No matter how many walks, house and garden play sessions they get, I never feel that the pups have been properly exercised & stimulated unless they get a couple of off-lead romps each week. And what do I get in return for all this dedication to their well-being and quality of life? Nothing but worries for their safety and yet another flagrant display of naughtiness, that’s what.


Obviously I was expecting some level of naughty, but they outdid themselves this time. I was trailing after them up and down the beach for ages, getting increasingly concerned that darkness would fall before I got them safely back on lead again.


Like most Beagles, Beanie & Biggles aren’t at home in the water, but when they’re excited and in pursuit of birds they’ll happily charge into the sea and can quickly find themselves out of their depth. For that reason I always time our beach adventures so that the tide is incoming.


So at least I didn’t have to worry about them getting washed out to sea.


But they just kept on charging up and down the beach, some times covering so much distance that I could barely see them.



Paddling beagle [2A6A2312]

At least I could always hear them. Whenever Beanie made a new attack run on the birds Biggles would temporarily lose her and bay his head off as he fought to catch up.


Every time she passed by I tried to lure Beanie back to me with a handful of chicken, but she was determined to catch her own bird meat!


The sun set and the light started to fade, but still they kept going!


Then abruptly, and for no discernible reason, they were done. They trotted back to me, soaking wet and covered in sand, and got their mouths filled with chicken and their leads firmly attached.

When I got them back home Susan instantly knew they’d been naughty. As she put it: “when even the tops of their bums are dirty, you know they’ve had a good time”. And so they had, but such a total lack of respect for my authoritah demanded some kind of reprisal. “You’re both grounded! No more off-leaders for a week!” I told them. But I don’t think they took me any more seriously than they had on the beach.


I guess they know I’m a soft touch went comes to them having fun.

The day it didn’t rain (much)

Looking at the news it seems like pretty much the lower third of Britain is under water right now. Here in Ayrshire we haven’t had any flooding, but we have had a long run of horrible, wet and stormy weather. Oddly enough when the weather’s really grotty I much prefer running with the pups on the beach to walking with them; I suppose getting drenched by rain is not an issue when you’ve already accepted that you’re going to be soaking in your own sweat. Nevertheless, we’ve had some runs recently that pushed my resilience to the limit; on Thursday I had to pitch forward at 45 degrees just to get purchase against the wind, and Beanie & Biggles kept looking round to see what was tugging on their lines! Today however there was a break in the weather. I can’t say that it didn’t rain, but at least it didn’t rain much, and we used this brief respite to inspect the beach at a more leisurely pace.


Well, it started out leisurely.. but then Beanie caught sight of a group of birds further up the beach, and suddenly everything shifted into top gear.


Biggles glances back over his shoulder as if to say “see you later Dad, we’re off!”

Needless to say the raid on the birds did not result in any captures, and in due course the dynamic duo turned and sprinted back to us for the one kind poultry they could catch: cooked chicken.


We’re back! Get the chicken out!


Once they’d refueled sufficiently they were off again!




We had several more hunt / RTC (Return To Chicken) cycles during the walk; each time the hunting portion grew longer and bolder, and each time the retrieval of the chicken grew more difficult for her Beanieship. The problem she encountered, in a word, was Biggles. He likes chicken as much as the next Beagle, but he likes to tease his sister even more. Whenever she turned to sprint back for a refueling, Biggles playfully tried to block & barge her.



Given that Biggles has already had his bum bitten by his sister on several occasions, you might think that getting between her and a lump of chicken would be.. unwise. Happily for him, Beanie saw the lighter side and rose to his challenge. Using her superior agility she was able to confuse, misdirect & wrong-foot him, always arriving first at the food station otherwise known as Susan.




It was a shame to finally put them back on lead and head home, but I guess you’ve always got to leave some adventures for another day.


Christmas 2013: Snake attacks and Duckicide

Last year we spent Christmas Day shivering around the so-called “Arrochar Alps”. This time we went for a less adventurous Christmas; Susan prepared the nosh while I took our two munchkins out for a cold and windy but otherwise very pleasant run on the beach:

Usually high winds make Beanie & Biggles hyper and they sprint about like crazy during their mid-run offlead play, but this time they were pretty quiet. I suspect they were still somewhat pooped from the previous night’s walk in Troon. It had been really windy then, almost gale force windy, and the two of them had been darting about all over the place on their extending leads, covering probably 6 times the distance of the actual walk. At one point Biggles fell behind to examine something disgusting, then – as often happens – he got the idea of sprinting back up to Beanie and shoulder-barging her.  Unfortunately a sudden gust gave him unexpected acceleration and he nearly ended up embedding his head in Beanie’s bum. He’d have been on the receiving end of some cross words if she hadn’t been so obsessed with speed sniffing that she didn’t even notice the rear-ender.

Anyway, back to Christmas Day. After a thorough feeding and a short nap, it was time for the presents. Choosing presents for people can be tricky enough, but it can be really tough to get it right when you’re buying for doggies. Obviously food always goes down well, but when it comes to things like toys, you can never be sure how they’re going to be received. Some things can go down a storm, while others barely get a sniff. Since squeaky yet robust soft toys had worked out pretty well earlier this year for their birthdays, we followed the same formula for Christmas; Biggles got a heavily stitched squeaky duck, while Beanie got a 3 ft rope-filled snake with a squeaky head and rattling tail. The snake – Susan’s choice – was an instant hit with the Beanster!




She just couldn’t get enough of Hissing Sid, and despite some serious rough-housing on the day and in subsequent play sessions, he’s still going strong and is her favorite toy by far.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of Biggles’ duck. As soon as the wrapping was off, Biggles grabbed him and took him out of the room and into the “corridor of doom” with a very purposeful trot; the kind of trot that’s usually reserved for socks that are about to be, er, heavily modified. Susan went after him and ushered him back in within a minute, but the duck had already lost his supposedly tuggable rope tail.


Biggles is normally pretty gentle with soft toys, but apparently this duck had awakened his hunting instincts. He drew back onto his rear legs and pounced. The tail-less duck was shaken mercilessly, its stitches were pulled apart, and it’s soft felt-like back was ripped open.




After barely 3 minutes of frenzied play, Mr Duck had to be confiscated for safety reasons.


Yep, The Bigglet can be a fearsome killing machine when he wants to be. Duvets respect him, smelly socks fear him, and many freshly cooked peanut butter cookies have met an untimely end in his deadly maw. Rest in peace Mr Duck, your sacrifice gave my boy an enjoyable if brief play session, and left a mercifully small dent in my wallet.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone who isn’t a squeaky duck!