All girls love jewellery right? I certainly do!

A while ago i saw this GORGEOUS silver beagle pendant on Etsy and just HAD to have it!!

i got it a while ago and absolutely adore it :)

also, ages ago, Laura blogged about this really cute blogshop called WhimsyAndWhatnots … i LOVED the stuff I saw there, and have been checking back religiously waiting for something to really catch my eye!

And something did :)

a 25x25mm silver pendant with names/words of your choice stamped onto it.

So… to go with my cute beagle pendant, i got the names “harry” and “oscar” stamped onto the pendant :D

I got it today and just love it!

Now, while we are overseas, my boys will be close to my heart :D hehe

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In the last week, I have been asked by three different people what Beagle Hunting is! I’m always talking about it on Twitter, and I just assume everyone knows ;)

So… what is beagle hunting?

Well, beagles are dogs, right…? This much we know ;) They are scent hounds and originally bred to hunt small game like rabbits and hare. Beagles are the “poor mans hunting hound” and hunt with their humans on foot, not on horseback.

Here’s a little snippet on the breed, from Wikipedia:

The Beagle is a breed of small to medium-sized dog. A member of the Hound Group, it is similar in appearance to the Foxhound but smaller, with shorter legs and longer, softer ears. Beagles are scent hounds, developed primarily for tracking hare, rabbit, and other game. They have a keen sense of smell and tracking instinct that sees them employed as detection dogs for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. They are popular as pets because of their size, even temper, and lack of inherited health problems. These characteristics also make them the dog of choice for animal testing.

Although beagle-type dogs have existed for over 2,000 years, the modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and possibly the Harrier.

Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as “the world’s most famous beagle”

Right – so back to the hunting.

Every second Sunday morning, in winter only, beagle huggers from all over Gauteng get together in the Schurveberg mountains near Zwartkops to let their beagles do what beagles do best… track a scent!

We use a bag of pilchards to lay the scent.

When we arrive, all the beagles get their bibs put on, with numbers – so when they come to the end, the guys who do the scores can tell who is who, and who comes in first etc… as I am so often told “all beagles look the same” hehe. So, they are all bibbed ;)

The huntmaster goes around to each beagle and scents them, giving them a whiff of the smelly lure of pilchards. The huntmaster and his small party head off into the hills and valleys for about a 1km walk… all the while, dragging the lure behind them.

Once they have reached a point where they can conceal themselves in a clump of trees or behind some rocks etc… they signal to us at the start, and we all line up.

The beagles go WILD at this point.. much howling, barking and baying… lots of excitement and adrenaline! There is a 3, 2, 1 countdown, a whistle is blown, and we release.

we all stay crouched down and quiet, while the pack runs off, noses to the ground, after the scent. The more baying and howling there is on the line, the better it is going. Noise = good!! They are on the scent. We watch them run up the mountain, or thru the valley, or whichever way the huntmaster has gone.

As they start coming in, the group at the end records who comes in where… they normally come in in groups.

Once all the beagles are off the line, we walk to the end point, meet up with the huntmaster and the beagles, we check that all the beagles are accounted for (sometimes they turn back on the line, or decide to go for a little walk… but we are all reunited within 10 minutes!) The scores are read, the beagles have a drink, and it starts all over again.

We do 5 lines in a morning. We start at 7am and are done by about 10am.

There is a lot of noise (as demonstrated by my little boy and hunting machine, Oscar)

a lot of running and very happy tired beagles!

During the season, we have a few breakfasts out in the veld after some hunts… the people are awesome, and i’ve made a lot of really cool friends from the hunts! :D

The beagles are so exhausted after hunting, they usually spend the whole of the following monday curled up and fast asleep

At the very end of the season, the ten beagles with the highest points are invited to do a Top ten Challenge. It is one long line, of about 5 to 7km, with just the top ten beagles of the group. Other beagles may come and watch, and socialise afterwards. Last year, my little Oscar made Top Ten!! Harry *just* missed it (he placed 13th… out of about 100 beagles!!!!!!!!!!!!)

– The 2009 Top Ten :beagles from left:  Sam, Leo, Matthew, Maya, Roti, Poppadom, Oscar, Jet & Roger (the 10th beagle couldn’t make the event as he was sick on the day)

We also have a swanky prize giving after all the hunts are done and scores calculated. The 2009 event was at Woodmead country Club. We get to brush off the dust, pack away our dirty hunting clothes and get all dolled up! It’s a fancy dinner and certificates and rosettes and prizes and trophies!!

