Dunstable Downs & Ashridge

What a week of walks and shenanigans. Sunday started with a great walk around the local lanes and fields. I love all the smells and sniffs, as well as all the rabbit warrens I can stick my nose into.

Having returned home and eaten my breakfast, it was straightaway into the car and we drove north through winding roads and lanes, then across the Grand Union Canal to a place called Dunstable Downs. There were many people there, enjoying the walks and sights on a warm late summer day with the wind blowing breezily through my ears. I was getting excited about visiting the woods and hill tops I could see. However we seemed to be heading toward the Visitor Centre. I had a lovely surprise when I saw Raffa Beagle and her mum waiting for us. Raffa lives in Liverpool and was visiting locally for the day. We walked and woofed with each other whilst scenting the longer grass and admiring the views. Of course we were both asked if we would like strokes and belly rubs which were not turned down. We found a great hill to sit atop and watch the gliders take off and land. It was great fun all day, however we were sad when Raffa had to leave to go home again.

Monday through to Thursday I was able to drag one or the other pawrent around the fields or lanes locally. I even got to meet some Alpaca who live on a farm near me. I don’t go near them as one of them was attacked last year by an off lead dog.

Today was another adventure, this time to Ashridge Estate and Northchurch Common. We had driven past on our way to Dunstable on Sunday but this time we stopped and I got to experience all the sounds, sights and scents of the woods and long grass. We dexplored for about 2 hours and it was great fun to see somewhere new and get all the lovely scents in my nose. I saw squirrels leaping from tree to tree and would have enjoyed chasing them, had I not been shackled to my humum. It was fun wandering about not really knowing where you would end up. Its not big enough to get completely lost in the woods, but the scents and sights would keep me occupied for some considerable time.

It was quite windy which was welcomed as the scents were blown quickly into my nose and my ears flapped happily in the breeze.

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We left after a couple of hours and I expected to return home. However we continued our adventure to the Tring Brewery for some “supplies”. I got to meet Ronnie the Lurcher cross whilst my humans made purchases. There was only one thing left to do when I got home. I had to run around my garden arooing at squirrels and making a noisy nuisance of myself.

My day is done and I can sleep soundly.

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Best dexplorations

Some days you wake up and the sun is shining, the birds are singing and those pesky squirrels are frolicking in your garden. You hear the dawn chorus and think to yourself “Hmm, life is good today”. Breakfast is completed, the harness goes on and I am out for sniffing and snuffling around the lanes nearby to my house. Second part of breakfast duly proferred and then its onto my bed for some morning snoozes. Aah, this is the life.

But what is this, my harness is going back on, my mum looks a little apprehensive and dad looks like he’s taking me out. Again! Up the road we go. Quickly, quickly no time to lose. It appears I have to be somewhere on time. At the station I am ushered through the barriers and the overground train arrives. On we get and my settle mat makes an appearance. This is serious, dad means business. For forty odd minutes I watch the world go by, including Harrow and Wembley with its huge arch cutting the sky. Then suddenly it all goes dark. What is this witchcraft I wonder, nighttime in the daytime. We arrived at Marylebone Station in London. OMD I am actually in London, the capital, the big smoke. Cough cough splutter this air tastes horrible.

We stroll some back roads until we arrive somewhere called Regents Park.

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I have heard of this place, and it doesn’t disappoint me. I saw 4 squirrels , yes 4 of the little blighters and I of course had to introduce myself. Having crossed the Euston Road we then entered the bowels of London at Great Portland Street and took a trip on the smelly choob to somewhere called Liverpool Street. I surfaced onto Bishopsgate to a tumult of people and a single fur. Indeed, there were 2 of us amongst the throngs of people. Stay close, dad said. Stay close. Dont lick that, its disgusting he said. After I allowed dad to use my ibone to make a call, we met with one of the people he worked with in London and I got my first ride in a lift. Upon arriving in the office, I was greeted by many more people in the office, all wanting to give me tickles and cuddles and generally make a fuss of me. I cannot woof that I can blame them. We stayed for a while and they chatted whilst I slept and mooched about getting more tickles, cuddles and a considerable amount of love. I could get used to this. After a while I got a bit bored and needed to dexplore more of the area and reminded dad that it was time to go.

We strolled (I pulled) up Cornhill to Bank to see the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. Thence down Walbrook and across Cannon Street, along the river to Southwark Bridge and across the mighty river Thames.

We strolled past Shakespeare’s Globe and back over the wobbly bridge over the river Thames to St Pauls, gleaming tall and majestic in the near distance. Around St Pauls, into Paternoster Square and up to Postman’s Park for some quiet reflection and thanks to the people who selflessly gave their lives to save others.

We arrived at Barbican station and caught the choob to Baker Street and then strolled (quickly) to Marylebone Station for our homeward journey.

