May 29
Pussycat!!!!
icon1 Paul | icon4 05 29th, 2014| icon34 Comments »

I don’t know how it came about but Biggles has developed an acute sensitivity to the word “pussycat”:

Now it’s true that we do encounter cats from time to time on our local walks, and when we do Biggles (and Beanie too) will go ballistic if the following criteria are met:

  • The cat is a safe distance away
  • Beanie & Biggles are on their leads and cannot possibly come face to face with the cat (which might reveal their inability to win a fight with it)
  • The cat is not very big and appears more scared of them than they are of it

When we encounter a suitably “woof-at-able” moggy I generally refer to said feline as simply “cat”, not “pussycat”. Nevertheless, use the word “pussycat” anywhere near Biggles and you get the same reaction as in the above video. In fact the video itself is enough to put him on red alert! As I was playing the clip back while writing this post he kicked off at the trigger word, then both he and Beanie started woofing at the recording of him woofing, which is starting to get a bit circular. I suppose I could video that reaction too, then play it back and video the two of them howling at their reaction to the reaction and so on.

Anyway the mystery of how Biggles became so sensitive to the “P” word remains. Something he learned as a tiny pup before he came to us? Something he saw on TV? One thing’s for sure: most of the time I don’t have the first idea what’s going on in Biggles’ head, and I’m pretty sure that Biggles doesn’t either.

 

Apr 30
The Price Of Fame
icon1 Paul | icon4 04 30th, 2014| icon35 Comments »

A few months ago I committed the ultimate sin of photographing the Beanster in one of her most private moments.

Beagle Comfort Break

That photo made it into the latest edition of In Full Cry, the magazine produced by the UK’s Beagle Welfare charity, which happens to be Beanie’s favorite publication. I was rather pleased about that, but I don’t think Beanie appreciated having her toilet habits exposed in print.

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Oh boy am I in trouble now…

There have since been repercussions: a slice of cake that was destined for my mouth ended up in Beanie’s, assorted mail has been torn up, and I’ve been subjected to a number of disruptive and often noisy visits when I’ve been working at my computer.

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Biggles on the other hand would like nothing more than to have his chance at fame, even if it means compromising his modesty. All this attention for Beanie has hit him so hard he’s even considered relocating to another home.

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Just seal me up and post me off to someone who’ll appreciate me properly..

Happily my little boy was dissuaded from this rather drastic course of action by a tummy tickle and a couple of chews. After all, every Beagle has his price.

Apr 10

I was temporarily knocked out of commission last weekend by a nasty bug – one of those 24 hour “feels like like flu” things that also comes with a free dose of diarrhoea. I spent virtually a whole day alternating between sleeping and making hurried but stumbling trips to the loo. In fact I was in such bad shape that even the Beagles seemed to be worried; Beanie kept visiting me whenever I was on the porcelain throne, and both her and Biggles insisted on sitting next to me on the sofa. This was a mixed blessing. Instead of being able to stretch out I was the cramped filling for a Beagle sandwich, and yet whenever a shivering phase started I was very thankful for my two furry hot water bottles.

As the bug started to lose its hold on me I reflected on my Beaglets’ behavior. Of course I wanted to believe they’d clung to me out of genuine concern for my well-being, but the cynic in me couldn’t shake the idea that they were just looking out for themselves. I’m pretty sure Biggles was just using me as a heated chin-rest, and as for Beanie, well let’s face it: an ill humie is less able to protect his food from a lightning Beagle raid; stick close to him, and you’re bound to get something! Come to think of it, she did come very close to nicking some bacon off my plate when my appetite returned.

Anyway, whatever their true motivation, they did sort of help to make that nasty bug more bearable so I figured they were due some kind of reward. As soon as I was able I gave them extra tug sessions in the house and a plod up and down the beach, but my batteries were still so drained that it was all a bit half-hearted. Today was better though, much much better. They got two local walks, an extended training/play session in the garden with me & Susan (shots below), and finally an energetic beach run.

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Biggles starts first, with a demonstration of his weaving skills. Note how he correctly uses his ears to signal which way he’s going.

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Not perhaps the most streamlined weaving you’ve ever seen, but he got the job done!

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Next: ball retrieval. He’s very good at keeping his eyes the ball..

Biggles sprinting [2A6A0218]

And there’s certainly no lack of enthusiasm on the way out…

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..but the return to base part can be a bit ponderous and unreliable at times

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But not this time. Result!

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Next up: Beanie takes on the Ayrshire Mute Squirrel (he no longer squeaks due to a bad case of PTSD from Beanie’s previous play session)

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Oh yeah, that squirrel is about to have another bad day

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A very, very bad day!

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Just play dead Mr Squirrel, it’ll be over quicker that way…

I figured they’d still be a bit pooped by the time we went for the beach run, but if anything the reverse was true; they were both revved up and raring to go. We set a good pace over the first couple of kilometers, then I stopped, dished out a bit of chicken and unleashed them for a romp on their own. They sprinted out along by the sea for maybe 150m, then Beanie – who’s always in command during off-lead sorties – turned them back for a second serving of chicken. Perfect! I fed them and sent them off for another romp, but this one didn’t quite go as well as the first; Beanie caught sight of a group of birds by the water and instantly the run turned into a hunt. She got remarkably close to them before they flew off, in fact I thought that for the first time in her life she might actually catch one, but it was not to be. The birds took off in the nick of time and headed out to sea, leaving Beanie fighting valiantly but ineffectively against the incoming waves. When she eventually gave up I grabbed another handful of chicken, expecting her to come sprinting back for a reload, but Biggles was now beside her, goading her into a chase, and she accepted. They had the most tremendous fun, and though I wasn’t keen on having the normally brief off-lead section of our run go into extra time, I must admit I enjoyed the show.  It took a while but eventually they returned, looking like over-sized half-drowned rats with comedy ears. Yes it had been a bit naughty, but at least it was the kind of naughty that puts joy in your heart.

Beanie in flight [2A6A0338]

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