It’s all grey, drizzly and dank out there. It is not as bad as it is predicted to be in the northern part of the UK and I am grateful that we won’t be sharing their wet, wild and windy weather on this occasion. I hope they all stay safe and secure though.
I’ve not blogged for a while, you may have noticed. I am currently under another cloak of feeling a bit blue, a little out of sorts and not having much to talk about really. We are jogging along, doing our thing Lenny and I. We still play bitey face, chase squirrels along the fence and pull on the lead on walks much to the annoyance of whichever parent we are attached to at the time. I was accused today of being a three year old dog in an eleven year old furry skin. I had been pulling, huffing and puffing after so many scents that my brain went into sensory smell overload to the detriment of my other (alleged) senses. I arrived home, aroooed at the top of my voice, got some breakfast and then crashed out on a sofa. I am quite proud of my efforts if I am honest. They should be happy I am so active.
Lenny has been out on separate walks from me for the majority of the week as, when are together, we tend to bounce off one another and compete to get to the scent first. Apparently this isn’t good for human arm sockets so our parents cheated and walked us separately. Not that it mattered as even on our separate walks we managed to jerk and pull like a couple of idiots. I think we won that little discussion.
Anyway what I wanted to say is that, during my miasma of brain fog, I have been thinking about stuff and things. Lenny and I have also been talking about said stuff and things and we have decided that we are happy beagles. We are loved, looked after and we are safe and sound. There is an allegation that this picture proves how happy we are. I wouldn’t know, as I am asleep.
That time of the year approaches quickly once more and thoughts turn to having a festive season of fun, happiness and enjoyment of other peoples company. All honourable thoughts to have as we all hope to surface from the pandemic over the last eighteen months or so.
I might as well put this comment out there now. Please don’t buy or rescue puppies or older dogs unless you understand the consequences of what you are considering. Many dogs were bought or rescued during the throes of the pandemic and, whilst some of those dogs remain in safe secure environments, there is now a growing and worrying trend of them being taken to rescue organisations for re-homing as human circumstances revert to something akin to normality. Worse still there is a rise in dogs being dumped and left to fend for themselves. This isn’t just puppies but older dogs who need medication and have experienced a home environment for many years. We are a commitment not a passing whim.
I was rescued just before Christmas in 2013. My parents came to see me three times before they decided to give me a forever home. Each time they walked me, they asked questions of the rescue people, they listened to the rescue centre and then thought about it even further. They researched vet bills, food costs, leads and harnesses, beds and toys. They looked at where we would walk, if there were enough paths and trails, whether they would be home, how much would kennelling cost and if their jobs would mean them being away for any length of time. They researched the breed traits, energy levels and where the good or bad aspects were. They even looked at the availability and costs of things like holidays with me, in case I couldn’t be placed temporarily in kennels whilst they were away. When I arrived from the rescue centre I had no idea what was going on and it took me around eighteen months to settle into my new home. I was skittish, distracted and sometimes thoroughly distant and aloof. The number of times that worry or frustration was evident was sadly high. I didn’t really connect with them in the first year or so. They tried to implement a routine for me but I remained skittish and distant. However, and this is the most important thing, they never ever gave up. They never wanted to send me back. Even when I was destroying toys at alarming speed due to frustrations on my part, I was still a work in progress but they remained determined to work with me. They had committed to me having a better life and it occurred to them that if I was returned, it was a waste of time and effort on everybodys part. I settled and now have a younger brother to look after and try to ensure he feels loved and secure.
Lenny arrived in late April 2019. I have said before that he was like a furry hand grenade being dropped into my life. We fought and squabbled like a couple of devils for the first few weeks. My parents realised they needed some help with our behaviour so they spoke to the lady who facilitated Lenny’s rescue. She guided them and we now live relatively happily together. We certainly fight less but still manage to annoy our parents at just about the most inconvenient times. Lenny settled quicker than I did. I think that is because he was younger when he was rescued, had me to show him the ropes and our parents already knew roughly what to expect. His arrival and settlement went more smoothly than mine.
I think what I am saying is this. Ask yourself some questions about us. Firstly are you prepared for the upheaval we cause? It’s not all Hollywood glitz and glamour when we arrive. There is poop, pee and sick to clear up. Accidents happen and we need the vet. Sometimes these vet visits are at the most inconvenient times and we can need some serious medical assistance too. We need feeding, walking, training, grooming and generally will require your attention when you may need it for yourself. We will leave hair in places you never knew we could leave hair. We will bring mud in from the garden, need to go out at some unearthly hour of the night and possibly on more than one occasion a night. You may need to sit up with us to make sure we are ok, when we aren’t. Are you prepared?
