Mugshots 2014

I’ve got into the habit of taking portraits of our two Beaglets each year around their birthdays. I like to have a record of how they’re changing through the years, and anyway it’s usually good fun. This time around though it proved to be a little more painful, and a lot more costly, than on previous occasions.

I started out with an action shot of the Biggly boy doing what he does best – grabbing socks. I turned our little gym room into a set with a washing line, socks and old-school sprung wooden pegs, and then when all the lighting was ready, let his Biggleship in to see it. I was somewhat concerned that being a contrary little Beagle he might just refuse to go after the socks while the camera was on him, but no, he got straight to it. In fact he snatched the socks with such enthusiasm that I got hit right on the forehead by one of the spring pegs!


Back when he was a very little boy, Biggles used to be possessive and growly over anything he grabbed, but with the help of a behaviorist we turned this around and the “Biggles Exchange Program” was born. Ever since then he’s been the perfect little canine entrepreneur, eagerly gathering up loose socks and other unguarded items and exchanging them for treats and tummy tickles. In times of recession (like when we got a bit better at picking up dirty clothes and popping them into the “to be washed” basket), he adapted, learning to open my underwear drawer and nicking clean socks instead. So I guess it’s understandable that a few lights and cameras wouldn’t put him off a solid business opportunity!

When we moved on to his more traditional portrait session, Biggles was equally business-like. Initially he only let me have one click of the shutter before he dived down off his comfy buffet and demanded a biscuit in payment. It took some pretty tough negotiation involving dried fish cubes and part of a chew before I finally got him to hold still for three shots between treats, but it was worth it.

Biggles at Six Years Old [IMG_9428]

And this is one of the outtakes, but he looked so cute I decided to keep it..


Beanie – who’s going to be seven(!) in less than a month – was the most surprising this time around. In previous years she behaved like a stroppy fashion model, complaining about the conditions and the amount of time the shoot was taking. Judging by the amount of wailing and woofing that occurred, I think she also had dreams of embarking on a singing career. This time around however she was almost perfectly behaved, calmly jumping up onto the buffet and holding still for as long as I wanted. I did say “almost perfectly behaved” of course; at one point while I was reviewing her shots she stuck her snout in my pocket and nicked my stash of poo bags. I recovered them, but the next day when putting said bags to use I discovered that she’d put some holes in them. Still, one very thorough hand wash later I was good to go again. Word to the wise: never shake hands with me when I’ve been walking the dogs!



13 Replies to “Mugshots 2014”

  1. Susan in DE

    Beautiful, beautiful photos! And what a brilliant idea with the socks! Lady combines a diva temperment with a Donald Trump-like ability to negotiate. When we got her last year, the only command she knew was “sit”. It took me a week to teach her “down,” not because she didn’t understand, but because she would slowly start to lower herself to the ground, but would try her best to get me to give her the treat by working her beagly bedroom eyes on me, rather than actually having to do as asked to get it!

  2. Paul Post author

    Thanks Susan!

    A while back a few TV shows insisted on using what to me seemed to be essentially compliance-based tests to measure the relative intelligence of different dog breeds. Of course Collies always won and Beagles scored quite low, but I was always left wondering who’s really smartest? The dog that blindly does what it’s told, or the dog that that thinks “what’s in it for me?” :)

  3. Sue in Texas

    These are wonderful pictures and great commentary. I agree with you Paul, which is smarter? My Beags should wear signs that say “will work for food”. They kind of laugh at me when I ask them to do something without a snack in my hand.

  4. Susan in DE

    Oh,absolutely those tests were biased toward compliance solely for its own sake. I like a dog that actually has a little independence (A little … sometimes beags, and I think especially the girls, are a bit too independent for their own good!). Speaking of smart beagle, have you all seen this brilliant use of beagle by KLM Airlines?

  5. Paul Post author

    That video is absolutely priceless!

    I can just imagine how my two would perform in a job like that! Biggles happily returning the mobile phone with a corner of it chewed off; Beanie gleefully running to the little boy with the torn remnants of his soft toy hanging out of her mouth.. They’d be fired within the first five minutes :D

  6. Julie, JB & Cassie's Mum

    The video’s amazing, had us laughing out loud!! Paul, I do hope your photography business is doing well because you take such fantastic photos. These of the fur babies are wonderful!

  7. Susan in DE

    Just found out the KLM ad is real but not the dog part ….Paul was right that a REAL beagle would probably be a liability in that job!

  8. Paul Post author

    Shame, but I had a feeling that might be the case.

    I guess there’s a reason there aren’t any Beagle guide dogs for the blind, either!

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