Mia the beagle

Incoming beagle news from the… the… ag, I don’t actually know what it is he does really. Some say he’s not too sure either.

But I digress… often.

Here’s the clip he sent – it’s a beagle called Mia, adhering to the rules of the Global Beagle Management Crisis, namely that there are no rules, and if there are, then you should break them. Mia – running a timed and assessed dog agility course at a dog show – finds plenty of rules and regulations and then promptly and effectively breaks them all.

Seriously, who enters a beagle in anything competitive that requires any sort of obedience? What on earth was she thinking? Those things are for clever, agile dogs: collies and terriers. Not beagles.
Beagles are good at winning the Westminster Dog Show by looking noble and such (naughty language on that link). They’re not good for agility courses. It’s like getting a toddler to do the Olympic high jump, or putting a jellyfish in goal in ice hockey’s Stanley Cup, or asking a bunch of carrots to [that’s enough now. Just get on with it – Ed.]

As the commentator tells us before we even reach the 11 second mark (demonstrating not just the reputation that precedes the beagle, but the speed with which it reverts to type once asked to do anything vaguely taxing):

Don’t be a beagle. Don’t be a beagle. Don’t be a beagle.

Also, don’t get a beagle.

[What? Three times? No, once is… it’s not a difficult concept: they’ll understand.
We really don’t need to… oh… ok, whatever…]

Also, don’t get a beagle. Don’t get a beagle. Don’t get a beagle.

Got it? Good.

 Thank you, The ….

Nearly ready

Sure, I’m a non-believer, but any excuse for a party, and the fact that it’s going to be 30ºC here tomorrow and there’s a swimming pool and some cold beer seems like a good enough excuse for me. Whatever the religious reasons behind Christmas, we see it as a time to get together with family and friends, eat some good food and reward the kids (and ourselves where possible) for surviving another year. The car got rewarded with R5100’s worth of new shoes this morning. My wallet is feeling decidedly unrewarded.

The beagle is roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost has just been in touch to say that he’s never seen Cape Town, but he might just turn up (he won’t – unreliable bugger). The Carols from Kings CD is prepped in the living room and the last gift was bought at an alarming 11:31am today. Beers are on hold until the last family member has been picked up from the Deep(ish) South, but that’s no big deal. Plenty of time for catch up.

I have lots of writing deadlines to meet, none of which I am going to manage to fulfill, and a million YouTube videos to look at. My drone didn’t make it in time for Christmas, which is sad, but much like the beers, plenty of time for catch up.

Yesterday’s rain would normally have been most welcome, but the drive home was testing and stressful. Mrs 6000’s Whatsapp images from the start and (almost) the end of the journey tell the story.

And then we had shedloads of holiday washing to do and no means of getting it dry. Disaster.
Still – it’s done and now we have green grass for a few days, so I’m happy enough.

I’m now off to hoover the beagle as part of the sprucing up of the house ahead of the potential arrival of this evening’s red-coated intruder.

Bye for now.

Air kiss your dog

Do you have a dog? Of course you do. Or perhaps you don’t.
Either way, there’s good evidence that allowing your dog to lick you (this is apparently the dog version of a kiss) could lead to all sorts of nasty stuff happening to you.

It may seem like a harmless display of affection, but allowing your pet to ‘kiss’ you could be dangerous – or even fatal.

So states the Guardian in their article, entitled:

Should I let my dog lick my face?

And the easy answer seems to be “no”, unless you want to play with Clostridium spp, E.coli and Campylobacter spp. Or Pasteurella multocida, a regular part of your dog’s normal mouth flora, which was:

… blamed for meningitis in 42 infants in France under the age of four between 2001 and 2011. Nearly half the babies were newborn, and most were infected as a result of dogs or cats licking them. Four died.

Or Haemophilus aphrophilus, responsible for causing brain abscesses and inflammation of the heart.

Or Dipylidium caninum – the double-pored dog tapeworm, the human excretion of which is always a favourite at parties. (Depending on which sort of parties you go to.)