Are you prepared for the rigmarole of checking our history if you buy us, or the rescue process if we are abandoned or have fallen by the wayside. Can you check with the breeder about mum, our bloodline, where we live, medical issues, are the breeders reputable and registered with the authorities? At this point I am going to ask one thing, please. Do not EVER buy us from some back street unregistered “breeder”. Please. Just don’t.
What type of dog do you want? Do we fit in with your circumstances. If you live in an apartment and will be out all day, is it a good idea to get for instance a husky or a beagle? Will you commit to a small lap dog, a more energetic dog or a larger dog that may not be quite as energetic. We all need the same amount of commitment.
Who will walk us in the morning, lunchtime or evening. If it’s pouring with rain or there are inches of snow outside we still need to go out. Are you prepared to take us out for a walk so we can fill our noses with scent and our eyes with the wonders of the world. Even if the rain is coming down so hard that you don’t want to go out. Will you have time to take us out for a decent walk or run around the park. If you are too busy, who is going to walk us?
Are you prepared to include us in your routine so we can play, learn and interact with you. It makes no difference to us being puppies or older dogs. We still need and enjoy the interaction of some play time, learning new tricks and routine in our behaviour which will strengthen our bonding to you. Remember we may be only a small part of your life but you are our life. You dont “need” us but we need you for food, shelter, warmth and companionship if you commit to us.
Having been prepared to welcome us into your home, are you prepared to say farewell to us when it is our time to go. Are you prepared to look after us, live with us and accept our mutual friendship for a long period of time before you take the kindest but most heartbreaking decision to be with us at our end. Good times and bad we will be there once the commitment has been made and accepted.
Most people will know my thoughts on rescue -v- buying dogs so I am not going to push one or the other of those buttons. All I am saying is that you step back and ask yourself if you can make that commitment to look after us for sometimes up to twenty years through day and night, good times and bad. We will disrupt your day, your weeks, your holidays, your plans and your lives generally but we will give you so much joy and contentment. If you can truthfully say that you are able to provide that commitment, and you want to adopt or buy one of us, then take steps to help give one or more of us a life we can enjoy and love. If we are only going to be a status symbol, a play thing or an after thought, then please go to the toy store and get a cuddly stuffed dog and pet that instead. It’s not fair on us if we are going to be anything less than a complete commitment on your part.
Please think about all options before you commit to anything. The commitment we show to you will need to be reciprocated. We will love you and have a happy life if you can honour the commitment to us. You could make a dog very happy if you make a considered decision.
I have been remiss once more on the blogging front. I can only say that it has been busy around here and, as a result of our being occupied, there hasn’t been much to report.
As summer turns to autumn, we notice that the leaves are turning brown as we go on our walks, the winds rise and the rain becomes more frequent. The times of our walks are changed according to whether our parents are going to get soaked to the skin or not. No thought or consideration about Lenny or I getting bedraggled I notice. Having said that we are seeing that Lenny doesn’t like walking in the rain, nor does he like walking through puddles. This is strange as that doesn’t seem very beagle to me and I don’t understand him. I like to scour the hedges and roadside verges for critters and scents whilst Lenny seems happiest in the open areas so, again a strange boy. We went field walks over the weekend and he seems to have mastered the art of looking handsome and noble. Ok, treats were involved but I am proud of my tutoring.
We have revisited our good walk to the top of Chanctonbury Ring which affords us some lovely views over the surrounding countryside. We couldn’t go too far as there were cows grazing and I don’t do too well with cows to be honest. I tend to yell at them so the prospect of being chased around a hilltop by three quarters of a ton of ruminant isn’t particularly appealing.
I have thankfully recovered from my visit to the vets to have my teeth cleaned. I am not sure I have wholly forgiven my parents for tricking me into going there. Yet. I am back on proper food and I can still pull and jerk on the lead so I am feeling fine.
We are not looking forward to Guy Fawkes Night in a couple of days time. I despise fireworks and I always shiver and try to dig holes in the carpet to escape the sonic cacophony which erupts. I am hoping that it won’t be as bad this year as we have moved house and no longer live within two hundred metres of the local football club whose display was enormous and very scary for Lenny and myself. We shall see what transpires but we know we will be safe in the house and the television will probably be turned up far too loud to try and drown out any explosions.
