The Muckabout Street Surfing Challenge

Even by lowly human standards my nose is a poor performer; it can detect quite strong smells – you know, the kind of thing that wafts your way when you’re sat next to a sleepy Beagle – but more subtle things escape it. In spite of this dysfunction, I know for a fact that ground-frost dramatically heightens the nasal allure of discarded food. I gained this knowledge the hard way – by dragging Beanie & Biggles away from things over and over again – and trust me, the dragging has been particularly hard over the last couple of weeks.


Beanie is always the peskiest offender in this respect. In mild weather she can walk on lead reasonably well until she encounters something edible, at which point she becomes a crazed scavenger, lunging at anything she sees on the pavement. During the recent cold snap however she’s been in scavenger mode on every walk, right from the first slippery step to the last. The worst example of this came when I foolishly chose to take our party along the main road out of our village.

The route takes us by many Beagle points of interest such as bins, front gardens, lamp poles and so on, and the resulting stoppages have led us to rename this stretch of road “Muck-about Street”. However on one particularly cold morning the pesk level was dialled right up to eleven, thanks to a discarded takeaway meal. I never managed to identify exactly what the meal had contained, but the packaging suggested that it was Chinese in origin; regardless, Beanie wanted it really, really badly. My first thought was to dodge round it by walking on the road, but a constant stream of cars made this impossible. If I’d been smart, I’d have simply held my ground until a break in the cars opened up, but as it was I decided to pin Beanie & Biggles to my side and frog-march them past as quickly as I could. Unsurprisingly I wasn’t fast enough and Beanie managed to get a solid grip on the bag of frozen goodies. Past experience has taught me the futility of trying to manually extract a takeway bag from her jaws; the bag tears open, spilling its contents all over the path, and suddenly there’s not one but two Beagles with their mouths stuffed full of forbidden items. Instead I went for speed approach: break into a sprint, dragging Beanie & Biggles behind me in the hope that either the bag or its contents would eventually fall out of reach.

Beanie knew what I was doing; she hung back as best she could, digging her paws into the pavement and clinging on desperately to the bag. Unfortunately for her, Biggles got into the spirit of things (he always loves a sprint) and shot past me on his lead to provide an extra burst of acceleration. This dragged The Beanster into motion and I was certain she’d have to ditch the bag any second; it was just too big for her to carry out in front and still keep up. However, she quickly found a solution to the problem: keeping her jaws tightly anchored on the top of the bag, she rested her front paws on its lower half. It was almost like her front end was surfing on top of the takeaway, with her little rear legs working extra hard to keep up as she was dragged along. She kept going like this for several yards before friction finally destroyed the bag. I saw the panic in her eyes as the contents spilled out and fell behind us, leaving her clutching nothing but shredded polythene. Victory was mine, but Beanie shot me her best Clint-Eastwood-style mean look and suddenly I didn’t feel like celebrating. She went into Greta-Garbo mode for the rest of the morning, only emerging from her custom-made bed to slurp from my unguarded coffee cup.


Beanie in Garbo mode. Those WOOFs on her bed are back to front; they should actually read “FOOW” – an acronym for “F-Off Outside World”

6 Replies to “The Muckabout Street Surfing Challenge”

  1. Susan in Delaware

    Oh, Beanie, Beanie, Beanie! I do not blame you for not wanting to give up such a bag of goodies! It is amazing how you have invented a new sport. :)

  2. Julie - JB, Cassie and Buzz's Mum

    Eating things they shouldn’t is the worst characteristic beagles have! I don’t mind if they do manage to get things like chips and pizza, but during the summer Cassie emerged from under a bush near our house with the remains of a bunch of grapes in her mouth! I didn’t know if she’d eaten any and if so, how many. We tried not to worry but a couple of days later she was sick and lethargic, so we went to the vet. They did a blood test and we got the result an hour or so later, which said that she had none of the dangerous enzymes from grapes in her blood. Such a relief – the vet concluded it was something else she’d eaten that she shouldn’t have that caused the problem. If only people would eat the food they’ve paid for, or put it in a bin if they don’t want it, beagle walks would be far less stressful and less expensive due to numerous vet visits. Love the photo of her sulking in her beagle cave!!!

  3. Paul Post author

    Amen to all of that! Lucky escape with the grapes.

    A common hazard at the entry to our local beach is small portions of corn-on-the-cob; people get drive-thru lunches to eat at the seafront then fling their leftovers out of the window, even though ample bins are provided just a few yards away.

    As Kenney Everett used to say: “Round ’em up, put ’em in a field and..” I’ll omit the rest for fear of being put on the terrorist watch list :)

  4. Sherry Hoeppner

    What an absolutely wonderful pic of your lovely girl! She has the most expressive eyes, what a beautiful girl. I can’t help but notice that she has a bit of white creeping around her eyes these days and with her most recent birthday you’ve no doubt given it a bit of thought as well. You mentioned in her birthday post that she has more more years behind than ahead. Well I will happily share that my gentleman beagle is fifteen years old and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s mostly deaf, but would still rather jump over the steps than actually walk up them, and absolutely NOTHING stops or tops a good trail hike. He’s still as fast as ever to abscond with ahem, “leftovers”, graciously shared by random lazy strangers who can’t walk 20 paces to a bin, so you have my sympathy and understanding there. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

  5. Paul Post author

    Thanks Sherry! I love hearing about Beagles that just keep on truckin’, hopefully our two are going to be the same :)

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