Over the last year our little Beanster has become overly sensitive to uncommon noises. Beeping smoke alarms, the sound of rockets on space films (Interstellar), and even wheelie bins being blown about in the storms we’ve endured recently, have all been enough to put her on red alert. She sits bolt upright, her eyes scanning the ceiling as though looking for the source of the worrying noise, and if it continues, she seeks out the nearest human lap for reassurance. After discussing this with other dog owning neighbors we considered getting her a “Thundershirt“, but it turned out we already have a much cheaper alternative to hand: her Christmas jumper. It doesn’t fit quite as tight as a real Thundershirt and its design isn’t particularly appropriate now that the festive season is well behind us, but it does the job, and unfortunately we’ve had to use it extensively since getting our new campervan.
Protected by her impenetrable Christmas jumper, Beanie keeps watch from the central console of our camper van
When I say “new”, the camper is a new conversion but the base vehicle is – wait for it – nearly 18 years old. Despite its age, it’s in stunning condition both cosmetically and mechanically, having spent its life on Japan’s much more vehicle-friendly roads. It should be a perfect fit for our impromptu nighttime hill walks and enable us to do more island-hopping than ever before, but as we soon discovered, it has one little drawback: it beeps continuously when reverse gear is selected.
You’re not putting it in reverse gear again are you Dad?
“Don’t worry” said the guy from Direct Campers in Kilmarnock as he showed us around the vehicle, “it only beeps on the inside. No-one outside the van will hear it”. Well I’m afraid that’s exactly the wrong way round, because one of the furry passengers inside the vehicle has a bad case of beep-phobia. Fortunately the Christmas jumper coupled with judicious use of tasty biccies has enabled us to work around this shocking design flaw. And it is shocking, because everything else about the van seems to have been designed with Beagles in mind.
The worktop is nice and low down – lower than the one in our caravan – making it easy to jump onto and nick things from!
And while you’re up on the worktop, you can stick your nose right through the side windows to thoroughly sample the outside air.
With large windows all round it’s easy for the alert Beagle to keep watch for any illegal activities such as cycling, children with excessively bright jackets, non-Beagle dog walking etc. and respond with appropriate woofing.
That said, the rear windows are externally reflective so if your Mum happens to be cuddling you like a big silly furry baby, no-one outside need ever know..
The horn is also readily accessible, so it’s easy to raise the alarm when your teatime meal is late.
And finally, the vehicle has a deceptively large amount of floor space. This provides somewhere for the humans to sit, because they sure as hell aren’t going to be sitting on the comfy chairs ;)
So we should be all set for some great Beagle adventures in 2016, just so long as we only ever drive forwards, or have a snug-fitting Christmas jumper to hand!