(Un)Happy Feet

Susan’s been handling most of the morning dog walks lately while I put in some extra work hours, so when I do take Beanie & Biggles out I usually try to make the walk special in some way. One of our recent outings certainly was “special”, but not in a good way!

I’d taken the pups for a wander around Dundonald castle. It was an uncharacteristically beautiful day – not exactly warm, but sunny with clear skies, and as we approached an old ruin near the castle I couldn’t resist the temptation to get a couple of shots of it…



Beanie and Biggles were on their extenders and I kept them close to me, but being Beagles they couldn’t help investigating the foliage around them. There must been something unpleasant growing there because as we resumed our walk I noticed Beanie fussing over one of her paws.


A beautiful day, but all’s not well in the land of paws…

Now it’s worth pointing out that Beanie is a complete wimp when it comes to her tootsies. If anything gets between her toes or attached to her pads she stops dead, lifts her foot and waits for one of us to make it better. Needless to say I indulged her latest request for a roadside service and finding nothing obviously wrong, we continued on – although it was clear that something was still bothering her. Fortunately we went through some mud a couple of minutes later and after that, all was well.. or so it seemed.


With all tootsies back in a roadworthy state..


..the adventure continues!

We had a great time; the trails looked gorgeous in the autumn sun, and there was plenty of sniffage for even the most discerning noses. On the return journey Biggles had his head down all the way back to the car and kept making noises like a geiger counter with a head cold! Both our pups fell asleep on the short drive home, but once I got them back in the house, Beanie rapidly became agitated. She started licking all her feet, then rubbing herself against anything with a scratchy surface, and finally took to running round the house likeĀ  a puppy having a “mad hour”. I let her into the garden and she sprinted round and round at break-neck speed before stopping by the fence for a prolonged scratch. There were still no visible changes in her paws or skin, but still she seemed top be having some kind of allergic reaction. I’ve got a couple of bad allergies myself, so I had a lot empathy for her, and I broke open a pack of Piriton that I keep especially for situations like this. Straight Piriton – not the “non-drowsy” offshoots like Piriteze – can be given to dogs to help calm allergic reactions. I gave her a couple of tablets (the dosage is higher for dogs), Susan gave her a gentle oatmeal paw-bath, and then we sat tight until the pills took effect.

Just as Beanie was calming down, Biggles showed signs that was having a reaction too. Like Beanie he began by licking his paws and rubbing himelf against things, and when that didn’t do the trick he woofed angrily at his paws. That’s a typically Biggles solution; when faced with a problem, if you can’t chew it or pee on it, woof at it indignantly until it goes away. Well this was going to take a lot of woofing to get rid of, so I served up two Piriton tablets for my boy, and in due course he too calmed down enough to have a nap.

All things considered that was certainly not one of our best outings, but we had a great one tonight. My head was swimming from battling my way through Microsoft documentation and I figured that a run on the beach would be the best cure. Since it was 6pm it was already pitch black outside, but I grabbed a head torch, loaded Beanie & Biggles into the car and we went for nighttime jog by the sea. For safety’s sake I’d put a couple of cheap eBay flashing tags on their collars and as we ran the tailed members of our group got very excited and took to wrestling, chasing and shoulder-barging each other. It must have looked like some weird night-club act, with two furry neon-clad dancers cavorting in the spotlight cast by my head torch. Fortunately there was no-one else on the beach to see it, save a for a lone Golden Retriever, and he promised to keep quiet about it!