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.