Balls and Buzzings

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As you can see Biggles really likes to stretch out during his naps. It’s easy to do that on the sofa; if a pesky human starts cramping his style all he has to do is “accidentally” give that humie a good kick with his rear legs and it’ll soon move to give him more space.

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However the same cannot be said for his crate in the back of the car; over the last few days it’s just been getting more and more cramped. The reason? Well basically it’s because of his balls. None of them are particularly big, but so far he’s got four of them in his crate and he seems to get an extra one every time we go running on the beach.

I blame it on the summer-like weather we’ve had recently. It’s quite unusual to get summery weather in summer in Ayrshire, but it’s happened, and consequently the beach has been flooded by people: people having picnics, people desperately trying to get skin cancer, and more relevantly, people playing ball games with their doggies and playing them badly. The “plastics in our oceans” issue gets all the press, but trust me, the tennis ball pollution issue is just as bad.

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To his credit Biggles is doing everything he can to clean up all those balls, but he’s only got one mouth to carry them in, and only one crate in which to hoard them. I’ve considered sneaking one out of his crate every so often, but I’m sure he’d notice; he checks them all very carefully every time he gets in, then grumbles as he tries to find enough space to park his big white bum. Sometimes it’s not easy being Biggles.

Unfortunately it’s not all that easy being Beanie either. Our windows have been flung open to counteract the heat and on occasion we’ve been invaded by big buzzy flies. They really annoy me – I find it impossible to concentrate when they’re doing their noisy flybys – but they irritate The Beanster even more.

One afternoon a particular buzzer was driving us both nuts so we joined forces to get it. I armed myself with my battery-powered zapper that resembles a tennis racket, and Beanie armed herself with her treat-powered mouth that resembles.. a mouth. It took several minutes of Beanie running round the room snapping her jaws and me swiping my racket, but eventually the hunt was successful! I stunned the annoying little bugger with all the power that two Duracell AAA batteries could deliver, and Beanie delivered the fatal nibble when it hit the ground. Job done!

To celebrate our victory in the hunt – and take Biggles’ mind off his balls – I brought home some tasty filled bones and treated the pups to a night at the cinema.

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Beanie & Biggles have had tripe-filled bones many times before

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But these had some kind of bacon-flavored stuff in them

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They smelled good even to my nose..

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.. and it seems they tasted even better than they smelled

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Front-row on the movie-watching sofa. Despite appearances we weren’t watching a horror – it’s just that the popcorn had run out.

Push-Up Practice

For a while now Susan’s been using a daily video diary on Facebook to drive improvements in her push-ups and pull-ups. Initially this was a strictly no-Beagle affair; on the rare occasions that Beanie & Biggles weren’t snoring in the lounge or bedroom, they were explicitly forbidden from barging into her video sessions.

As her confidence has grown and her abilities expanded, the Beagle exclusion policy has been less strictly enforced. In the following example Beanie – who is perhaps the most potentially disruptive of our Beagles – was allowed to participate..

The above clip displays some classic Beanie behavior. The second you get down on the floor at her level, she feels the need to come over for a bit of a cuddle and a sniff. In due course she wanders off to sniff other things, then goes to the rug to do some cute stuff – a face rub, a Beagle commando crawl – and then, quite suddenly, the chin hits the floor and she’s bored. Had the camera kept rolling we might have seen another key Beanie behavioral characteristic, resulting in Susan gaining a coating of little white Beanie pubes on the calves of her leggings.

Some days on from that clip the no-Beagle policy wasn’t merely relaxed – it was completely reversed, and Beanie & Biggles actually got to make their own push-up video:

As you can see – or rather hear – from clip, Biggles considers himself to be very technically adept, always wanting to go hands-on (or more accurately, bum-and-paws-on) with anything electronic or mechanical. In the van, he’s the Beagle most likely to beep the horn or toggle the central locking switch; he hogs the TV remote control, often using his bum to change channels, and now in the above vid he tries to make some adjustments to the camera just as filming starts. At least he does reasonably well at the push-ups, though Beanie as usual is faster and more self-assured, never feeling the need to throw in a roll-over to make extra sure she gets the biccie at the end of the exercise.

