We only went and had another adventure this morning. I suppose it helped our cause that we jumped up and down on dad at 6 am. We made sure he couldn’t lay in bed and be lazy. We were then released into the garden early and chased off the squirrels who dared to play on the premises whilst we were sleeping. The first half of our breakfast was served and then we were duly harnessed up to our various parents. For my sins I was attached to mum so I knew I had to behave.
Out of the house and along the lane, across the road and down past the river with the rock snake (a snake like line of rocks not an actual scary serpent). We went past the pub and then towards the paradise of a nice quiet walk around the lanes of Pednor, sniffing the rabbits and squirrels as we went. As it happens, there was a road closure so cars were being redirected down our nice quiet lane. What a liberty, do people not realise we had walks to do. Anyway, we continued over the little hill and checked out every single hedge and tussock of grass for scents of rabbit and squirrel. Sadly we didn’t manage to spot the rabbits playing in the field. We found out the rabbits were there because mum and dad saw them and “forgot” to tell us.
We decided to turn left at the bottom of the lane. We had arrived at the strangely named Herberts Hole. No one seems to know how it came by its name but I am pleased we know where it is, as it’s traffic free and the views are very pleasant.
We walked past the old barn and then up to the next junction where we could have climbed up the path to Blind Lane. However dad was still feeling a bit lazy so we decided to stroll back along Herberts Hole to the road.
We turned right and then left through the gate and onto the diagonal path across the two fields. As we went into the second field the horses were mooching about, eating grass and generally doing horse type things. Lenny shook to show them he was friendly. I think they just ignored him. I try to do the same, but he usually bites me to attract my attention. At this point we spotted about twenty rabbits who scattered very quickly as Lenny decided to test the bungee strength on the lead. Dad wasn’t for moving though.
Out of the gate and turn right back onto the lane. I gave Lenny the nod to warn him we were on the way home and he duly applied the beagle brakes. Sadly for us dad is a bit more impatient than mum and we tend to find ourselves moving a bit quicker than we would prefer. So it was back past the pub and within a far too short period we were at home, just in time to run around the garden chasing each other and getting very dirty paws. Again, we had beaten the 9 am time limit for our shenanigans. Today though we were content to be back early as the sun was out and the weather was really rather warm.
Where shall we go next? Will we have fun? I suspect I already know the answer to the second question.
Introspection has had its time. Whilst I enjoy thinking about things I also enjoy having a good walk and snooter about in some of my favourite places.
This morning I was shackled to mum so Lenny had the pleasure of walking around the fields with the immovable object, aka dad. A quick check to make sure the coast was clear for social distancing and we were on our way. “Let them decide which way they want to go”, says mum. A wink and a woof with Lenny and we decide to go the fields. There will be plenty of deer, rabbit and squirrel trails there. Its Monday morning and the trails will be fresh.
Turn left and along the footpath, then left again, through the trees and sit at the road like the good boys we are. Through the gate and into the first field. Breathe in. Smell the scents, the heady aroma of fun and frolicsome adventures. And let the daily pulling on the lead session begin!
Around the first field and then straight on through the second, left at the hedgerow and we get the first refusal from mum as we want to go along the tree line where we know the best deer scents are and we do our best baying. We are told some guff about it being early and waking up half the town when we smell the deer so we are forced to turn right. Sadly for mum, we smell it anyway as we skirt the barley in the field. The hill is alive with the sound of aroooo. I’m sure there’s a song in there somewhere. To the next hedge, turn left, then right at the other end to make sure we cover both sides of it much to the exasperation of mum and dad.
Thence to the big field, the mile field, the best field as it holds the most scents and we can bay away. We can also shark our way through the barley, which bends and springs back once we have woven our way through on the trail of mice and small critters. As we emerge every now and then, we have wet bonces which makes mum and dad laugh at our “stupidity”. Also our silly grins confirm we are enjoying ourselves.
Out of the field and we are suddenly at the top of “Squirrel Alley”. This is more usually known as Penn Grove and a wander through always provides the fun of chasing the little furries back up their trees. We are not sure mum and dad enjoy it as much though, slipping on the loose gravel as we pull and yank in so many different directions at the same time. I was particularly impressed with Lenny’s “pancaking” this morning. His ability to splay all four legs and lower his trajectory to almost scrape his belly, in pursuit of the elusive squirrel, was admirable, as was his ability to kick up dirt and gravel all over dad. Oh my, how we laughed.