It’s a busy life being a beagle, I seem to have something and nothing to do at the same time. I’m off for a lay down.
Hopefully I can report some more exciting shenanigans soon.
It’s me, Lenny. I have been allowed to write a guest blog for Dexter today. Maybe I should explain why.
We went out separately this morning for our walks. I went along the lanes to the west of the village, whilst Dex went up the shortest road then returned to wander along through the village. He was with mum and she said that he had the biggest grin on his face as they strolled along the road. I think he thought they were going under the big road and then around some of his favourite fields which have cows, sheep and, happily for Dex, squirrels aplenty in them. Anyway they didn’t quite make it to the fields as mum swerved suddenly and went up the steps to the vets. It appears the my older brother (who’s not my biological brother but I still love him) had an early morning appointment. After discussing the various things the vet was going to do, it was explained that Dex doesn’t like needles and anything in his scruff or neck would be a titanic struggle of epic proportions. In actually fact in our previous house, he went to see the vet and when she went to give him his annual injection he wriggled so much she stabbed herself. Oh well, at least we know she wont get rabies. Anyway, I digress. Mum left him with the vets as it appears that he needed his teeth cleaned and they were just the people to do it.
I returned home from my walk with dad and I was completely unaware of the parental chicanery which had unfolded. So, paws wiped, collar changed and off I go expecting to be accosted by Dex as I try to make my way to the water bowl. Nothing! No Dex, no greeting and no noisy fighting. I checked every room in the house and he definitely wasn’t here. I had my breakfast and went around the house again to check that he wasn’t hiding and waiting to pounce on me. No, sadly he was nowhere to be seen. I decided it was a good opportunity to go and sleep in one of his favourite places. However the silence was deafening. After a while I got a bit bored so patrolled the garden, chased a squirrel and got some biscuits for my efforts. However Dex was still missing and I was missing him. After lunch I had a snooze in Dex’s chair and then dad decided I could play with some toys. Usually we don’t play with toys as I have a guarding instinct and it ends up with a bit of a squabble between Dex and I. A noisy squabble!
Suddenly ring ring! Hello. Oh he’s ok and we can collect him. Phew. It appears he had a wobbly tooth near the back which has been taken out and the remaining teeth are now gleaming clean. He was a perfect patient and even had some soft food whilst he was at the vets. He’s going back for a check up on Monday afternoon.
When he arrived back in the house I had to be held back from greeting him too wildly. He’s home and snoozing. I have to “take it easy” whatever that means. We are being watched constantly so we don’t get up to mischief. As if we would do shenanigans in the house.
It’s nice to have him back. I really didn’t like the sound of silence in the house without him. It was horrible. Tomorrow we will hopefully be able to run around arooing at each other and generally be silly. The defining sound of silence should be gone.
Sunday morning dawned grey and dull. We expected another day of wandering around the local lanes with associated scents and squirrel bothering. As we set off we turned away from our usual route and walked up and down the little local road. This normally meant that something was in the offing. I looked at Lenny who glanced back at me, with a wry grin.
We were duly turned around and headed back towards the house, stopping only for the car to be unlocked. We decided we would play dumb and not leap straight into our travel crates. It’s always fun to hear our parents grumble at one another about how heavy Lenny or I have become. They seem to blame each other for “extra biscuits”. I have no idea what this means. Once secured in our travel crates we set off along the main road turning right and left as we made our merry way to wherever we were going. Arriving at our destination we were allowed to scent the sea air and we realised we were back at the beach. Fun times would surely follow. Lenny tried to stick his head over the top of his travel crate only for mum to worry that his head was caught. He’s not that silly, I hope. Anyway we soon found ourselves on our toes and the crunch of the gravel, click of the stones and soft rush of the sand on the beach was under our paws. Mum and dad had sadly remembered that I had eaten something grim on our last trip so I was kept on a very short lead whilst we navigated through the seaweed and associated dead sea creatures strewn across the shoreline. This was most mean and totally unnecessary. It wasn’t like I had needed to go outside five times in one night after I had eaten the previous dead sea creature.
