Heatwave

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It’s a common complaint in our part of the world that there hasn’t been a proper summer for years. Well, now we’ve finally got one, with week after week of sunny, rain-free weather, and guess what? It’s too hot! I know it’s too hot because every couple of minutes there’s a loud thudding sound as Biggles wanders over to an area of the floor that he thinks might be cooler and collapses with all the grace of a drunk rugby player. Beanie doesn’t do this, but only because she’s almost permanently stationed in our bedroom, which is the coolest room in the house. In conditions like this living by the coast really comes into its own; no matter how hot it is, long energetic walks are still possible thanks to that ever present big salty paddling pool.

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When the weather’s sunny but not overly warm I have to exercise extra caution when unleashing Team Chaos because they’re quite likely to go off in search of picnic debris. This week however I’ve been able to count on them heading straight into the cool wet stuff the instant I unclip their leads. Admittedly Beanie in particular has sometimes embarked on Project Picnic Hunt once she’s cooled off sufficiently, but for the most part, the two of them have been surprisingly manageable.

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It’s almost like having a regular doggies, just so long as I don’t break the cardinal rules of off-lead Beagling:

  • never run out of chicken
  • never take your eyes off them
  • never run out of chicken
  • always get the little buggers back on lead before sunset, or the dusk scents will lead them astray
  • and most importantly, never run out of chicken

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Golden Hour Biggles [5D4_2282]

Did someone mention chicken?5D4_2128

Yep, apparently someone did and Beanie is inbound!

Superman will never be the same again

It’s not often that Beanie & Biggles get individual walks, and still rarer that one of them has an intentional solo offlead adventure, so when I unleashed Biggles on the beach at Barassie to serve as a model in a product shoot I was doing, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

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As it turned out, he was absolutely brilliant! He stuck to me like glue as I hunted for good locations, and even seemed to read my mind when I thought about posing him on top of rocks. What I really needed though was action shots of him dashing through water, so I put him in a sit-wait at various points, got into position with my camera, and recalled him. I couldn’t always predict the path he would take on his return, but he did come back every time and hang around at my feet as I checked the results.

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A lot of treats got handed out during that photoshoot, and by the end of it I felt even closer to my little boy than I normally do. As we walked back to the van I spotted the unmistakable profile of Beanie watching out for us from the driver’s seat. Her tail started wagging uncontrollably when she saw us, and when we were just a few meters from the van she dived off the seat to meet us at the door. The greeting we both received from her was incredible – it was obvious she’d really missed us, and though I took them both on a joint run along the beach straight afterwards, Susan told me in no uncertain terms that I should hold another solo photoshoot, this time with Beanie as the star. So I did.

Spring Beagle! [5D4_0321]

Where Biggles almost walked to heel when offlead, Beanie was much more into sniffing and exploring as we walked across the beach, but any time I called her for a shot, she was there in a flash.

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The only problem I had with The Beanster was her insistance on the one shot, one biccie rule. Any time I tried to get a few extra shutter clicks in, she wasn’t having it. Rules are rules, and Beanie has always been a stickler for them.

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On our return to the van I found that Biggles hadn’t been too bothered by our departure, but he was happy to see us all the same. As before we went on another normal beach run together to round things off, and by the end of it, Beanie was ready for a bit of.. private time.

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There may not be an actual “Do not disturb” sign in plain view, but the body language says it all!

Back at home when I was processing the photos I became acutely aware of just how often Biggles’ rude bits had made it into the frame. I had to reject a lot of otherwise cute images due to the conspicuous presence of his furry tackle, and I started to wonder if maybe he’d done it deliberately. I think I got my answer later in the day when one of the old Christopher Reeve-era Superman films came on the telly. Initially Biggles was curled up on the sofa, but just as John Williams’ excellent signature theme started to play, he rolled over onto his back and put it all on show.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it isn’t, and it certainly wouldn’t get a PG rating like the movie.

It could have been a coincidence, but it felt like a statement, and I’m now completely incapable of hearing that tune without thinking of Biggles’s timely display.