Once we realise we are on our way back, I give Lenny the nod and he starts to apply the “Beagle Brakes” so the return is slowed considerably, much to the frustration of our staff who need to get back as they have “things to do”. The brakes are applied more readily as we get closer to home but we then speed up again when we realise we are going through Duck Alley (this one is actually called Duck Alley). I always leap into the river for a cooling paddle, whilst Lenny usually dips his toe nails and stands in the mud along the edges. Yesterday he managed a full “up to his belly” stroll through the river although mum did have to go in as well, in her wellies. Through the little wood and back to our house for food and shenanigans around the garden. All before 9 am.
We are lucky to have this on our doorstep. We will always enjoy it. I wonder where we will go tomorrow.
I have a dilemma. It’s about rescue dogs, although it could be about rescue cats, rabbits, monkeys, rats or mice. In fact it could be any animal which has been rescued from harm, cruelty or abuse either in an abusive location, a “testing” facility or one of those dreadful meat farms or bear bile farms. I am not thinking particularly about furs that have been voluntarily surrendered for instance due to illness or change in circumstances where there are no nefarious activities suspected or perpetuated.
Most people are aware that furs can be, unfortunately, abused. We are physically and mentally traumatised and often times discarded and left for dead in all sorts of places. My fur cousin Minnie, for instance, was found tied to a tree in the middle of Epping Forest in Essex. Thankfully she was spotted, rescued and now lives a wonderful life with love and fun surrounding her. She is a lucky one.
My brother Lenny was rescued from Cyprus by the wonderful ladies of Cyprus Beagles who sent him to the UK and he is now also loved very much, despite his tendency to bite me regularly. We don’t know how he was treated before he was rescued. We think he was initially going to be a hunting dog but either escaped or was deemed unsuitable so was just discarded. He doesn’t seem to have any irrational fears although he does bark at people on bicycles as well as people who carry rucksacks.
Anyway onto the point of all this. There was a video on one of the accounts I follow on Twitter. I watched a little pup being rescued from the middle of a waste water system, possibly somewhere on the West Coast of North America. The little chap was emaciated, frightened, mangey, had discharge from one of his eyes and generally looked pretty beaten up. The kind people rescued him, took him to the vet and when they took x-rays it looked like he had also been shot with a pellet gun. The vet fixed him up, the people gave him plenty of baths, cleaned his eyes, fed him and generally gave him love and cuddles. He’s now in a happy home. Many people commented on the post, expressing their sadness, their anger and asking if the little chap was now ok. The comment that made me wonder was “I just fast forwarded to the ending”.
Herein lies my dilemma. If people know about the abuse, and they see how it happened even without the graphic part of the actual abuse, are they in a better position to do something about it? If people “know of” the abuse and avoid actually seeing the condition and trauma of the relevant dog before the good bit at the end, are they doing themselves and the dog somewhat of a dis-service? I don’t mean that in a horrible way as I know that there are people who do not like seeing violence or injuries inflicted upon humans or animals . I completely understand that. Let’s be honest it isn’t very pleasant.
Some of the videos floating around the internet just cheapen and glorify the terrible condition of the fur involved. Other videos show the triumph over initial adversity suffered by the person or fur which usually makes our hearts sing and we feel happy. But without seeing the initial adversity, how do we know what has happened in each instance and thereby invoke our rage, fear or concern? I suppose I am wondering if people are aware of the abuse or if there is a perception that abuse happens so it must be bad and “I don’t need to see it”. Maybe people have seen it and been so upset by it, they don’t want to see it again. All are valid and completely understandable.
I know I am going on a bit however I would like to give one example. Beagles in laboratories. Pretty much everyone knows that some of my beagle brothers and sisters are routinely tested on for all sorts of “reasons” from making us inhale stuff, to squirting stuff in our eyes, burning us to test creams and lotions and testing our vital organs whilst we are conscious. All pretty awful and I am thankful that I was not a laboratory beagle. However what people don’t usually know is that, in some facilities, they cut our vocal cords to stop us crying out in pain when they’re doing these experiments upon us. Not all places but some certainly use this practice. There are companies that breed us specifically for use within a laboratory environment, with beagles living in wire cages and never seeing grass, smelling fresh air or running around playing. At the end of our useful life often we are killed. I could say euthanised but that puts a pretty glow on it for me. Do people actually know what goes on in these terrible places?
