The weather’s turning wintery and both Beanie & Biggles have decided to jettison their warm-weather romper suits. Now I know that Beagles are only relatively small dogs with short hair but let me tell you, their discarded fur is everywhere.
Not so long ago we bought a new vacuum cleaner – one of those extra powerful German things that actually has a power dial on it so you can decide whether or not to leave the floorboards in place. It’s still new enough that I get a slight “new gadget buzz” every time I use it (sad, I know, but that’s me) and consequently the vacuuming gets done pretty frequently. Despite this, little Beagle furballs are still collecting under the radiators and behind the doors. There’s a coating of Beagle hairs on the sofa, on the TV, on all the air intake grills of my main computer, on the insides of my trainers, and on my camera gear (and I’m very picky about keeping that clean). If I blow my nose into a hanky and examine the result, I’ll more than likely find a Beagle hair in there. This is easily the worst shedding we’ve ever had, and the reason it’s so bad is that our two rascals are playing like fuel-injected puppies.
Look carefully and you can actually see the fur flying in this shot!
I don’t know what’s behind it, but two or three times a day now they’ll launch into noisy, room-shaking, stunt-filled play sessions the likes of which we haven’t seen for three years. Quite often it’s Beanie who starts it. One minute she’ll be quietly snoozing in her special cave-like bed (which we now call simply The Abode), then suddenly and for no obvious reason she’ll emerge, trot straight over to Biggles and gently but purposefully paw-swipe his face. Two seconds later it’s bedlam.
Biggles initiates some of the sessions too. The first warning sign is his tail – it gets rigid yet quivery as he catches Beanie’s gaze (I call it “tremble-tail”), then he draws back onto his rear legs like he’s about to pounce on a smelly sock, and off we go again.
It’s extremely entertaining if you’re in the mood for it; Biggles takes off on a mad sprint out of the living room and down the corridor. Beanie cold-jumps straight over the sofa to give chase – letting off a piercing hunting cry as she goes – then suddenly they both come barreling back into the room for a friendly punch up, knocking over drinks and sending remote controls flying. Anything that gets caught in the crossfire – a blanket, a magazine, the mail – gets used as a tug toy and destroyed.
The other day Susan came in from making a coffee to find them munching their way through one of our rubbery exercise mats. Beanie paused briefly to acknowledge her Mum, but there was no expression of guilt or remorse, just a look that basically said “well, Mum, you know how it is. The mat was just there, so we did it. Some people climb mountains. Some people run marathons. We do this..”
The play is lot more balanced than it used to be, and more affectionate too. Sometimes they’re rolling around together and they just stop for a moment to savor the furry cuddle in which they’ve accidentally landed. It’s a joy to behold if you’re not trying to watch the TV, or have a conversation, answer the phone, or hear yourself think. There are times however when a semblance of order and peace has to be restored, and at these times we either give them a short cool-down period in their crates, or send them both out into the garden. The last thing I want to do is discourage them from playing, but if this continues at it’s current level I’m going to need ear-plugs for use in my own living room, and nose-plugs to stop fur-induced sneezes!