “annoying the entire road” with my incessant shouting.

Lenny did tell me that he had dragged dad down a very muddy country lane and it wasnt until they were well on their way that dad realised it was too muddy and was turning back. Lenny said that he will try again next time they are down that way as he is determined to make sure dad knows what it is like to be a beagle in mud.

Always find time to sniff the flowers. Tomorrow they may have gone.

The sun showing its face is always welcome as we can wander about the garden and get some warmth on our fur. Sadly we are normally accompanied by a parent who keeps their eye on extensive snout jousting, for fear of it waking the neighbours. As if we would do such a thing? So this mornings stroll around the grounds was augmented with plenty of standing about, pointing our faces at the sun, sniffing the air and wondering when lunchtime was.

Squirrels live there. Just over there.

Live life every day pals, as tomorrow it may be rainy and dull.

Nothing to say, or say nothing

I am aware that I haven’t blogged in a while. My brain is in something of a cloud since I had my vet visit in January this year. I am due to go back for my annual boosters tomorrow as long as I am feeling better which, it seems, I am. As the vet didn’t get the results of my test back in time, they decided that my inoculations would wait so I get the pleasure of another trip there. Anyway it appears I have campylobacter Jejuni or some such ailment. Apparently its present, but dormant, in quite a few dogs and we live our lives in our free spirited way for most of the time. On this occasion though it seems that my campylobacter decided it wanted to have a big party and invited all its friends, even though we are still under some restrictions and I am not sure if I should be selling the pictures to the media. I shall report back in due course once the vet has seen me again and done the usual prodding and poking of my various areas. I am confident I am over the current bout of illness however.

Our walks have been taken separately due to Lenny and I still competing for the same scent at the same time, causing our parents to complain more loudly than usual of arms being pulled out of shoulders. We have heard rumours that if there was a Beagle Sled Dog Championship, we are front runners. Literally. The walks are the normal routes, although I have been jogging along with mum whilst Lenny takes longer walks with dad. We both return with tales to tell but only after we have chased one another around the house and indulged the neighbours ears with loud bouts of bitey face snout jousting shenanigans. To be honest, I am hoping that Spring arrives soon as it means the really muddy paths which we cannot go along currently will dry out and our parents will be able to navigate them successfully. It’s easy for us with four paw drive. We need more walks to explore and alleviate the tedium of the same three or four walks we are currently on. The views are ok, but I think we are missing the far reaching ones we had when we were patrolling around our old town. We’ve settled in to the new walks as we have been here for just over a year now. We do know where all the local squirrels and cats live which is always fun if the parents aren’t concentrating. Problem is that now they know I have a dicky tummy, the parents are on permanent lookout for field food which may find its way accidentally behind my teeth as I stroll along.

It’s nice here, better than the streets of Cyprus.

I cannot believe sometimes that it has been a year since we arrived in our new kennel. The time has just flown and I can’t keep up. I think we have made the house our own now, with beds and blankets strewn in strategic positions around the rooms. We have to listen to complaints about things being trip hazards but I am not sure it is our fault that the parents don’t look where they are going when they carry stuff.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I hope life gets a bit more interesting soon, as I am feeling a bit blue and melancholy at the moment. Maybe its age, maybe it’s my old bones or just having to live with Lenny. In any case, hurry up Spring as I am ready for some more adventures in the days ahead.

That wasn’t my idea of a big day

On Thursday last week I overheard that it was going to be a “big day” on Friday for me. I went to bed with a smile on my face and wondered what I was going to get up to.

Friday arrived and I had my same walk with dad in the morning. We returned home with the rest of the day ahead of us. The excitement built, and then fell, as lunch passed without incident. Lenny and I had our tea at the normal time and still it didn’t seem to be much of a “big day”. As time marched on toward Biscuit O’Clock I suddenly found myself being harnessed and I was leaving the house for another walk. Maybe this was the “big” part of the day? Along the High Street, past the small store and down towards the bottom end of the village I ventured with dad. As soon as we reached the end of the street, we turned up the little steps and I was presented with a view of a door. Sadly the door led to the vet. I had been tricked. Hoodwinked! It was time for my annual check up. According to my dad, it was a check up from the neck up.

The nice vet lady asked me to sit on the scale and made note of my weight. She looked at my pearly whites, felt my ribs and tummy and listened to my heart with a stethoscope.