I am not sure if I have explained what I really feel in this blog. There isn’t really an answer to this conundrum for me. I apologise if I upset people by bringing up a sad and horrible subject. I shall go back to watching over Lenny to make sure he is safe and loved.
I was going to say there hasn’t been much going on here, but I have been thinking again. Life has been taking place, albeit in a more cosseted and restricted manner. Since the passing of Gracie Mae to the Rainbow Bridge, there doesn’t seem to be that much of importance to report. I did wonder how I could follow such a sad post but then I thought that I shouldn’t be following it. It occurred to me that this ongoing quarantine time has taught Lenny and I to look up and around us when we are on our walk, or even when we are in the garden. Again I know I am lucky to have a garden and to be able to walk each day in the fields and lanes which are nearby my home. It has taught us that our friends, both furry and human are precious.
Our walks have been a little more restricted in recent times as regular readers will be aware. We would love to go on the tube train and explore further afield or maybe go into the capital so I can show Lenny around a little more. We haven’t even got in the car and driven to fields and woods outside of our town. There is so much to explore and maybe I am becoming a little impatient to show places to Lenny. I know I have to curb my enthusiasm somehow. In any case, we don’t have face coverings so we aren’t really allowed on the tube, are we? As a result of our quarantine we have been limited in our range of places to exercise and now the routes we walk are getting a little bit duller each day. I am not going stir crazy just yet, but I fear I am on the slippery slope.
We did a quick check on the mileage since Lenny arrived in my house and we seem to have walked 1,578 miles on 377 different days. It would have been further but someone around here, who shall remain nameless, didn’t get a watch that recorded distance and time for around half of March. Did you dad? We haven’t done too bad I suppose since Lenny has arrived. We can walk together now and each have our own sniff trails to follow, he has learnt to lurch into the hedges and undergrowth to try and catch rabbits and he is also extremely good at aroooing at passing runners, cyclists and other dogs. We have explored pretty much everywhere there is to investigate here so our combined desire to explore further afield becomes stronger each day.
For now we will enjoy our health as well as our safety whilst we are locked away locally. We know there will be opportunities on the horizon to make our way to different places, we just have to continue being a little cautious.
Some days I wake up, stretch and look outside eagerly to see what shenanigans I can get up to. I look across at Lenny who is often times sleeping quietly in his bed and think I am the luckiest Beagle Harrier I know. Today wasn’t one of those days, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
As dad sat down to eat his cornflakes he flicked onto my Twitter account and saw that one of my oldest friends had passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Gracie Mae Beagle lives in America. She was one of the first friends I met when I joined Twitter in late December 2013. My account was opened as my parents had no experience of owning a rescue dog, let alone a beagle and they sought some assistance from other beagle owners in respect of what to expect over the coming months and years. One of the first people to respond to some of our questions was Gracie’s mum, called auntie Wendy. She said Gracie would love to try and help us understand more about Beagles. She was kind, thoughtful and willing to try and help us through the early stages of Beagle adoption and all its intricacies.
Over the years since we first woofed, I am proud to be able to call Gracie my friend. We have shared many funny times, as well as cried on one another shoulders metaphorically when things aren’t so good.
Gracie allowed me to become part of the Sploshun Squad, an elite band of furs who can destroy stuffed toys in minimal time and with minimal fuss. Gracie was the best at beating up her stuffed toys. Many times I performed dental lobotomy on sheep, squirrels, reindeer, elephant and snake toys. The fluff and innards would be everywhere, I would be laying on my back laughing and arooing in triumph. As soon as I checked my work with Gracie she would be arooing with me, and giving me encouragement and tips on faster destruction of the toys.
Gracie gave the world the Gracieball, whereupon you sleep in the tightest ball possible, preferably with your nose tucked under your back legs. So many pals tried and succeeded in making a Gracieball that I hope she had proud ears.
Gracie was the queen of stink eye. If you disapprove of something or someone, the sideways glance or glare which more than adequately expresses your disdain. She was a mistress of the art, a true queen of the trade.
Gracie was always one of the first to offer her sympathy to so many pals around the world when something terrible happened or the inevitable time of the longest journey arrived. She was kind, thoughtful and compassionate, a true friend to all who met and woofed with her.
Today Gracie made her longest journey and we have lost one of the best furs possible to the Rainbow Bridge. She had been ill recently, the vet was looking after her but circumstances dictated that it was, most sadly, Gracie’s final curtain call. I know that her Basset brother Roscoe will be so sad that his sister is no longer here to play with him. Despite having fun beating each up, I know they were best buddies and would always look out for one another.
