Bad beagle

I may moan about the beagle from time to time, but the fact is that even I have to admit, the beagle is the most good-natured, docile and loving of dogs.
True, the beagle may have many faults, but her amiable nature is undeniable.

Except this morning.

It started as any other, with the harness going on, the lead being clipped into place, and a left turn up the road for a nice little 3.5km wander and snorf.  And then the unthinkable happened: the beagle snapped at the ankles of a passing jogger.

Bad beagle.

She didn’t get very close, to be fair. But still, this is wholly inexcusable, and though I apologised immediately and he was very nice about it, I found myself rather embarrassed and actually rather shocked.
This was not typical beagle behaviour.

The grumpy, somewhat aggressive behaviour continued through the walk, but thankfully, I was forewarned and kept things (mainly the beagle) on a very short leash. Still, we managed snarls and tugs in the direction of people, vehicles, other dogs, squirrels (ok, fair enough) and birds. Feisty, irascible animal. She even had a bit of a go at a fence.

A fence! How grumpy do you have to be to take a pop at a fence?

I’m putting this weird, out of character behaviour down to her just getting out of the wrong side of her basket this morning, and she’s actually been absolutely fine ever since we got home, but I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on her next time we head out around the neighbourhood.

It’s still raining

I mentioned that today was going to be damp, and so it has proved.

The kids’ school postponed their annual Spring Fair because the weather was forecast to be awful, and it’s a good job they did. It’s been raining for about 12 hours now, it’s still raining, and we’re already approaching an incredible 100mm. The pool is overcapacity, the gutters overflowing, the drains overwhelmed and the beagle is, well… overall… actually rather unimpressed. It even refused to go out for a wee this morning, wandering up to the window before turning back to me with a look that very clearly said:

“Nooit, may bru. Are you jas?”

The beagle has been learning facial colloquial Afrikaans for a while now.

After a slow start, the catchment areas for the city water supply are now catching up a bit. Dwarsberg is up to about 70mm for the day, including almost 20mm in the last hour alone. It’s a nice little pre-summer top-up for the dams.

I’m due to go out to a farm near Montagu on a job next week, and I’m hoping that they’ve managed to get a bit of rain out there as well. It’s been dry and that’s not good for farming. (Neither is it good for me, by the way: that dust gets everywhere. Everywhere.)

I’m fairly convinced that today has been the wettest day of the year by some distance (in my garden at least). But I’d like things to brighten up for the weekend*, and then can we get into a bit more of a summery vibe, please?

Everything is soggy – including the beagle.

 

* forecast is for more rain on Sunday

Mostly snorfing

Today’s beagle walk through Claremont, up that hill in Bishopscourt and back down through Wynberg Park was a slow one. The reason for this was the sheer amount of snorfing that occurred while we were out.

Beagles, much like humans, have 5 senses. The touch and taste are very much the same in both species, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Beagle sight is used exclusively for spotting squirrels, and it works quite well.
Sadly however, their hearing is often clearly muffled by large flappy ears. Spoken instructions or commands are usually ignored, not just because of the stubborn nature of the breed, but also because they are often simply not heard underneath those ridiculous, huge, pendulous hanging bits of furry skin on either side of its head.

Evolution has not favoured the beagle’s hearing system. Unless it detects the sound of a food item being unwrapped in the kitchen, of course.
Then there doesn’t seem to be any handicap at all.

However, what natural selection has removed from the aural abilities of the breed, it has surely made up for in that nose. So much so, in fact, that it has gone beyond a mere sense of smell to something far more complex and important: snorfing.

You won’t find snorfing in any dictionary, but every beagle owner will be able to describe it to you in intimate detail. Most every beagle walk will involve a huge amount of snorfing. It starts suddenly, usually resulting in some sort of shoulder injury for the human on the other end of the lead. And yes, it’s a bit like any other dog sniffing, but it’s somehow deeper, stronger: more detailed, more meaningful. Watching your beagle snorf (together with the added sound of internal snorfing ducts opening and closing), one can almost image a multicoloured, three-dimensional map being assembled in its mind as to what has been there, what they did, where they went and perhaps even so much as a telephone number and/or contact details of their owner, where applicable. It is a fascinating thing to behold.

Sadly, it’s also a very thorough and time-consuming process, and because beagle walks are often interrupted with several prolonged snorfing sessions, you don’t quite get all the exercise you might have been hoping for.
For reference, I walk almost twice as quickly when I don’t have a snorfing beagle by my side.

That’s why you never see anyone running with a beagle. You’d literally get nowhere.

Not a squirrel

He was sitting on the kerb in the sun as we approached.

He saw the beagle and looked up at me nervously.

“Is she…?” he began.

“The friendliest dog in the world? Yes.” I replied, smiling.

He relaxed, visibly.

“Unless…” I began.

He stiffened again.

“Unless you’re a squirrel,” I said. “But you don’t look like a squirrel.”

Don’t snog your pet – rocket surgery research

We’ve covered the dangers of antibiotic resistance on the the blog many times before.
We’ve covered the dangers of unhygienic pets on the blog many times before.
Now, some rocket surgeons at Glasgow Poly Caledonian University have put the two together with some groundbreaking research:

I hope you are all sitting down, because the advice in this article is pretty shocking stuff, and may make you immediately rethink how intimately you’ve been living your life with your household pet.
I’m talking about near-incredible recommendations like:

Avoid kissing pets on the mouth

Seriously, just avoid kissing pets full stop.

Don’t let them pets lick your mouth or nose

This is basically french-kissing pets. It’s also to be avoided full stop.
And the nose fetish thing? Eww. No.

Pet owners should wash hands after stroking animals, particularly before meals

WHO KNEW?!?!?
WHO?!?!? KNEW?!?!?

Make sure pets eat from their own bowls and don’t use household utensils

I’m going to be a bit sick now.
And this from a guy whose beagle can’t even use a knife and fork anyway.

At least they stopped short of suggesting that you also always use a condom.
(At least, I hope they did: I haven’t read the whole paper yet.)

It really seems like these things shouldn’t need to be said to humans. We’re literally the most intelligent species on earth, and that’s why we really shouldn’t need to be reminded or warned not to snog our canines who were literally chewing on some faeces they found on the pavement just five minutes ago.

It’s also why household pets shouldn’t be allowed into establishments serving or selling food. It’s not about me being mean to your French Bulldog, it’s just about basic common sense and decent hygiene. It’s about your poor choices putting other people’s health at risk.

Honestly, you people disgust me.

Normally, I’d put this sort of thing into the Darwin Awards category: removing oneself from the gene pool through one’s own stupidly reckless behaviour. But that doesn’t work here, because sadly, this might – might – not actually finish you off, but it will lead to the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which – as I mentioned above – might finish other people off.

Now, thanks to this “new” research from Dr Adele Dickson et al., we’re able to actually demonstrate that your disgusting behaviour is bad for the human race in general.

Thus, for the good health of humanity, please stop this sort of stuff immediately. Ugh.