Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Well, all I can say is that this Einstein bloke clearly had no experience of Beagles, otherwise he’d have realized that he was talking utter crap. Beagles try the same tricks and strategies over and over, day in, day out, and while most of the time they don’t work, there is always the chance that this time things will be different. The key is persistence; just keep going for long enough and eventually you’ll get lucky.
To demonstrate the truth of this, consider the classic “double-dinner” ploy. This is where a Beagle in a two-human family tries to convince humie “A” that he/she hasn’t been fed yet, even though humie “B” served up doggy dinner barely an hour ago. Beanie & Biggles have been trying to dupe us with this every day of their lives since they came to live with us. In Beanie’s case, that’s about 3700 attempts to get a double dinner, and 3699 of those attempts failed miserably. Einstein would have given up after two tries. A Collie dog would probably have thrown in the towel well before reaching 100 repetitions, but my pups kept on trying. And trying. And yesterday, IT WORKED!
Bear with me while I document the circumstances behind this remarkable event.
In your face, Einstein!
Sick of doing boring local walks and beach runs in spectacularly grotty weather, I jumped at yesterday’s cold but sunny forecast and decided to take Team Chaos for a walk up Ben A’an. Hills are usually out of the question at this time of year due to ice and snow, but Ben A’an is small, has a great path and is hugely popular; conditions have to be really bad to take it off the menu.
Aiming to do the hill in the early afternoon, I gave Beanie & Biggles an early breakfast without any prior walk and packed the van with all the essentials: water, coats, harnesses and leads, munchy sticks, cow ears, bone-shaped biccies, bowls and – crucially – a can of Chappie to provide a filling dinner when we got back down.
We’ve been up Ben A’an several times before and I remember it being longer and harder on the legs than it was on this occasion. Maybe I’ve got fitter and stronger, or maybe it was thanks to a much improved path, but we reached the summit in barely 45 minutes even with frequent stoppages for photos / pees / poops / sniffs.
It was very cold and windy up there but clear, and the views over Loch Katrine and across to Ben Venue were beautiful as always.
It was a throughly enjoyable and uneventful walk, and after Beanie called “time” we headed back down, arriving at the van well before the light failed. I swapped my boots for trainers, took off coats and harnesses, and then – most definitely and without the slightest room for doubt – I served up two bowls filled with “original” flavor Chappie, which happens to be Biggles’ favorite. Beanie and Biggles – most definitely and without the slightest room for doubt – consumed said Chappie in haste, and then proceeded to chomp through a cow ear each.
When we got back home I let the pups into the house to greet Susan, then set about the longer process of bringing every thing back in from the van. While I was occupied with this, Beanie & Biggles tried their favorite con trick on their mum. She’d been working hard so maybe she was distracted, or maybe the bowls I brought in from the van looked too clean to have been used, or maybe Beanie’s dinner-summoning dance was just really, really good this time, but whatever the reason, Susan took the bowls and started filling them with kibble. Just at that point I came back into the house with another load of stuff and heard the sound of kibble hitting thin metal.
“Susie they’ve duped you – they’ve already had their nosh!” I shouted.
But here’s the thing: once you start serving up dinner, you have to finish. This isn’t NASA; there is no big red “Abort Launch!” button for dinner. And so, after a decade of trying and failing to con one of us into serving up dinner twice, our pups finally triumphed and proved Einstein wrong in the process. That’s something worth woofing about, not that Biggles is ever short of an excuse.