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I was out on my paws when I got back onto the overground train, I curled up on my settle mat and dreamed of my day dexploring some brilliant and wicked places in London.

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I met lovely people, saw some brilliant places, walked through millennia of history and even managed to cross a wobbly bridge. And to top it all, dad just told mum I was perfectly behaved.

A top day of dexplorations and I have proud ears. Now I am off to sleep and dream. I really am the luckiest Beagle Harrier I know.

Love

Some days the sun shines and all seems well and good in the world. Far too often recently I have had sad days, with much reflection and too many times left wondering why things happen and how life can be so cruel and the end so sudden, too often.

The sun shone this morning. I was hitched up in my harness, bungee leads and Canicross belt. Off we set for another adventure. The wind was in my ears and the chill early morning air cleared my senses. Within 15 minutes I had met a Labrador, a Cocker and a Border Terrier, all out enjoying the early morning peace and quiet before the world really gets going around my neck of the woods.

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The church looked resplendent in the sun as it rose over the tree line and the fields and woods were laid out before me. We strolled and dexplored through to the tube station.

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I expected to get on the train and return home, but no. We did get on a train, however we went in the opposite direction to another station. This was new, this was different and I was loving it. Having disembarked at Chorleywood we strolled and dexplored around the common and walked past so many other people and their fur friends all doing the same thing, enjoying probably one of the few days left of warm sunshine this year.

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Having returned to the station I wandered around the tube carriage and enjoyed the journey back to my home station. I am beginning to get used to this.

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We came home and I ran around the garden aroooing at anything I could see, my ears flapping happily in the breeze and a big grin on my face. It was all I could do to flop onto one of my 6 beds and sleep contentedly. Dad told me that I walked and sniffed perfectly today and I am the best Beagle Harrier he knows.

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Thanks dad, I love you and mum. You have given me safety, comfort and love. I am home and I will always be grateful for that.

Arooo Charley Beagle

I seem to be writing these blogs on friends passing over the rainbow bridge far too often for my liking. I wish I didn’t have to consider what to write about friends, both near and far, who I have met personally or known through the medium of social media.

I have had the privilege, nay the honour, of knowing Charley Beagle since my very early days on Twitter. He was one of my first friends and I knew immediately that he and his spaniel brother Boot were fun, friendly and good pals to know and woof with. He lived in the countryside in Shropshire, UK and was always regaling us with his tales of sheep herding, chicken corralling, chatting with cows and helping the farmers out with their daily tasks in the fields and meadows. Both Charley and Boot were wonderfully gentle and understanding with all the other creatures they came into contact with. The sheep took a shine to Boot and the various videos made everyone smile and laugh.

Charley would tell us what it was like on the hills around his house, making us jealous of his adventures, including strolling to the pub and getting tickles and food from the landlord or the regulars at the bar. He would be out in all weathers to enjoy the seasons and bring us all the lovely views and vistas into Wales and Shropshire. A good hearted country dog who had the best of all worlds with love and friendship amidst the knowledge of a warm bed and the promise of more adventures to sleep and dream about.

I first met Charley in December 2016 just before Christmas. It was an annual gathering near Sheffield in Yorkshire to place memorials to those people and their fur buddies who had departed that year and remember those who we loved and missed. There were a few of my twitter pals there. I saw Charley straight away and he was eager to get on with the walk and sniff new smells and explore new places. At the cafe afterwards all the parents were eating cakes and drinking coffee. Charley was quite happy to let his brother Boot take all the limelight, and he was happy to sniff around. I don’t think his tail stopped wagging all day.

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I met Charley again in April 2018. We were at the Beagle World Record Attempt for the biggest single breed dog walk, held at Macclesfield near Manchester. We greeted each other like it was only yesterday, he was the same happy beagle I remembered and we walked together having a great day all the while. We parted company with a brilliant friendship intact between us Beagle brothers.

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Charley had a wonderful holiday to the Scottish Islands this year and the pictures sent back showed that he was enjoying his life and adventures and showed no signs of slowing up. Live every day, and live it properly seemed to be his motto.

To wake up this morning to the horrible saddening news that Charley had taken the longest journey last evening just knocked the stuffing out of me. That he didn’t seem to suffer and “went to sleep” gives me some comfort in my heart. The pain in my heart is for his parents and his brother, Boot. He leaves a huge hole in their collective hearts as he does with all who knew him, met him and laughed with him. I patrolled in your honour today Charley.

That he will be missed will never be doubted. That he will always be remembered fondly and and with a smile is equally undoubted. Charley Beagle I salute you as a good friend and funny beagle pal with a warm and generous presence. I salute you as a fur who enjoyed life to the full, who laughed and cried with the rest of us.

