The Lap Habit

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.

4 Replies to “The Lap Habit”

  1. Susan in Delaware

    Oh, poor Beanie! While the lap time is nice, the fear is unfortunate. Lady isn’t rattled by thunderstorms or fireworks, fortunately. Since Ringo joined our family in early August, we really haven’t had much of either, so he hasn’t been tested. Our next fireworks event is New Year’s, so we’ll see. Ah yes, the rug is now the property of Beanie and Biggles, per Beagle Law. You’re lucky you get to use it at all!

  2. Paul Post author

    Well I hope things go smoothly for Ringo on New Year’s! Ordinarily there are hardly any fireworks at that time here, so Beanie should have an easy time of it.

  3. Julie - JB, Cassie and Buzz's Mum

    So you have to suffer Beagle On The Mouse Hand syndrome too?!!! Buzz has taken to laying across Michael’s lap after morning walkies, trapping his right arm against the arm of his chair. He was there 3 hours yesterday morning until Michael just had to move him for a comfort break and lunch! They sure do like their comfort. We were lucky with November 5th – we didn’t know what to expect with Buzz because we only got him in February this year, but apart from a bit of barking if the bangs were close to the house, he didn’t seem bothered by them. Cassie’s fine as long as she’s indoors, however this year we did well in getting a bedtime wee every night that week. Usually she won’t go out and we have to get up during the night. I think as she’s got older she’s realised they aren’t going to hurt her and she’s safe in the house, so we’re grateful that neither of them are terrified. Mind you, it might be different for Buzz at New Year, when all the fireworks go off together. We’ll see!!

  4. Paul Post author

    At least Cassie’s getting braver as she gets older – Beanie seems to be going the other way.. but still, I am getting good lap time :)

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