We strolled (read pulled and jerked on our leads) along the beach merrily baying at anyone who was in earshot. This would actually have been most of the town as I was baying very loudly. We passed spaniels, terriers, Scotties, a couple of Westies and even a poodle. Then we saw a German Wire haired Pointer which seemed to be wrestling with something large, sandy and quite deceased. Even after witnessing the spectacle of the Pointer shaking the devil out of the dead thing, our parents remarked on how well behaved the other dogs were compared to me. Sorry I mean us!
On the way back, Lenny managed to slip off one of the breakwaters but didnt do himself any harm. He just got up, shook himself down and carried on with a silly grin on his face. We arrived back at the car and positively leapt into our travel crates for the return journey home.
Needless to say we were swiftly sleeping once we had eaten our breakfast and run around our garden like a couple of possessed furs. There had been squirrels so I am not sure what else we were supposed to do.
In any case, we had a good time and it was fun to meet and greet so many other dogs. The beach is open to dogs “outside summer season”. I think we will visit again. I hope so as there are many sea creatures that need to be explored.
Often I will look at Lenny and wonder what is going through his mind. I don’t ask him as I like to think he is content with his lot now he has been here for two and a half years.
I wonder if he is thinking back to Cyprus, to his earliest days when he was lost and then found, transported to his new life here in the UK. I know he came into this house like a furry hand grenade which took a while to get used to. However he has settled now and I think he enjoys his life of luxury.
Sometimes our thoughts are better kept to ourselves. They don’t always need to be shared with others when we are pondering the uncertainties of life in general and our own lives in particular.
I’m just pleased that he has settled and is happy. That much he has told me.
I went to leap up onto a bed this morning. In the process of making myself ready to launch my form onto the soft mattress with a duvet cover smothered in beagle glitter, I was seen to hesitate and then make a double movement to reach the giddy heights of the bed. I just made it. I have not hesitated before and it made my dad feel a little sad.
He watched as I settled carefully onto the middle of the bed, looked out of the window and sighed gently as I rested.
I have held back from writing this blog. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for another reflective one until now, so here goes.
Bonzi lived in Washington State with his mum, dad and sister. They loved Bonzi as did we all. When I arrived in my forever home and descended onto dog twitter, Bonzi was one of the first pals who followed me back. We have laughed, cried and giggled like a couple of adolescents ever since. He was forever on trails in the woods, trying to sneak food from anyone who was close enough and making people smile and laugh in the process. He was equally at home surrounded by his family and the many humans who came to visit his home on the pretence of seeing him, but don’t tell his parents about it.
He travelled and explored, he laughed, loved and lived and he was forever making people smile. He said recently that he was in remission for his horrid cancer and everyone sighed thankfully. He had fought off respiratory problems and still came back fighting. Then his body said “Bonzi dude, I’m thirteen and I think I am a bit tired”.
Bonzi made his longest journey on 27th September. I woke up and I got an ear tickle from my dad. When he looked at me I could see something had happened and then he explained. Bonzi was gone from sight but he remains in our hearts and minds. He was one of the originals, one of the best and one that I will never forget. Farewell Bonzi dude, travel well and seek out those who have gone before. We will meet again one day although I hope you will forgive me if I want that day to be some way in the future.
I am so lucky that I am not human sometimes. Over the weekend here in the UK there has been the continuation of a lack of control, empathy or respect on the part of swathes of human kind.
There has been panic over some apparent shortage of fuel at the petrol stations in the UK generally. I say “apparent” as it seems that it is a total fabrication which has been set loose by anyone between people who voted to stay in the EU, the government, the press in the UK and Bill Gates. I haven’t heard him being blamed for it yet, but I suspect that his name is there somewhere. I would like to say that whoever is to “blame” is somewhat of a side issue as far as this blog is concerned. I fear it isn’t.
People with nearly full tanks of petrol topping up their cars and then filling can after can because they saw a headline that there was a fuel shortage. On many occasions the people didn’t “need” the petrol but just wanted to make sure they had enough. Had enough to do what exactly is unsure. Of course there are people who rely on petrol to ensure they can do their job, take someone to hospital or the doctors, their children to school or drive an ambulance, police car or fire engine to save lives. People queueing from the very early hours of the morning so they can get to top up their fuel tank. I even heard of people following a delivery tanker around to see where it stopped to refuel the petrol station. Fights on forecourts, road rage, roads blocked. It just seems so utterly selfish and thoughtless toward other people. I suspect many of those queueing to get their fuel were the same people who were buying 200 toilet rolls when the first quarantine was announced in the UK. No pasta, no bleach and no toilet roll. The attitude currently seems to be I’m alright and I couldn’t care less if someone else doesn’t get what they need. I got what I wanted, so all is good in my little world. There are a number of aspects here which I want to expand upon. I will try to be as apolitical as I can be.