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Enjoy the blackberries in the everlasting meadow, I’ve heard they are the biggest and juiciest ones. Rest easy mate. Until we meet again. Always farewell and never goodbye.

Knocked for six

There is a quote in Britain that can be applied for both good and bad news. I woke up this morning and had a spring in my paw and a smile on my face. I managed to get a wonderful long walk and came back to breakfast and then some snoozes. The day was wonderful and I was enjoying the lovely weather, patrolling my garden and chasing pigeons. Then I looked at my Twitter account and my day crashed to a most unceremonious halt.

One of my best friends, who lives in Argentina, had been ill recently and had been to the vets for various ailments. I heard he had pneumonia and he had been under review for suspected cancer diagnosis. Tommy, for that is his name, went on the longest trip this morning when the vet found he had particularly nasty and aggressive tumours along with the pneumonia. It’s not fair. It’s never fair. I will never understand why anyone or any fur gets this terrible and awful disease. Tommy, I will always remember you and always be grateful for your friendship and love. Siempre va bien, nuncio adios Señor.

Run free good friend, and know that you are always loved by all your friends.

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Knocked for six, and in the worst possible way. I have sad ears.

I think I’m staying

Panic over everyone, I think I’m here to stay. Its appears that I have managed to convince the pawrents that I am a good boy.

When I first came into the house, I really didn’t know if I was staying or if it was another temporary stay. I wanted some significant degree of stability, routine and guidance. I had missed out on a large amount of these three staples of puppy hood and I was skittish, directionless and preferred the sound of my own bark rather than listen to my pawrents. Gradually, over 18 months or so, I worked out that they only wanted me to have the best that they could offer. The best love, the best home, the best training and the best all round help that I needed to put me on the straight and narrow. Many things have changed and mostly for the better as far as I concerned. They would worry about taking me out in public as I would bay, pull and generally be unruly.

We went on holiday to the Lake District in Cumbria and on the first night after travelling we we went to the pub, and they were filled with fear and trepidation. I fell asleep on my settle mat, pretty much next to the bar. Upon the first full day there we went on an 11 mile walk. Upon arriving in the pub they were again fearful of my likely shenanigans. However I slept like a baby once more. This continued at some pace. I went to the pub or I would go to the local town for a stroll and I was getting better at being good. We went away for a few days here and there, and my behaviour got better and better. I was starting to listen to my humans a bit more, and I didn’t really realise I was doing it. We were actually getting more in tune with each other. My old life of worry, uncertainty about my fate and my fears over where I was going to be homed next all receded.

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At home I was coming when called, I would sleep and snooze and be more relaxed and I wasn’t waking up every time someone left or entered a room. Then I surprised them both about 2 days ago. I was in the garden and saw a tiny blackbird chick on the patio. I barked and barked at my pawrents to let them know to do something. I would have played with the little feathered chap earlier in my life, but I just alerted them to the bird. They had proud ears for me because I did the right thing. I probably scared the bird rigid but I didn’t touch.

My life is different, it has changed for the better. And I do not intend to look back. I’m staying.

Sunday funday

It was mighty warm on Sunday and I had no idea what was in store for me. Hudad fell out of bed as usual and looked bleary eyed at me. Humum went off to make a cup of tea. Within 20 minutes, I was harnessed to the immovable object and we were off on our latest Dexpedition.

The woods are alive with smells and noises early on a Sunday morning and I was in my element. Well, I was in my harness and attached to hudad, but you know what I mean. For some reason the squirrels and deer didnt want to play with me as I strolled through their neighbourhood sniffing, smelling and yelling as I went. Up hill, down dale, left, right, across the road and through the footpaths we went. We went past the fields where the sheep live and they bleated at me. Back into the woods and thence close to the park and finally to the Underground station for our return journey. I do like this particular walk, it gives me the best of all worlds. I have sniffs in the woods, meadow, streets, footpaths, fields and then close by the park. The trip home on the tube train is always exciting.

I just managed to flop, in a tired and frazzled state, onto one of my six beds and thought to myself, what an adventure I have had.

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After a few hours, I was harnessed again but this time attached to my humum. Where was I going now? This was unheard of. Two dexpeditions in one day. Was it my birthday? I was confused. Only when we got to the pub did I understand and I laid down quietly on my settle mat to snooze and chill for an hour or so whilst they chatted and chilled out. There were a number of gravy bones secreted in the rucksack which were used to buy my good behaviour in the pub, however this was an acceptable bribe to keep me happy.

What I wasnt expecting was for them to check my harness clips for wear & tear and to find that it might have worn down due to my alleged pulling.

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I’m a lucky hound to have adventures and I do often times wonder about the other less fortunate furs than I who don’t have such privileges. I always know where I have come from, and I know how fortunate I am. If you think of getting a dog, please go to the local shelter and see who is there. We are worth it, I promise.