 

Magic Bottoms and Outrageous Seagulls

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I don’t know if this is a common Beagle-owner trait or something that’s peculiar to me, but some weird part of my brain always times Beanie and Biggles when they go for a dump. Though I couldn’t put an actual number to it, I have a sense of what constitutes a normal squat time; if this is exceeded I become concerned, sometimes with good reason. At the very least, a long squat can indicate the presence of what a software engineer might describe as improperly terminated output. If that “output” is left to dangle there for too long, the afflicted Beagle will almost certainly try to remedy the situation by scooting on the ground, leaving a skid-mark on their fur that is as unpleasant to view as it is nose-unfriendly. At the other end of the scale, an overly long poo attempt could indicate a more serious issue such as a blockage. Consequently when the Beanster assumed the position for way too long on a recent beach run, she got my attention.

As I headed to her she came out of her squat and ran to me, but her gait didn’t quite look normal and she kept pausing every few yards. Given that she’d only just returned to full off-lead activity after a shoulder tweak I wasn’t sure whether to be more concerned about that or the overlong poo. As it turned out, I soon discovered that the two symptoms had the same cause. When I’d unclipped her lead just a few minutes ago, she’d had one tail, but now she had two. One was long, furry and mostly brown with a white tip, while the other was only six inches in length, and mostly white with random streaks of brown along it. Immediately identifying the second one as the imposter, I prepared for the extraction; a poo bag went over my hand, and I gingerly grasped the redundant tail and gently began to pull on it. An inch of extra tail came out of Beanie’s bum hole making it seven inches long in total, then another inch, and all the while I felt certain that I was about to reach the end of it, but it just kept on coming. As it passed 10 inches in length I imagined myself as an old-school magician pulling an endless stream of handkerchiefs out of a pocket. At eleven inches I was expecting to see the ears of a rabbit beginning to emerge out of Beanie’s orifice, but finally at twelve inches the thing – which appeared to be the remnants of a plastic bag – came free from Beanie’s magic bottom. She was very relieved to get that out of her, and so was I, though I was left puzzling over how it got in there in the first place. The rest of our beach run went without incident, but the day still had one little surprise to spring on us.

After the run I bundled the pups into their crates in the car, picked up Susan from the gym and parked up at our local supermarket. We have a policy of never leaving our Beagles unattended in a vehicle, so while Susan went shopping I kept watch over the furry types. Biggles settled down for a nap almost immediately, but Beanie sat up in her crate to snoop on the other shoppers. Suddenly I heard something tap the roof of the car, and Beanie sprang to attention, while Biggles started to snore. I checked the mirrors but saw no-one in the immediate vicinity. Just as I was about to dismiss the sound, it happened again, and again. Something was on the roof of our car, and it was moving! Beanie sounded the alarm and her excited movements caused the car to rock slightly on its suspension. This disturbed the visitor on our roof, causing more tapping, which in turn prompted yet more baying, but Biggles remained curled up and snoring through it all. My ears were starting to ring from the noise and clearly it had got too much for our visitor also, because whatever it was shifted to the roof an adjacent car finally allowing us to view it: a particularly fat seagull. Seeing the cause of the disturbance didn’t stop Beanie’s baying frenzy, but its tone did at least switch from alarm to outrage. The noise soon attracted the attention of passers-by and I couldn’t help but chuckle, at which point Captain Vigilant in the crate next to Beanie woke up, let out a startled woof and sprang to his feet. Some days my little boy has the reactions of a drugged Sloth, but this day he wasn’t anything like that fast :) The baying continued for short while even after the seagull had departed, and as often happens I was left wishing I had a sweatshirt with “I’m not with these Beagles” printed on it in bold letters.

Finally, here are a few shots from a less eventful day out at our local park.

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This next shot is a near-duplicate of one I took over seven years ago. Apart from some white fur around the eyes, the pups haven’t changed much!

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Beanie and Biggles as they are today

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And as they were seven years ago