It’s not at all uncommon for our Beagles to pick things up when we’re out on a beach run and carry them for a while. I’m not talking about dead crabs, horse poo and such; obviously they get picked up, chomped and speed-swallowed as soon as they’re spotted. No, I’m talking about junk that’s either been dropped by humies or washed in by the tide; things that for some reason catch a Beagle’s eye, or nose, or both, and end up being transported along the beach in their jaws.
More than once Biggles has grabbed some piece of discarded crud and carried it proudly like it’s the find of the century. In due course the novelty wears off and the item is once again dumped, ready to be found by some other lucky woofer. The time required to go from”this is brilliant, best thing ever!” to “it’s crap, I dropped it” varies with the object in question. A soggy, burst tennis ball probably holds the household record for longest carry, notching up around 40 minutes in Biggles gob, but even this prized item lost its appeal by the end of the outing. Only one item has ever been so treasured as to be carried into the car, and this is its story.
We’d just finished our beach run, and I had Beanie & Biggles on short leashes as I attempted to steer them round the junk left by the people who like to park up and watch the sea while having their fast-food lunches. We successfully dodged two Big Mac cartons, assorted sand-covered dog poos and a partially consumed corn-on-the-cob (great for blockages, those), but unfortunately in avoiding these hazards I drifted close to a bin. In an instant Beanie was on tiptoes with her head stuck in the bin’s opening. Just as I moved to extract the Beanster one of the car-seated diners wound down his window and cast out a McFlurry tub. The guy who did this was parked barely two metres away from the bin that had Beanie’s head stuck in it, but still, I guess two metres of walking was just too big of an ask. Anyway, just as I got Beanie free of the bin, Biggles lunged forward and seized the tub.
I don’t know what manner of McFlurry had been in that tub, but judging by Biggles’ possessive body language, it must have been really good. If the tub had been dangerous I’d have taken it off him immediately, but in this case I figured the best course of action was to let him keep it until we’d got further away from the other junk. As we walked, Biggles periodically succumbed to the temptation to put his prize down and examine it, and on these occasions I tried to get my foot on it or quickly drag him away from it, but each time Biggles snatched his McFlurry back up off the pavement. There were still a hundred yards or so between us and our car, and we got a few laughs as Biggles trotted purposefully at my side, tightly clutching the icecream tub in his mouth. “Just ignore them Biggles,” I said, “they’re just jealous of your McFlurry”. And he did.
When we finally we arrived at our parking spot I lifted the tailgate and mentally prepared myself for what I call the “mucking about” phase of a Beagle outing. You see Beanie is always really good at leaping into the car and entering her crate, but Biggles is.. not. Usually I have to really work hard to get him to jump in, with excited countdowns and encouraging hand movements, and if all that fails (as it often does) I use my “emergency” biscuit to bribe him in. This time things were different. Just as Beanie was sinking down onto her rear legs ready to jump, Biggles shouldered her out of his way, leaped in without any preparation and went straight into his crate with his harness and lead still attached. I then had to pull him back out of the crate, and wrestle him out of his harness while still holding on to Beanie’s lead. This was not easy, because the hole in the neck area of the Euro Short Canicross harness is designed to slip over the dog’s head only, not head plus McFlurry tub.
With this done, I now had to deal with the McFlurry tub itself. I tried to simply take it off him, but my stubborn little boy was not having any of it. There was no growling, but no way was he going to let it go. Time for the emergency biscuit! I retrieved the biccie from my running pouch and broke it in two, giving Beanie her half first. Against expectations Biggles didn’t immediately drop his icecream tub in anticipation of the biccie, but I could see he was seriously conflicted. Not since Captain Kirk in the original series of Star Trek had anyone faced such a huge dilemma. I waved the biccie under his nose once, but the tub remained in his jaws. I waved it again, and his jaws slackened a little. On the third pass, the tub was released, and using my years of experience in sock trading with The Bigglet, I deftly snatched the tub while delivering the biscuit straight into his open mouth. One quick chomp and speed-swallow later he realized he’d been duped, but it was too late to do anything about it. Except to exact revenge in the form of a particularly vile fart as I drove us home.
A few less smelly parting shots from the last week…
Beanie gets to grips with a cow ear. These things are great: lower fat than pig ears and despite appearing less substantial, much longer lasting.
A discussion about who should have the sofa turns physical..
.. and noisy. Very noisy.
The day after losing his icecream tub, Biggles still has some emotional healing to do…