We will miss you Gracie sweetie. Run free from your cares and ills. Find all the pals who will be waiting to greet and guide you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge and rest easy. Your work down here is done.
We patrolled in your honour today, Gracie beagle. Farewell but never goodbye for we shall meet again one day.
If you are out on patrol and are lucky enough to be able to stroll through fields and woods, please ask your parents to check you for ticks when you return home. I was found to have a passenger attached to my neck and, for once, it wasn’t Lenny. They saw what seemed to be a cyst shaped object poking through my fur just below my collar. At first they thought “Oh he’s 10 or so and we need to be aware of various lumps and bumps”. It was only once my parents looked it up on the wonder that is the internet and saw it was actually a yucky tick that they were concerned. They spoke briefly to the emergency vet who said to speak to our local vet practice this morning.
The little blighter fell off during the night and was found sleeping soundly upside down in my bed. Duly scooped up and put in a jar for posterity (or destruction) the tick is now history. I woofed with the vet lady this morning who saw my x-rays, also know as some pawparazzi pictures, and said that I should be ok. However my parents need to keep an eye on me as ticks can be carriers of all sorts of really nasty diseases and may even be fatal.
Enjoy your walks pals and people, but please be careful and vigilant of nasty little bugs and critters attaching themselves to your fur and often trying to drink your blood in the process.
Tick tock, your time has come, nasty tick critter. Time for you to leave me alone.
The world seems rife with struggles, fear and general antagonism between too many people at the moment.
As a dog, and a much loved and cosseted one, I am aware that I may not be in the direct line of many troubles which affect and afflict humans. This includes my parents who always try to keep Lenny and I safe and happy. For this they receive our love, and often we manage to lick their hands when they are giving us belly rubs or attending to our every need and whim. Apparently licking them isn’t very hygienic as they “know where our tongues have been and eating bits of dead rabbit is disgusting”.
Anyway I am not going to lurch into a diatribe bemoaning one thing or another. I merely wish to woof the following request.
Be more beagle please. Stay safe and try to get along. Be pleasant to each other and if you cannot, then don’t say or do anything to be nasty. Have fun and enjoy your lives. You only get one shot at this “life” game, so would it not be better to depart from this mortal coil with some degree of fulfilment in your heart? In the grand scheme of things, we are all tiny specks in a massive galaxy. To our friends and loved ones, we are very important and they rely on us to be there for them.
Here are some pictures of flowers in my garden, they cheer me up and I hope they make you feel a bit happier.
My nan would say “If you cannot say something nice or sensible, then say nothing at all”. I love my nan.
Another warm and sultry day starts in my home town. The weather is set fair, the parents are going to be busy, so Lenny and I are on our toes early. We too have supervising to do in the garden, when we return from our walk. Ok we usually have our eyes shut, or we are playing bitey face in the middle of the lawn, but we are still aware of what is going on around us.
We are suitably shackled to our respective parent and off we go. We pass the pub, cross the road, wade through the river which crosses the lane and still hasn’t been fixed despite many, many calls from people to the local authority, to find ourselves with a view of the countryside becoming greener and noisier with the birds and creatures in the hedgerows and fields each day. The Lapwings swoop and circle, the geese sit on their precarious nest, the rabbits run scared back to their burrow and the foxes watch it all with anticipation from their hiding places in the woods. Along the lanes we march, sniffing and scenting all the time, in the vain hope that our parents won’t be looking when we dart into the hedge and come back with a live rabbit. Sadly another day passes without any prey actually being caught. Maybe I am losing my touch, who knows.
Off the lane, along the path past the barn and then turn left up the steep hill. This is the section where our parents are glad that we pull and yank on our leads as we drag them up to the top of the gravel path and into the relative calm and quiet of the stroll through the woods along the edge of the field full of wheat swaying gently in the summer breeze.
Descending we are reined in fully so as not to go too wild eyed if we see a squirrel cross our path. Cross the lane and into the field with the horses. Lenny has learned that if he is quiet and respectful then they are actually quite friendly.
He used to bay at them, however, now he whimpers a little and shakes to let them know he’s friendly. We are getting used to the kissing gates at the edge of the fields and then it is back along the road, through the river, past the pub which mum and dad will visit once it re-opens. Alongside the river and soon we are through the door to our house. We have our paws and bellies wiped clean and then its time to squabble until breakfast is served.