The idea of filming doggy push-ups seems to be gaining traction outside of Susan’s Facebook page now. I wonder just how far doggy calisthenics can go?

 

Out For a Duck!

Maybe it’s due to the time of year or the predominantly windy and wet weather we’ve had recently, but the beach has been mostly free of those tasty little birds that Beanie so likes to chase after. This has made my furry personal trainer less inclined to surprise me by doubling the length of my runs, or by giving me unplanned sprint sessions (preferably after leg day at the gym), but earlier this week she did come very close to getting me swimming in the sea.

The main inspiration for this change in training focus was a little family of ducks. They were bobbing about on the water about twenty metres off the shore, and for some reason Beanie felt the urge to go after one. I have no idea why she decided that a distant floating duck was a better target than any of the obese, foolishly brave seagulls on the beach, but regardless it was duck that was on the menu, not seagull.

She tore into the water heading straight at the group of quackers, and without knowing what was going on (and probably not caring anyway) Biggles followed her. Within a couple of seconds the water was deep enough that Beanie had to switch to swim mode, but that didn’t deter her one bit. As it happened I had applied their ritual spot-on flea treatment the previous day, so I guess now was a really good time for full immersion in that protection-shortening seawater.

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I stayed on the shore, happy to stop running and just watch the proceedings; I was very confident that soon either the ducks would take off, or Beanie would see the impossibility of the task she’d set herself. Yep, any second now there’d be two bedraggled Beagles heading back to shore. Any second now. Of course, that’s not what happened.

The ducks saw the Beanster slowly closing on them, but they didn’t panic, they just calmly turned and headed further out to sea. Beanie was now twenty metres off the shore – where the ducks had been at the start of the chase – and it was clear she had no intention of giving up. Biggles was just a few metres behind her,  but he was having second thoughts about this whole swimming thing. With his big paws and powerful legs he’s actually a strong swimmer, but he’s not all that keen on having water up near his face. I called to him (to them both actually, but I knew Beanie would ignore me) and got the reaction I wanted; he turned around and began heading back to the shore. “Well at least I’ll soon have one of them back” I thought. But even that turned out to be a false assumption.

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Beanie resolutely continued her pursuit of the ducks, and she was doing well enough to keep the gap between her and her prey from widening. It was impressive, but I really just wanted her to turn back like Biggles. His Lordship was now just ten meters from the shore and close to getting his paws back on something solid, but he was starting to doubt his decision to leave Beanie. He turned sideways in the water for a second or two as though torn between my outstretched hand full of chicken, and THE most fun sister in the world, ever. Then, to my surprise and dismay, he set off after Beanie again. She was now 30 metres out, and still chugging away like a little train after those pesky ducks.

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Thirty-five metres. Forty metres. This was getting serious. The tide was incoming – I’m always careful to make sure that’s the case when I let them offlead by the sea – but still, Beanie was getting a long way out and the next stop was twenty miles away on the Isle of Arran. Time for intervention! I pulled the headphones out of my ears and started taking off the armband that holds my mobile phone. Fortunately before my swimming preparations got any more advanced, the ducks finally got spooked and took to the air. Even then Beanie kept after them for a moment before she gave up the chase and headed inland. I was seriously relieved to see her coming back, but not half as relieved as Biggles. As soon as his feet made contact with the still submerged sand he bounded out of the water, waited impatiently for his sister to arrive, then gave her a very vocal dressing-down.

For my part, I just attached their leads, gave them chicken, and got thoroughly sprayed by sand and sea as they shook themselves off. Pesky Ducks! Almost as bad as sheep. And little birds. And squirrels. But not rabbits, because the traditional prey of the Beagle is something both our hounds are afraid of:)

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