About six years ago – not long after we’d moved house – we introduced Biggles and Beanie to our nearest doggie neighbour, and let him have a runabout in our garden. Beanie didn’t mind this at all, but for Biggles the experience was very different. He stood bewildered and helpless as this intruder, a busy little Spaniel, rapidly hunted down all Biggles’ favorite hangout spots and pee-marked everything (and I do mean everything). Ever since that day Biggles has always had more than a few choice words for any Spaniel who crossed his path, but he never got the chance to exact pee-for-pee revenge.
Not until a few days ago, that is.
Susan was busy tending flowers in our front and rear gardens, repeatedly opening and re-closing the gate that separates the two and which – more crucially – keeps the little fury people from going walkabout. I was indoors at the time at work on my computer, Beanie was lying on the sofa slowly recovering from an extended nap, and Biggles was stretched out on the rear patio, snoring and catching rays. At some point in her frequent journeys to and fro, Susan got distracted and forgot to close the gate. She came indoors for refreshment and watched a bit of our favorite 24 hour news channel, which here in Britain has recently offered more drama and political intrigue than even the best Game of Thrones episodes (albeit without dragons and giants, although Boris Johnson looks kind of big when he’s filmed close up with a wide angle lens). Anyway, some time later one of our neighbors knocked on the door.
“Er.. I think Beanie or Biggles has got out” he said.
Hearing this, I stood up and peered over my monitor to check the sofa. Beanie was still there – still comatose – and therefore the Beagle at large had to be Biggles. Susan headed straight out on the recovery mission, while I held the fort. I expected Susan to be back in a minute; after five minutes had passed I was getting concerned. Just as I was reaching the point of putting a lead on Beanie and joining the hunt, Susan finally returned with The Bigglet safe in her arms.
We’ll never know precisely how long Biggles was on his walkabout or exactly what he did during it; that’s Biggles’ secret, and he’s not telling. However, going by eyewitness testimony from the neighbors, the circumstances of his capture, and nearly eight years of observing his habits, I think the following is pretty to close the mark…
Though apparently snoozing on the patio, Biggles would have noted that the garden gate had been opened and not re-closed. He may not be the smartest doggie on the planet, but he’s learned the opening and closing sounds of every door, cupboard, drawer and baby-gate we’ve got, and he has a gift for tactical thought.
While Beanie would have tried for the opened gate immediately – even while Susan was still on hand to grab her – Biggles would have known to bide his time. About a minute after Susan went into the house, he’d have got to his feet, stretched, and trotted nonchalantly through the opened gate. His first destination would have been a point about halfway up our drive. This is where one of the local cats likes to relieve itself, and as every Beagle knows, you never turn your nose up at a bit of fresh cat poo. I’m always pulling him away from that spot when we head out on a walk, but now he had complete freedom to indulge himself.
Having dealt with the cat poo, Biggles would have been unsure what to do next. My boy is tactical, but he doesn’t plan beyond the initial objective. There have been times when he’s got onto the kitchen worktop but missed some really choice items because he hadn’t considered what to do when he got up there. I’m guessing that he went for a little tour of the nearby front gardens; this is borne out by reports of neighboring dogs raising the alarm at about the right time.
After considerable dithering, Biggles would have eventually realised that he had access to our nextdoor neighbors’ back garden: the Spaniel’s garden. That’s where he was spotted by the neighbor, and where he was subsequently apprehended by Susan. No-one saw him with a cocked leg, but when he got back home he had a huge drink of water and didn’t need to be let out again for some hours. Bottom line: I’m pretty sure that Spaniel is in no doubt that The Biggly Boy was in his garden.
If you’re a Beagle boy, revenge is best served warm and wet and in lots of little puddles