It’s surprisingly rare that Beanie & Biggles go off on their own long-distance adventure during the offlead section of our beach runs together, but if they do I can pretty much guarantee they’ll end up combing the rocks near the far end of the shore. On a particularly cold but sunny day last week I figured we might as well cut out the intervening 7km of beach and start our outing right by the fun bit.
This decision was very well received; the rock pools were full of little seafood nibbles, and birds had gathered by the water’s edge, prompting some high speed attack runs by the Beanster.
From my point of view starting here had an extra benefit; it kept us further away from the dreaded remains of a dead seal. Beanie & Biggles first discovered the dead seal some time ago, but it’s still hanging around and barely a week goes by without someone rolling in what’s left of it. The absolute worst point came when it turned into a kind of rotten seal soup; Beanie was smelling so bad after a roll in it that no amount of scrubbing in the sea could diminish the pong. The only solution was to frogmarch her into the shower with me and use a potent combination of tomato ketchup and human and doggy cleaning agents on her; I hadn’t needed to such dire measures since she was a pup, and she was huffy with me for days after.
It was lovely being out there with them and getting to watch all their activities close-up; usually I’d be a kilometre or two behind them, desperately racing along the beach to catch them up and hardly daring to guess what they might be getting up to.
For the most part they both moved easily between the rocks and the sea, and unlike me had no trouble negotiating the slippy moss and seaweed-covered bits. Still, every now and then Biggles would pause before gingerly taking his next step. I’ve observed the same thing when I’ve accidentally parked the van by a deep puddle; if he can’t properly see what he’s stepping onto, he’s very cautious.
It’s a surprisingly sensible approach given that he’s a little Beagle boy, and on this occasion it did save him from a few unexpected soakings. The same cannot be said for The Beanster.
Of course all that caution was abandoned whenever Beanie caught a scent and he had to double-time it to catch her up!
This was probably the longest time the two of them have been (intentionally) offlead during a walk since they were pups, and I have to say they behaved impeccably.
Of course all good things have to end sometime, and with the sun getting low in the sky I decided to get them back on lead. I put my camera away, got their leads out and called them to me. Predictably Beanie chose this exact moment to take off on a mad chase after a little group of birds, with Biggles baying his head off just behind her. I watched as they shrank into the distance, but remained unconcerned; something told me they’d be back soon, so I continued to prepare the handful of chicken they always get for voluntary lead re-attachment. Sure enough they came sprinting back to me almost as quickly as they’d left, and we walked back to the van together for a final round of treats before heading home.
Even a year ago this kind of outing wouldn’t have been possible, or at least would have been cut short by naughtiness. I’m not going to claim they’ve suddenly turned into trustworthy, controllable doggies (I’ve done that so many times before, only to be proved wrong!), nor am I going to get complacent with them, but it was very nice to sample the kind of walk that is often denied to Beagle owners!