This year Guy Fawkes Night landed on a Thursday, and due to its proximity to the weekend the fireworks kept flying over four nights or so, terrifying livestock, horses and one otherwise confident little Beagle called Beanie.
I can’t complain really, because we get off pretty lightly out here in Ayrshire; when we lived in Glasgow the whizz-bangs could keep going intermittently almost through to Christmas. Still, those nasty pops and bangs made our little girl very nervy and clingy. On the evening of November the 5th itself I ended up trying to work at my computer with Beanie glued to my lap, her chin slumped over my mouse-hand and her rear end trembling away. Biggles sought refuge next to my legs under the desk, but to be honest I think he was troubled more by Beanie’s reaction than the fireworks themselves. I did my best not to fall into the trap of actively offering reassurance to either of them, but it wasn’t easy.
When the fireworks fizzled out Beanie remained on a hair-trigger for a further ten days or so. Any loud sound – thunder, heavy rain, even the bin lorry doing its rounds – would send her scurrying onto my lap. The terrible thing is, I really enjoyed it. Right after jumping up (and occasionally jabbing a rear paw into my unmentionables) she’d put her arms either side of my neck and shower my face in little wet nose kisses. Then she’d choose her resting position according to the severity of the perceived threat: a formal “sit” facing away from me for a yellow alert, and slumped across my lap with her head pinning my right arm for a double-red alert.
During a series of day-time yellow alerts Beanie came to realize that my lap is a really great place for snooping on the neighbors (one of her favorite pastimes) and now the habit seems to have stuck. At least once a day, whether there’s an unexplained loud noise or not, I can pretty much count on getting some Beanie lap time. I’ve probably had more displays of affection from her in the last few weeks than in the ten months prior.
That’s not the only change in recent weeks though, because our days have become noisier and more entertaining thanks to the purchase of a cheap rug for the front lounge. The rug was originally intended as an alternative to an exercise mat, allowing both Susan and myself to do foam rolling and other tedious physical rehab while watching the TV. The thing is, we humies scarcely ever get to use the rug, because it’s been re-assigned as a Beagle resource.
Apparently it’s the perfect surface for blankie tug-o-war, for indulgent rolling and tummy-tickles, and for impromptu naps.
So, you want to use the rug to do some stretches and trigger-point therapy?
No, sorry, it’s booked until teatime.