Time for supervising in the garden. Our various beds are put out in numerous locations on the patio, however we ignore them for the first twenty minutes or so, as we are still busy chasing each other around the garden having fun. We are baying at the top of my voice, barrelling into one another, fighting in a heap on the grass and then end up laying next to each other exhausted. I think this maybe a subliminal message from mum and dad that if we are tired we are quieter. Anyway, once we have made sure that the garden is secure from invaders and all scent trails have been relentlessly pursued we settle down to ensure that our grounds are tended to our satisfaction.
Lenny will get pieces of twig and small branches and deliberately chew them in the middle of the lawns. This ensures that the grass is cut regularly. I will make certain that all the holes we kindly dug over the preceding days and weeks are in exactly the right places for a beagle. Whether they’re in the correct places for mum and dad to plant flowers and shrubs, well, thats not my problem. Lenny has recently started to check on the growing rhythms of the carrot seedlings which were put out in the vegetable patch earlier this week. For some reason he keeps getting told to “get off the soil and stop trampling on the seedlings”. We are always on hand to help with the watering of whichever shrubs and plants look like they need a bit of a dousing. We have been known to do the watering whilst mum or dad have been on the plant nearby. Again they don’t seem too enamoured by our assistance.
Lenny and I are proud of our efforts to make sure the garden is kept neat and tidy, fully stocked with plenty of pollen fuelled plants for the bees and ensure that the tracks across the flower borders which are not the racetracks that Lenny and I use regularly to maintain our fitness are kept weed free for mum and dads access. I suppose we are lucky to have a nice garden which we enjoy. I don’t take it for granted by any stretch of my imagination as I know there are others who cannot enjoy a little bit of colour outside their house.
We will continue to try and ensure that our garden is up to scratch. It’s difficult as one parent in particular doesn’t seem to listen to our advice. He seems to believe we are messing about and squabbling in the middle of the lawn, when we are actually giving him guidance. If only he knew.
I went through a stage where I was being ill, or injuring myself with fair regularity. Maybe I should deal with the ailments individually, starting with the illness.
No one knows really if I was eating all the wrong things, or if I was picking up germs around the walks I was taking, but there were quite a few times when the vets was nearly called, but avoided – just.
Early in my tenure here I must have eaten something rotten and was ill. It made me feel loved that mum sat up all night with me to make sure that I didn’t come to more harm. She looked very tired in the morning and I felt really sorry for her, but she was looking after me and the bond seemed to be growing. Sometimes I felt that I was upsetting her as I was ill so often. Another time I had been ill for 2 or 3 days in a row and I heard the conversation saying “Yes of course we can bring him in, if you can have a look at him as we are a bit worried by the continued illness”. When I arrived at the vets the nice lady looked at me and said that I had a bug and that I needed to be put on a diet for a while. This meant that the bug would pass and I could get back out into the fields more quickly. So I was pleased to find out that I was on chicken and rice for a few days. It was very tasty, but there wasn’t much of it which was a shame as I was really hungry. I was getting fed more times a day, but I was still on meagre rations. After a couple of days I felt like it would never end, and I feared I would be on small rations for a long time. A few days later however I noticed the portions got a little larger, but they still weren’t normal. I was only going out in the garden, not my longer walks out in the streets and fields like I had been used to. Gradually the food got back to normal, and I wasn’t being watched all the time and then it happened, I was back out on longer walks outside the house. Phew. Apparently I was eating all the wrong things in the fields and lanes, sniffing all the gross objects which lay before me and generally treated the animal waste recycling biodiverse product as a smorgasbord. Who knew?
Injuries are the next subject. I have done all sorts of stupid things to myself, usually when I broke free and whizzed around like a racing snake. I have had the usual array of sprains and strains to my ankles and knees.
This story is from September 2015. My biggest trip to the vet took place after we had been out one day in the fields. There was an awful lot of sniffing and investigation to be done. It was summer, it was nice and warm. I was allowing mum to accompany me in exploring the area. I was starting to learn things such as chasing and eating bees isn’t the best thing to do. I got told off and tried to stop catching them but they whizzed about and were too tempting. Anyway all the plants were growing and the the grass and nettles were really tall. I didn’t know that nettles stung like bees. I just marched through the fields. When we got home mum noticed that I had a big mark on my pad, and it looked like something had got into my foot. Of course I decided that the best thing would be to chew and nibble my paw, as this would obviously make it better. I am a boy so don’t be surprised at some of the things I manage to do.