Then it started; the divulgence of information on my recent bodily habits. Thanks dad! I didn’t authorise any of the details to be made public so I sat there looking embarrassed whilst he told the vet all my innermost secrets. I have been having tummy troubles recently. I had a few days after Christmas Day when I struggled to keep food in my body. This seemed to clear up after three days and all went along as expected. Then it all seemed to start again. I was visiting my garden about four times a night for a few days and then making numerous visits another 4-5 times a day. As a result I was starved for 24 hours to make sure it wasn’t a parasite or other nasty creature. When I went back to food, I noticed that there were certain items missing from my diet, such as fish tiddlers and gravy bones. My food was predictably bland, consisting of tasty kibble and tasty chicken. Sorry, I meant to say boring kibble and boring chicken. I was still being watched pretty much all the time just in case I had an accident in the house. Unfortunately the revised diet and 24 hour starve didn’t seem to have the desired effect and I have been somewhat under the weather.

As a result of my entire biological history being divulged to the vet I managed to avoid getting a jab in my behind, at least for a few days. I am having some antibiotic tablets, that I apparently know nothing about, in my food. The gravy bone supply has completely dried up. My food has been bland, dull and extremely boring for the last two weeks or so. The vet lady said I didn’t seem to be too bad when she was examining me. Just because I was wagging my tail, arooing at her and not listening to dad when I was told sit, I am not sure what gave it away. I thought this means I am being a beagle. One good thing to come out of it all is this though. Dad has to collect some “samples” from me when we are out on our walk so I get to try and run rings around him, tangling my leads. That’ll teach him for giving the vet all my personal details. I am going back on Tuesday for another check up. If I am better then I fear the javelin in my feathery behind.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I think I am just getting older and my body is changing. I cannot tolerate as many foods as I could a few years ago. I knew this time was coming and I am, of course, taking it all in my stride without complaint. I will eat my kibble and chicken without grumbling. I know that I am still here and I am, overall in good order and condition. I will have to try not to listen to Lenny crunching on tasty biscuits whilst I am on bland kibble. I shall soldier on, as always.

Gone too soon.

At 12.15 today 7th January 2022 my cousin Minnie made her longest journey. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on New Years Eve. I wanted to place in writing my admiration for her.

Minnie was found tied to a fence in Epping Forest, which is on the north east London and Essex borders. Her rescuers estimated she was between 15-18 months old when she was found. This was in 2017. Just let that sink in a little. She wasn’t even two years old and she had been abandoned!

Minnie’s first day

Once she had been rescued and was being looked after, my auntie and uncle went to see Minnie and decided she would go to live with them. I found out very soon after they had made the decision to adopt Minnie. My heart sang with happiness. I knew she would be looked after like royalty as they had rescued greyhounds before and both of the greyhounds had lived wonderfully happy lives. So it was that in early October 2017 Minnie found herself a forever home and she quickly set about making it her manor. She was swiftly into training her new parents and getting them used to servicing her every whim.

Minnie walked every day, she went on holidays to Suffolk and Cornwall. When she was away, she waded in the sea, chased rabbits in the long grass, whizzed along the beach after her ball and laid roaching in the sand with a grin on her face. She was a pub dog, she visited homes and gardens, she went to see her grandparents and I even got to meet her once. Sadly I made an idiot of myself and I have felt guilty ever since. At home she would be chasing deer, rabbits and squirrels across the marshy areas around the river Arun. She even managed to need rescuing by the Fire and Rescue people as she got stuck on a little island in the middle of a tidal river. She had swam across and could not return.

After her shenanigans in the river she was limping a little and it wasn’t getting better so she was looked over by the vet and it was thought she would need some treatment for what seemed a strain type injury. When the X-Rays came back, the prognosis changed as there were signs of advanced cancer in her front right leg and shoulder.

Minnie made her longest journey today. She follows many others to the place where there is no pain or suffering and where there is only soft light and warm meadows. It is the kindest and yet most difficult decision that our parents can make for us when our bodies are tired and cannot keep going.

I will miss you Minnie. Very much.

Today I have the saddest ears, for Minnie was a sweetie of a dog. She was, and is, an angel in the true sense as she was happy and loved and she touched the lives of all those who came across her. She had a great life once she had been rescued and found her forever home. My auntie and uncle changed her life, and changed it for the better. They gave Minnie a life of love, comfort and showed her she was cherished. She will be looking down at them with love in her heart.

Run free Minnie furcuz, free from aches, ills and pain. Free to chase the rabbits for as long as you want. Free to feel the warm sun on your back. You are released from your duties down here. Farewell Minnie, for it is never goodbye. We shall meet again some day.