Ear Fatigue


Like Beanie & Biggles themselves I really appreciate a treat that lasts a good while; sadly many treats are big on promises, but gone in seconds. I once bought a pack of paddywhack strips that were so tough I had to use power-tools to cut them up into snack-sized portions, only to watch incredulously as my pups crunched and munched through the first serving in under a minute. Despite all the hype, Pedigree Jumbones were a huge disappointment, and the so-called “Everlasting treat ball” sold at our local pet stores that “provides hours of chewing fun”? Well it doesn’t. Not even close. The one treat I can count on to last more than few chomps is cow ears, but after recent events I’m thinking they might just last too long.


One afternoon I was trying hard to get some work finished quickly, but Team Chaos had different ideas. Biggles was going though one of his “I’m going to get something” phases – raiding the cupboards outside our bedroom – while Beanie was rummaging through the toy box and trying to convince me that it was time for a play session. I find it really, really hard to turn Beanie down when she brings a toy to me, but this time I just had to get on with work. I figured a serving of cow ears would buy me the time I needed, so I found the biggest, thickest and most disgusting pair of cow ears that were left in the bulk-buy box and dished them out. It worked beautifully; after 30 seconds of hurried trotting as each recipient found the “right” place to consume their prize, I was rewarded with peace and blissful chewing noises.


I finished my work just as Biggles finished his chewathon, drained the water bowl and requested an urgent visit to the outside loo. I marched him through the kitchen to the patio door, let him out, and then waited for the sound of Beanie pitter-pattering through the hall, because if Biggles wants to go out, it’s a fair bet his sister won’t be far behind. This time however, all I heard was more chewing. I poked my head out round kitchen doorway and there she was, halfway up the corridor happily munching away on what looked like a substantial chunk of remaining cow ear.


Five minutes later Biggles was asking to come in, and Beanie was still chomping. A further ten minutes later Susan was ready to take them both for their teatime walk, but Beanie was still chewing.. and chewing. I went to check on her, and found her demeanor had changed. She’d consumed most of the ear, but there was the knotty, super-hard base of it still clutched between her paws, and she was looking fatigued but determined, like a marathon runner fighting through to the finish line. Susan was impatient to get the walk done so I swapped the last of the ear for a small biscuit, and though Beanie looked a little relieved to be giving her jaws a rest, I could tell she was anxious to get her treat back.


On their return from the walk I figured the best way to do right by them both was to serve the remaining nugget of ear along with Beanie’s evening meal, and slip a regular chew into Biggles bowl too, just so he wouldn’t feel left out. Unfortunately I had still greatly underestimated the chewing time left in that Adamantium-like knot of cow ear, and as Beanie got to work again, Biggles was looking very confused. His chew had gone down so fast he hadn’t even noticed it, but he had noticed Beanie’s ear. We’ve always obeyed the “if one Beagle gets, so does the other” rule, so he knew that there must be an equivalent treat for him somewhere. He began wagging his tail and hunting around the hall for the surprise that he’d somehow missed, and every few steps he looked back at me to see if I was giving him clues about where it might be, because any time he loses a bit of food under furniture I’m always there to help him get it.


He looked so hopeful and trusting that I couldn’t let him down, so I went back into the kitchen and emerged with a stick of paddywhack. This satisfied Biggles, but now Beanie – who was still tackling her ear – was feeling cheated out of a stick of paddywhack. The evening came very close to disappearing in round after round of compensatory treat servings. Yes, there is such a thing as a treat that lasts too long.




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