It seems that our Beagles have thoroughly embraced the tradition of the New Year’s resolution. Beanie’s pledge was apparently to play more tug games, and thus far she’s been doing a great job of sticking to it. She’s always enjoyed a good tug when invited, but over the last couple of weeks she’s been initiating play sessions herself by grabbing a toy, dropping it at my feet and making very purposeful eye contact. If I fail to respond in a timely manner, indignant howling ensues.
I know that standard training advice says that it should always be the human who decides when a game kicks off, but I’m having a hard time sticking to that rule because a tug session with the Beanster is really, really nice. If I get down on all fours with her I can pull her close and get something approaching a cuddle. It doesn’t last for long of course, but that’s about as good as things get in the Beaniverse – unless she’s scared that is, or I’ve spilled hot chocolate down my t-shirt.
If I had to guess Biggles’ resolution, it would simply be this: “Get more things”. It almost goes without saying that socks rank high on his list of qualifying “things”; his sock acquisition rate for January 2017 has already smashed all previous records. Just the other day he got four in the space of a couple of hours, and successfully swapped them all for treats and chews. Filled with pride from this achievement, my little boy was quite a handful on his evening walk. He spotted a Golden Retriever frolicking on a patch of grass across the road, locked eyes with him, and squatted down for a huge but well-formed dump on the pavement. It wasn’t just a poo, it was a statement, and Biggles wasn’t the least bit surprised when I started loading it into a poo bag; as the holder of the new world sock trading record, of course his poo was going to be a keeper!
I held my bag of brown gold under a streetlight for a moment in the hope of identifying a foreign body emerging from one of the logs. After a couple of seconds I realized it was the remains of a little plastic dipping pot that Biggles had snaffled two nights previously; lined with chilli sauce, it had been hot and spicy enough to make him cough, but just like everything else it had eventually succumbed to the awesome processing power of my boy’s gut. Buoyed further by my satisfaction with his output, Biggles unleashed a biblical woofing on the Retriever, causing the owner to quickly put him on lead and steer a wide path round us. The Bigglet was truly having a Conan The Barbarian moment: “Woof at your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their owners”.
A distinctly less “Conan” moment occurred early one morning when Susan opened the crates. Disturbed by the sound of the crate latches but still not properly awake, I slipped into my well-practised morning routine: shuffle over to make a Biggles-sized space at the edge of the bed, wait for a paw on my arm, then lift the covers and issue the “Go on, get in” command. The paw signal didn’t come however; instead I heard a thump on the floor followed by a series of grunting noises. Even in my partially conscious state I was able to recognise the sound of a roll in progress, and slipped back into a light sleep while waiting for it to finish. The next thing I remember wasn’t a paw on my arm, but Susan laughing and saying “Paul, you’ve got to look at this!”
I sat up, struggled to open my eyes, and there at the base of the bed was Biggles, standing motionless the way he does when he’s got himself into trouble and needs help. I rubbed my eyes to get better vision, and finally saw the cause of Biggles’ predicament. He was wearing Susan’s knickers. I have absoutely no idea how he’d managed to get himself into them, but there they were, stretched across the back of his shoulders like a mishapen rucksack. Susan extricated him and he crawled into bed with me as normal, but he was a little subdued for the rest of the day :)