Firstly I do wonder if anyone actually listens properly to what our lords and masters tell us. Since the vote in 2016 it seems these nations have lurched from one crisis to the next. On all sides there were lies and counter lies. Whatever anyones persuasion regarding the Referendum, I don’t think there is much argument over the erosion of trust between the general public and those who seek to wield power. For an example we wear masks so we try to do our best not to spread the virus to other people IF we have it. We don’t wear them because our leaders have told us to, more so to try and ensure that we retain some manners and courtesy to other people we come into close contact with. Various references to sheep or police states flow freely from some outlets toward those who try to do their best to retain some respect for those we live alongside. The television channel is turned over when politicians of whatever persuasion are on.
Next we turn to the media itself. They are the mouthpiece, generally, of those who seek to wield power. If there is some bad news to bury, they will conjure up a story about some celebrity or other person who will fill the pages of the media circus, and thus detract from the real struggles which are forever bubbling under the surface. This is true in whichever country you live. The media in general will let the general public know what they want you to know. As long as their publications make money, all is good in their world.
Then we arrive upon the general public who have amongst their ranks, large numbers who have been adversely influenced by the media and rulers for what seems a very long time. There has always been selfishness. After all it is a basic human trait which some can control better than others. Greed and “me first” are now much more prevalent due to the influence of those who control lives. In fact, at this point if anyone wants an example of how humans are controlled by what they read and hear (without thinking) then this latest debacle would make a fine study. There has been an erosion of civility and respect for many years. Many people have become conditioned to being greedy and expecting something to be provided. If he or she has it, then why haven’t I got it. Bigger, better and brighter. More shiny. I will get it at all costs, I want it and must have it. Everyone is an expert on every subject.
There are reports, albeit unsubstantiated, that this latest fuel “crisis” will mean that the petrol stations will not be refuelled sufficiently for one to two weeks. The same people who have hoarded fuel will be back complaining that there is still a problem when the fuel comes back on stream eventually. People at all ends of the spectrum of control have contributed to this debacle and the amount of finger pointing, accusation and counter claim is truly awful. Having said that, this behaviour has been going on for decades, and has been getting worse so I am not sure why I am surprised.
There is a scurrilous rumour going around that beagles think only of their stomachs and then complain that they haven’t eaten in all of fifteen minutes. This is a shocking allegation.
It struck me again today that Lenny and I are extremely lucky to have so many buddies around the world that we can rely on to make us laugh, cry and feel wanted. Throughout the recent past we have retained our friendship with so many of our pals, despite a worryingly large number making their final journey. For this we are very grateful and truly humbled. We also see that there are quite a few pals who parents sometimes struggle to come to terms with life in general and more often the day to day things that they have to do. We have a close knit community amongst the friends and, as we have mentioned before, we always try to make sure that if someone is struggling mentally or emotionally (is there a difference?) we can be there with a word of encouragement or gentle virtual hug. Sometimes we think it may not make any difference however we hope that it will. I think that may be the operative word here, hope. We know that we cannot be by our friends sides 24 hours a day so we are, kind of, relying on a simple act or word of kindness or thoughtfulness, to make them feel better about themselves. Albeit it is a brief interlude in their darkening thoughts however our hope remains steadfast.
We also know that just by us being us we can lighten a load upon some people. From experience Lenny and I are aware that we sometimes make our parents proud as well as a little more fulfilled in their lives. They look at us curled up on the sofa, the chairs, the big bed, maybe sometimes even our own designated beds and they cannot help but give us a tickle, a belly rub or stroke our long soft ears to make them feel happier. As rescues we know they have done the most important thing for us so, I suppose, its only incumbent upon us to allow them to give us tickles and belly rubs. Food is also welcome of course. Oops I wasn’t going to mention that, was I?
The world can be a terrible place sometimes what with the war, arguments, politics, racism, famine, pandemics, arguments about the pandemic and general malcontent of large swathes of the population. If we can help to alleviate even a little of that dark cloud then maybe, just a little, we have worked our magic on you and made you feel more worthwhile and valued. After all what else is there for us to do?
What’s that Lenny, it’s time for some snacks. Great, lead the way.