Mum and dad watched me for a couple of days as I was limping, sometimes quite a lot and often I couldn’t put my paw down, it was so painful. So a trip to the vets was arranged and the nice vet lady looked at my paw and said she thought I might have a grass seed in there. This made mum and dad look at each other with a bit of worry, as this can be quite bad and I may need an operation if it was true. I didn’t really understand what this ‘operation” meant, but I heard them all agree I would need to come back to the vets and fairly soon. So I went home and nothing really changed, apart from me having to wear a Cone of Shame to stop me nibbling at the paw and making it worse. I was given some antibiotics as they thought this might help draw the seed out of my paw. Strangely they couldn’t see the puncture where it had gone in. About a week passed, I went back to the vets and they still couldn’t find anything like a hole or wound in my paw, and then wondered if I have trodden on something that was caustic and burned my paw. In any case, it wasn’t getting better so it was decided that an operation would go ahead.
A couple of days later I was surprised when I wasn’t allowed to have any breakfast. My tummy was rumbling and I had been out for a walk, so this was different as I usually returned from my walk and ate my breakfast. We went to see the vet early in the morning and when mum and dad left me there I was quite sad. I didn’t know what was happening. However the nurses were very nice and I was being looked after and fussed over when all of a sudden I felt very sleepy. The next thing I knew, I was waking up under a big blanket, feeling a bit groggy, and with a huge bandage on my paw. Best of all, it had bones on it, but I knew that I couldn’t eat these bones as they were on the outside of my leg.
I was allowed to go home at the end of the day and it was very exciting, despite having to wear a bag on my paw. I didn’t realise that I had to keep the paw clean. The Cone of Shame made an unfortunate reappearance.
The first night post-op just drifted by and I didn’t really know if I was coming or going to be honest. Then days went by, and I was getting used to the Cone of Shame, which was surprising as it was seriously hampering my ability to hunt in the garden. The pigeons and squirrels could see me coming from miles away. It was like having a neon sign attached to me. Inside the house however the cone of shame was very useful as I could bash into mum and dad when I wanted some extra food, or to lay on the sofa as I was ever so poorly. Every time I went outside the house, I had to wear the plastic bag over my damaged paw to make sure it was dry. We went back to the vets a couple of times in the first week as I needed my bandage changed to make sure I didn’t get an infection. The nurse was very happy that I had been a good boy and kept my paw clean, that it wasn’t nibbled and that the cut was healing well. I had proud ears and I got some extra biscuits. Another few days and I could have the bandage off. The bone bandage could be going. I told myself I had to be good, I had to be good. Come on Dex, concentrate!
Another few days passed and it was off to the vets. The bandage is coming off, I was so happy that I just laid there and let them cut the bandage off. I was getting my paw back. The bandage was sliced off, my paw felt free and I had an itch, I could see the stitches and decided that I couldn’t wait. As soon as the vet nurse and mum and dad turned their backs, I managed to chew two of the stitches out. When everyone turned round and saw what I had done they were initially upset but then saw the cut was closed and there was only one stitch left, so that was snipped off and I was free. Or so I thought. The plastic bag went back on, the paw had to be kept clean. This wasn’t fair. Did no one realise that it is really difficult to chase squirrels with a bag on my paw? The pigeons and squirrels were laughing at me. And I wasn’t allowed off the lead in the garden for what seemed like weeks. What had I done to deserve this extra punishment.
I had to put up with the bag and Cone of Shame for ages. I was better but I didn’t want to go through another operation. It severely hampered by ability to pursue squirrels in my grounds, and that would never do. I resolved to get rid of the Cone of Shame and Plastic Bag of Impediment as soon as possible. I had to be good, I had to. This was so difficult. I was going to have to put up with the shame of the squirrels and pigeons laughing at me for what felt like an eternity. I would be back though, faster and cleverer, I promise. Watch out tree dwellers.
I’ve been watching my brother recently. Usually it is because he is about to bite my neck, ankles or ears. I think he thinks he is a vampire. He certainly acts like one so we decided to call him Count Barkula when he is on nefarious activities. We had heard the phrase and thought it fitted him perfectly. The neck chomping aside I have also been looking at how he has changed since he’s been here and I keep on wondering if he and I are really the same breed. We are such different personalities that sometimes its quite stark. Please allow me to try and explain.