And never forget the virtually unculturable (it’s really tough to grow it in a lab) Capnocytophaga canimorsus responsible for nearly doing for a 70-year-old woman in London earlier this year.

Statistically, you are extremely unlikely to get an horrific infection from allowing your dog (or cat – they’re hardly innocent in all this microbiological mayhem) lick your face. However, you are even less likely to get an horrific infection if you don’t allow your dog (or cat) to lick your face.

I know which route I’ll be taking. And I don’t even have a cat.

Don’t blame Donald

Some of the adjectives used to describe Donald Trump in the lead up (and now aftermath) of the US Election have been… “choice”, shall we say?

But what if there was a hidden side to President Elect Trump?
What if his seemingly angry, outward persona is merely as a result of deep, lasting trauma?

I’m certainly not saying that the manifestation of that persona is excusable, merely that it might be more understandable if we could pin it on some difficult experience he had suffered.

I’m talking about this photo, obviously.


This is the side of Donald Trump that no-one has ever seen. This is the moment that has scarred him for life. See how he tries to pose for the cameras, tries to appear cool, attempting to grasp a probably-wriggling beagle.
See how it refuses to look anything but profoundly disappointed.
See how it has (almost certainly) chewed something important of his.

This isn’t behaviour specific to its proximity to Donald Trump.
We’ve all been there.

And these things can affect a man. I don’t profess to wanting to build a big wall or have individuals of a certain religion removed from my presence. And I’m certainly not defending those views. Not at all.

I’m merely suggesting that being near a beagle can change a person.
And not in a good way.

Those commentators concerned over Trump’s new democratically-given access to the “Big Red Button” controlling America’s significant nuclear arsenal (and the implications thereof) would do well to glance to the bottom right of the image above and the wide selection of baseball bats. None of which he has used on the beagle. This sort of evidence of extreme restraint will obviously come as some comfort to you hysterical individuals.

Like it or not (and I suspect I could likely gauge the majority public response from my readers) Donald Trump is the new POTUS.

But don’t ever be fooled: the beagles are still in charge.


See if you can work out exactly where on my beagle walk this morning I managed to actually tread directly on a Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)…

Yeah, I know that the snake in question had no intention of following me, but you don’t think about that when you’ve just stepped on “the most dangerous snake in Africa*”.

I was happily walking along the beach in Suiderstrand, on the little slope that comes down from the rocky outcrop on the way back from Piet se Punt. You know the one. It – the snake – was more than half hidden in a bush at the right hand side of the path, and I was looking at some fighting Bulbuls over my left shoulder. Next thing, as I stop looking at the ruckus behind me, and turn to face forwards once again – the traditional direction for walking, generally – I look down to see the side my right foot slide off the side of a phat puffy. Think of half stepping on a firm, heavy pool noodle.
And then I legged it.

Your questions answered:

Are you sure it was a Puff Adder?
Yes, 100%. We see a lot of them in Agulhas – 4 this weekend alone, and we were only there for 24 hours. Stunning animals.
Also: I actually trod on it, so I got a good, close-up, extremely brief look at it.

Why didn’t it strike?
I have absolutely no idea. I think I was very lucky.
I was. I was very lucky.

Why did you run?
Pure adrenaline. I did 50+ metres at Usain Bolt pace. On sand.
I know that the puffies don’t chase you, but my brain wouldn’t let me remember that until I was (with hindsight) a frankly ridiculously safe distance away.

What was the state of your underwear after the incident?
No comment.

So. A somewhat fortuitous escape. But wildlife, ne? It’s wild.

Additional FAQ:

What was the beagle’s reaction to all this?
The beagle was about 20 metres ahead of me at the time, so had walked right past the snake without noticing. The beagle was wholly uninterested in my blind panic and swearing as there was stuff to sniff and explore.

Why did the snake not move as you approached?
Two reasons, I think. One, it was a puff adder and they really can’t be arsed. And two, looking back now, I was coming from downwind of the snake, walking into a strong south-easter.


* Snake people can discuss amongst themselves