There wasn’t much frost in evidence today, but it was still bitterly cold and rather dull. Fortunately several things happened to brighten things up.
The first was the re-appearance of Beanie’s treat bag. Despite spending several days in Zak’s gut it emerged fully intact and cleaned up well, so Zak won’t be comparing abdominal scars with Beanie any time soon.
Then we bumped into some new Beagle visitors to the park. The first was Bailey, a fit tricolor male who seemed to get on well with little Biggles. The second was another male called Captain Jack, but more on him later.
Bailey’s owners were a little scared about letting him off lead, but everyone assured them that it would be OK in the “puppy field”. So they let him off, and although he did explore the field quite extensively, he didn’t actually leave it. I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Beanie is prone to naughtiness and her recall is unreliable, but she’s never gone seriously AWOL from the field. Of course, confidence like that is a temptation that fate can rarely resist. But I’m getting ahead of myself – I haven’t spoken of the “creature” yet.
Here was the first sighting, as he emerged from his natural habitat…
His grotesque appearance sent local villagers fleeing in panic…
But then a brave warrior appeared who was not afraid to do battle with this fearsome beast.
Brave, brave Sir Robbie!
They fought long and hard..
..and our brave hero, Sir Robbie of Rouken Glen, sustained a terrible splattering before peace was finally restored.
Thanks to Sir Robbie’s brave sacrifice nearly everyone else remained relatively mud free. I say “nearly everyone” because the silly boy still managed to knock another dog owner over, but hey, you can’t fight tradition.
It was shortly after this that I received payback for my earlier confidence in the power of the puppy field to keep Beagles from wandering. Beanie and Biggles had spent a few minutes hanging around in a corner of the field where some bird nests had been blown into the long grass. I could only see their tails because of the grass, but the pattern of movement suggested a harmless sniffing session. I took my eyes off them for maybe 20 seconds, and when I looked back, they were gone.
I went to their last known location and called Beanie. No response. Then I called Biggles. He’s going through that blissful early stage where his recall is very reliable. I knew if I could get him to come running back, the chances were that Beanie would follow. This time however Biggles didn’t appear and I had to decide between holding position – which is the advice often given when a Beagle wanders off – and going after them. After umming and awing for a minute I chose the latter – it was pretty obvious they’d gone into the woods at the edge of the field.
After a few yards I ran into someone who’d seen them, and she set me on the right path. Thirty seconds later I’d got them both back on lead and the panic was over. It looked like they’d been lured away by the sound of children, and since they had each other for back up, I guess they felt it was OK to leave me. Needless to say they’ll both be getting some intensive recall-reinforcing training this week: hide-and-seek, Beagle ping-pong and so on. Complacency and Beagles is not a good combination!
As we headed back out of the woods I ran into the other “new” Beagle at the park – Captain Jack. We had the usual conversation about names, ages, breeders and so on, and then his owners asked me if it was “easier with two”. I had to laugh, given the nerve jangling experience I’d just had. “It’s better with two” I replied, “but it isn’t easier!”
On the way back to the car yesterday we bumped into yet another Beagle – 6 month old Oscar. His owner plans to bring him to the puppy field next Saturday. On a good day I think we might now have as many as 20 Beagles on ‘Beagle Hill’. That would be a sight to see!