A glimpse of life on the other side


Recently we helped out one of our neighbors by looking after their one year old pup for a few hours. It was the first non-Beagle doggy experience I’ve had in some time, and it began with me letting myself into their house to take the little chap for a walk together with our two hooligans.

The first thing that struck me was that he’d been trusted enough to be left in the kitchen without being crated. From what I can gather lots of dogs get to hang out in kitchens, which has always seemed bizarre to me, because that’s one place I would never, ever leave Beanie & Biggles unsupervised. After all what other room in the house has food of every possible type, from fresh meat to binned scraps, harmless veg to highly dog-toxic fruit, not to mention loads of potentially deadly cleaning agents? Of course all these things can be put out of reach, in the fridge, in cupboards or behind closed doors, but in my experience any self-respecting Beagle will either find a way to overcome these obstacles or do shocking damage to himself and/or the kitchen in the attempt. All it takes is sufficient time and opportunity.

The neighbor’s pup however had been gifted two hours or more of unsupervised kitchen access, and what had he done with it? Nothing! He hadn’t even made an attempt at liberating his evening meal – ready-served and waiting in his bowl – from the worktop! I was aghast. Had I just stumbled into a parallel universe of opposites where summer weather doesn’t mean rain, roads don’t have potholes, and every dog is a well-behaved anti-Beagle?

Fortunately things got slightly more normal when I approached the little fella to put his lead on. He did a play bow, evaded my attempts to grab him, and scarpered past me into the garden. I eventually managed to get him safely tethered using a dog biccie as a distraction, but his artful dodging reminded of Biggles. The Bigglet doesn’t mind his lead, but he will certainly give us the run-around if we try to put his harness on in the house, so much so that we sometimes sing “Catch the Biggle” to the same tune as “Stop the pigeon” as we try to corner him. It doesn’t help, but it does make it more entertaining.

Anyway, with the little boy finally on lead, I met up with Susan and Beanie & Biggles to start our walk. For the next fifteen minutes I’d say that my walking companion was almost a match for our two Beagles in terms of peskiness, though it manifested in different ways from them. Instead of trying to poo on other people’s driveways and in the middle of the road, or dive in front of approaching cars to grab dropped food wrappers, or woof provocatively at much bigger dogs, this little boy poured all his efforts into pulling unpredictably and stopping to pee on everything he saw. As we continued walking however I decided to try a few lead control techniques that I remembered from puppy classes long passed, and amazingly, they worked. For the last half of the walk he was trouble-free, trotting calmly at my side on a loose lead. By this time of course Beanie had swallowed some unknown item she’d snatched from the gutter, and Biggles had acquired a brown skid-mark on his bum-cheek after a roll attempt that hadn’t quite worked out. I dropped the furry neighbor off at his house, and he trotted back into his kitchen without even glancing back at the bowl of food on the worktop.

On the way back to my own house I must admit I briefly wondered how our lives might have been if we’d chosen a different dog breed over eight years ago. My musings were interrupted when I saw a little face watching me through the window; it was Beanie, perched on the sofa. As soon as our eyes met her tail started wagging furiously, and I got a particularly cuddly welcome as I opened the door. On entering the lounge I could see that Biggles already been busy; my cup – which had previously contained the dregs of a serving of hot-chocolate – had been removed from my desk and was lying on the blanket next to his lordship.

“Was that you Biggles?” I asked.

Biggles just rolled over onto his back, exposing his tummy as if to say “Check this out Dad, it’s all furry, and you can tickle it if you want to.”

I did tickle it of course, and while I was doing so Beanie practised her fly hunting skills, nearly wrecking the window blinds in the process.


We’re not spying on the neighbors in this shot (though we like to do that from time to time); nope, it’s just a fly hunt in progress.

What would things have been like with a “normal” dog? Simpler, probably more economical (vet induced vomiting ain’t cheap), but at the same time so much less colorful and entertaining. Give me a Beagle any day.


In fact give me two of them, because one busy Beagle bottom on its own just doesn’t look right.


4 Replies to “A glimpse of life on the other side”

  1. Julie - JB, Cassie and Buzz's Mummy

    JB stayed in the kitchen for five hours a day for six years until my husband retired and he never touched anything. He had a good long walk before I left for work and he slept the entire time I was out, even when he was only 9 months old, which is when we first started to leave him. I know he slept because whilst out on walkies one afternoon I saw our window cleaner and he said ‘oh, you’ve still got him then, I thought you’d got rid of him because I never see him when I do your windows’. Now we have patio doors in the kitchen and you’d think that our brave hound would be up and barking if someone was walking around at the back of the house, but obviously not!! He was such a good boy and never protested about being left whilst I went to my part time job. He did think that ripping the post up when it popped through the door was a good game a couple of times but he was left in no doubt that we weren’t amused and he stopped doing it very quickly! Miss him so much, even though we still have Cassie and Buzz of course. Michael is now retired but on the odd day when we’re both out and can’t take the beags they stay on their own and have the run of the house (other than the lounge)and, touch wood, have never touched anything they shouldn’t.

  2. Paul Post author

    Well it’s not like that in our house. Just this morning Beanie had to go hump Susan’s leg and drink her coffee to regain her street-cred after I’d given her a really soppy cuddle.

  3. Susan in Delaware

    We’ve had 4 beagles in a 12 year period (the only downside of adopting older dogs), and although there have been some issues, we’ve not crated them. Our first, Josie, had major anxiety, and the others just really haven’t needed it (Well, there’s been some trouble and a US $3000 vet invoice for Lady’s unsupervised inappropriate ingestion of non-food objects, but not bad for that period of time). Rob works from home and when we’re going to be away for a while, we do close off most of the house and block Lady and Ringo into one room and a hallway, with access to the dog door and garden. They’re bad, but don’t seem as incorrigible as Beanie and Biggles.

  4. Paul Post author

    Hi Susan – sorry for not replying sooner; we’ve just been on another little jaunt away from home, during which the two B’s proved once again that they can’t be left unsupervised :)

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