I am a wild eyed hunter hound in the garden and fields. If I smell a squirrel or fox in the next county I will be onto the trail relentlessly and will not give up. I can be in the garden at six a.m and there will be a trail from the previous night. Sometimes it may only be a pigeon. Often it can take me thirty or forty minutes to stop baying and tracking. My breakfast is more often than not cold by the time I am finished. Compare this to Lenny. He can be in the garden with me, will see the same pigeon and he just watches it. He may start to stalk it, give a half hearted chase and then go back to eating grass and flower heads. We can start on the same trail and he will look at me like I am a dog possessed, as I am still scenting even when the trail goes cold. Equally he sees a deer in the fields and he will bay and pull on the lead trying to get to it. Once it moves and he realises he cannot catch it, he quickly stops and walks along sniffing at the edge of the crop. If I see the deer in the fields, I will try to pursue it as if my very life depended on catching the creature. Whichever human I am attached to at the time is lucky if they escape with their arms still in the shoulder sockets. If we happen to be on a downward slope at the time, its like skiing apparently. The only creature that provokes a similar reaction for us both is a rabbit. We found out that beagles are hard wired to pursue hares in Cyprus so we think this is where his wild eyed crazed pursuit comes from. For my part, I have no excuses, I just want to get the creature as quickly as possible. I do feel like my training regime of rufty tufty pursuit of all things fluffy and feathery is going to waste on Lenny sometimes.
We are allowed out into the garden at all times of the day. One of the best times for scents is just before we go to bed, as we haven’t been outside for a while and any scent trails are fresh. In the evening we are supposed to be doing “our thing” before going to bed but, if a trail is newly laid, I can completely forget what I went out there for and it is a good twenty to thirty minutes of baying. Lenny will give the initial chase, see that there isn’t actually anything there any more and then go and do what he needs to. I am seemingly hard wired to chase and pursue until all scent avenues are exhausted.
This last week or so I have heard the door to the garden being quietly opened to let Lenny out around dinner time, whilst I have been snoozing in my bed. Mum and dad are pretty sneaky in that they try to cover the sound of the door being opened by cooking or hoovering. Earlier this week I saw Lenny in the garden and he was sitting next to the little birdbath we have. There was a pigeon sitting about 6 feet away and they were just looking at one another. Neither the pigeon nor Lenny moved. Both just looked at each other. Then they wandered off, Lenny did his effort at a half hearted chase and the pigeon fluttered away to safety. This is a somewhat worrying development for my training programme with him. Mum and dad are apparently proud of him as he is calmer than I am when he goes out into the garden and doesn’t pull as much as I do, or I did, when we are out on patrol in the lanes and fields.
In another way we are very different. I tend to walk past “animal biodiverse recycled product” in lanes and fields. I may sniff and then move on. Lenny however seems to think that most of it as a supplement for his meals. On at least two occasions recently, he has needed to have items removed from his mouth. The removal has left dad sometimes bemoaning the fact that Lenny eats everything that is truly disgusting. We know that he loves Lenny but I don’t blame dad for getting a bit irate at the continual chewing of certain revolting items. I have to admit though it does make me laugh to see dad’s face when he is pulling stuff out of Lenny’s teeth with his bare fingers. I have never been partial to extra curricular non-food items as far as I can remember. Lenny’s predilection to disgusting items may be due to him being a street dog for a short time in Cyprus and therefore having to scavenge anything and everything. On a slightly lighter and cleaner note, Lenny does liks vegetables. I can eat vegetables if they are surrounded by chicken or turkey for my breakfast and dinner. Lenny however is quite happy to sit and wait for various pieces of vegetables to fall onto the floor whilst they are being prepared for our parents food. He will even have the potato peelings, and particularly enjoys carrot peelings. Strange boy is my little brofur.
And today my entire commentary on this blog was blown to smithereens. At 7.05 BST precisely, Lenny went into wild eyed loon mode when he saw 2 Muntjack deer crossing our paths in one of the fields. We were baying for Britain as we pulled our respective parents along. Even after we had crossed their trail we were puffing and panting like the steam trains you see the old films we all know and love. To see him in full cry made my little heart sing. Well it would have done if I hadn’t also been in full cry.
Maybe I have misjudged him and my rufty tufty training is sinking in. I’m off to teach him more stuff.