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 a snorfing beagle by my side.

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

Dog on a Pass

Feeling a bit better today. Still a bit short on energy, but I guess I didn’t eat anything for 36 hours, so that’s to be expected.
I’m catching up with all the stuff I missed yesterday: we’ve already been down onto the beach and cleaned out the rockpool (very limited numbers of anything exciting considering the size of the tide).

There’s more to do too, so please accept this quota photo of the beagle atop the Franschhoek Pass on our way down here.

Not bad for a phone photo of an animal that hates having its photo taken. (B)eagle-eyed viewers may spot some photoshopping because the lead attached to the dog really detracted from the overall image. But then, if the lead hadn’t have been there, the lack of dog would have been an equally large problem.

The last week

The last week of any school term is always fairly hectic. The last week of the last term is something way beyond that. Exam results coming in left, right and centre, a prizegiving here or there, the inevitable Christmas concert, a charity civvies day, an activity day, a class party and a last-minute test of parental organisation by giving each child a different finishing time at school on each day.

I nearly left one at school today. Oops.

Is it just me, or are things really more stressful this time around than in previous years? I feel like we never got chance to “reset” our lives going into 2018 and we’re suffering the consequences now.

It’s all rather exhausting – a fact demonstrated by the beagle here:

Actually, this was taken after yesterday’s SPCA Wiggle Waggle Walkathon. It might only have been 4km, but when you’ve got four legs to power instead of two and you’re wearing a fur coat, it can be quite tough.

However, this will likely be my position (ok, not necessarily under the trampoline, but still…) come the end of the week.

Beagle watch

Today, I learned that there is a security company in Gauteng called Beagle Watch. I have a number of issues with this.

To the uitlanders, allow me to explain. Here in SA, many people have their house alarms connected to an armed response security company. That means that when your alarm goes off – most likely because you forgot to switch it off before letting the dog out – a friendly man with a gun will show up at your door in case you’re in trouble. I’ve actually yet to hear a story of anyone actually being saved by the friendly man with a gun, but perception is everything and if it helps you sleep more soundly at night to pay a man with a gun to be on-call, then that’s great.

There are all the usual suspects (pun intended) on the scene: ADT, Princeton, Fidelity, Chubb. And then there are the regional services as well. They claim to understand the local crime problems better than the bigger, less personal entities. One of these local offerings is Beagle Watch in Randburg:

Response Time

The best in class response times! No matter what the emergency, Beagle Watch will be there first!

A Dedicated Team

Proactive security is our focus – we are the only company dedicated to the prevention of crime in your area through continuous, 24 hour, high visibility patrols.

Continuous and 24 hour. Colour me impressed.

But when you choose an animal to name your security company after, you want one that’s ever-vigilant, alert, attentive, powerful and quick to react.

I have a beagle. It’s really none of those things.

And so the name really doesn’t instill any sense of confidence in me. I’m only warning them about this after the well-documented collapse of Sloth Security in Constantia back in 2013.

The badge is also a problem:

It’s like they got an 8-year-old to draw a beagle. Three beagles.

Beagles do have moments where their senses are piqued and they’re ready for action. These moments usually relate to seeing a squirrel in the park and generally only last for 3 or 4 seconds. But a key feature of a momentarily alert beagle is the elevated tail. This is an evolutionary hangover from when they used to be powered by electricity, much like dodgem cars. Also, they always face left when they are ready to go. See?

Squirrel-spotting beagle

A beagle with a tail as depicted in the Beagle Watch logo is depressed, tired or depressed and tired and is certainly not going to offer any resistance to local criminals.

Also, you’d never get three to line up in such an orderly fashion. At least one would already be asleep or foraging for food.

My suggestion to Beagle Watch (and I will be forwarding them a link to this post so that they realise their error in nomenclature), is that they change the name of the business, soonest. And it doesn’t have to be a train smash of process. A simple, carefully applied daub of black paint on each of their vehicles turns Beagle Watch into bEagle Watch: the genus Aquila possessing all of the qualities one looks for in a neighbourhood security company. And they also have an aggressive beak and talons, filling the crims with a sense of fear and dread. Everything that a beagle doesn’t.

Mark my words: you can watch the crime rate in Randburg drop like the proverbial stone.

I’m frankly amazed that no-one has come up with this idea before.

Dirty Dawg

It’s been hot. Cape Town has had one of those weeks where the temperatures stretch the boundaries of belief. The sort of weeks which we only get once or twice a year, in January or February.

Or October.

I took the beagle out for an early walk yesterday to avoid the worst of the ridiculous heat. Things didn’t go well. Long story short, the beagle ended up leg deep in the silt at the bottom end of the dirtiest pond in Wynberg Park.

Those of you who know Wynberg Park will recognise that the competition for the title of dirtiest pond in Wynberg Park is pretty stiff.
From the moment the water oozes out from the hillside beneath the freeway, it stagnates through several pools and ditches filled with the remnants of last weekend’s braai’ing revelries and copious amounts of goose shit, before seeping its way under a wall into the potentially even more murky surroundings of the local Convent school at the bottom of the park.

The beagle was trotting along slowly in the already warm sunshine, approaching a pair of Egyptian Geese and their six goslings. They weren’t hugely happy about this, but the beagle wasn’t after any trouble and was wholly uninterested in the geese and their fluffy kids. Squirrels: different matter, but these were definitely geese, and the beagle really couldn’t have cared less. In any case, our feathered friends were taking no chances and had hopped into the pond long before we’d even got close.

What happened next was rather odd. The beagle basically just walked to the edge of the pond, comprehensively failed to stop, and thus continued down a small bank and straight into the pond, where it immediately became entrapped in the stinking, claggy mud which lay just under the surface of the stinking, claggy water.

The beagle looked up at me, somewhat bemused.
The beagle was stuck.

I watched on in horror, realising who was going to have to rescue it.

The geese watched on in amusement, realising who was going to have to rescue it.

Fortunately, we have recently purchased a new harness for the beagle, which comes with a handy handle on the back. Owners of more lively dogs might perhaps use this to hold their canines back should they choose to attack someone or something, or rear up menacingly in the face of a perceived enemy or threat.

But we don’t have a more lively dog. We have a beagle and it’s currently stuck in some mud. The worst mud in the worst part of the worst pond in Wynberg Park.

Sooooo, lucky me knelt down amongst the goose poo and used the handle to lift the fortuitously-somewhat-less-rotund-than-it-used-to-be beagle out of the thickest, most adherent, most offensive-smelling mud in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.

[For the purists out there, yes: there was a clear PHLOPP! as the beagle became freed from its stinking prison.]

We continued on our walk, with the delicate stench of the pond following us through the leafy suburbs. Upon our arrival home, the beagle was unceremoniously bathed, reawakening the scent of Eau de merde d’Oie. And we still weren’t done. Once cleaned, the daft animal immediately rolled in a flower bed and had to be hosed off again.
My water bill is going to be a nightmare again this month thanks to the antics of this so-called family pet. And the worst bit is that there’s literally not even a hint of apology or repentance. Nada. Dololo.

So that’s it. The tale of how the beagle ended up waist deep in the most toxic substance this side of Woodstock.
I don’t think that there’s anything you can learn from this aside from reiterating what I’ve already repeatedly told you about the folly of owning a beagle.

I really – really – do hope that you are listening to me.