This week I finished a house sit which involved caring for a beagle called Delish. Though beautiful to look at and with a fun loving and sensitive nature, she also shared in some of the characteristics of the beagle nature. It was my second time caring for a beagle-though Delish was a cross with King Charles Cavalier
Spaniel, the beagle mastery of escapology and the constant search for food (of any kind!) dominated her personality and life.
Life is never dull with a beagle and if all is quiet on the home front you can bet he or she is up to no good. “Mischief managed” if only we had a marauders map like Harry Potter’s and when the magic words are uttered we could see the moving paw prints of a hound up to no good! But don’t get me wrong I have a lot of love and respect for beagles, they are such crafty, intelligent and fun dogs. Their sense of smell is amazing and I would bet my life on it. I recently saw a YouTube video of a beagle sniffer dog at Amsterdam airport who, after sniffing a mobile phone which a passenger had left behind, scanned the airport to successfully locate the missing owner. After one sniff. KLM actually employs this dog as part of their lost property office.
Both Delish and Jasper, the first beagle I cared for, have the same olfactory superiority. They can both locate the tiniest crumb from a sandwich originally eaten in a spot seven years before! Remarkable! But Delish is a bit different, she has mastered the lunge. Her owner warned me about her tendency to make a grab for food when you least expected it. With a lightning quick reflex and after staring at me for some minutes, Delish made a lunge for my croissant which was half way from the plate to my mouth and almost achieved her goal. Jasper, on the other hand, was quite skilled in tripping me up after I had collected the fresh eggs from the chickens so that I frequently dropped one or two which he greedily lapped up. Unlike Delish, Jasper had a shoe fetish. One shoe from many of the pairs of the owners and two of my sandals, went missing. I finally found them half chewed under the house.
Both beagles are master escapologists- their middle names must be Houdini. I left Delish for thirty minutes to have a leisurely coffee at a local cafe and when I returned half her body was under the fence in the large hole she had dug. Her goal was to steal the biscuits belonging to the dog next door which had been so tantalisingly placed near the fence. Jasper also attempted and managed an escape the day before his owners were due home. The whole time I had cared for him he had been digging a hole under the garage door and made good his escape without my knowledge. He would have succeeded in his romp had not the next door neighbour seen the little scamp and managed to grab him. He’d done this many times before.
Beagles! You’ve gotta love them and you certainly can’t keep a good one down-or in- for very long.