So… THAT is beagle hunting :) It is TONS of fun… i love it (apart from waking up at 5:30am on a Wintery Sunday morning) and i love my beagles… and i love other beagle owners… we are all so cool and friendly! hehe!!

If you have a beagle, or are interested in getting one, or know someone who has one… please stop at www.beagles.co.za and check it out!

We have become a very tight little (or not so little, with over 140 beagles on our database) group and i look forward to seeing all my beagle friends and giving cuddles to all the beagles :)

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Wow, I am blown away! Even in this time of recession, there is still so much generosity around!

Yesterday we had a beagle meetup at Walkhaven. I had asked everyone coming to please bring something to Donate to Animals in Distress and I would drop it off the next day.

Now, I know, times are tough, I feel it – I know… so, I was expecting each person/couple/family to spend R50 to R100 MAXIMUM (which doesn’t buy a hell of a lot when it comes to pet food etc)! … I am still in awe! There were only 11 families there (either single people or a couple… so about 18 people in total) as a lot of people were already on their christmas holidays… but, between the 18-20 people there… we managed to collect:

  • about 8 x BIG 8-10kg dry food (one bag was even from Woolworths, nogal!!)
  • about 6 x smaller 1 – 3kg dry food
  • about 20 (!!!) tins of dog food
  • about 4 to 6 doggy gravy pouches
  • 12 – 15 bowls (most of them NEW!)
  • 7 x blankets
  • about 8 – 12 collars and leads (again, some were BRAND NEW!!)
  • 2 x boxes kitty food
  • a few tins of kitty food
  • LOTS of Bob Martin products from: condition tablets, dewormer, tick and flea drops and tick and flea collars, vitamins, shampoo etc
  • a toy or two
  • even some treats – chewy treats and a big box of Beenos!

My boot was FULL FULL FULL! and my back seat was half full!

Look at all this stuff (and there were 4 more BIG bags of food that aren’t in these pics!

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Harry with his "Pleeeeeeeeeeez can't we keep the treats?" - face on

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How awesome is all that stuff!? I have just dropped it all off now, and fed the donkeys and horses some carrots :) I think we should do the charity drive twice a year… one for Christmas and one in winter time… get some blankets etc.


Thinkning about this makes my heart very full of gratitude to people who are generous :) … I wonder if only beagle-people are so awesome, or if it’s everyone…? ;)



This is a rant…

<rant>

So, I run The Beagle Website, right? The last week or so, I have had a FLOOD of emails from people looking to rehome their young beagles. Young = between 1 year and 3 years old. They have various reasons, and some I can cope with. However… there are 3 sets of people who want to rehome their dogs because either:

a) they had a baby and now all their attention must go there

b) their other dog died and the beagle is lonely…

or c) *my personal anger-inducer* their kids no longer want the 18month old dogs because they are no longer puppies!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF!?!?!?!?!?!

Arrrg, my blood boils!

I know I love my dogs probably a little too much, or more than healthy normal but really! Isn’t a dog (or any pet) a part of your family? I always refer to my dogs as my children… I know some people think this is going overboard, but thats ok (you all have weird habits I dont understand!)

I mean – getting a pet is a CONSCIUOS DECISION! You weigh the pro’s and con’s. Can you afford it? Can you give it the time/attention it needs? Having a kid is often less of a plan than getting a dog… but yet, people are happy to palm off the dogs when they get bored.

i understand that times are tough with the economy and stuff, and it’s not as easy as it was a year or two ago to afford the dog food, vets bills, toys etc – trust me, i am feeling it too! but i would sooner cancel my gym membership, or cut down on my own luxuries, like facials, hairdresser etc than give my children dogs away! But hey, maybe that’s just me…

loveMe

Pets are only in your life for a short 10-odd years. Unlike smelly whiny children who are there to stay until YOU DIE!!

I can’t get over the fact that these people are happy to just give away a member of their family because it’s no longer convenient – ESPECIALLY the people who have dumped their two 18  month old female beagles at the kennels and not fetched them because the kids are tired of them! Sheesh – i’d love to smack some sense into those people!

So, anyway, if you, or anyone you know, can give a beagle or two a forever home… please take a look at the website.


We need new homes for:

Patsy and Burtie – together. They are actually Oscar’s litter brother and sister.

Texas

Copper & Purdy – together (abandoned coz the kids brats don’t want them)

Dingo

Stitch


Sheesh! Time to calm down


</rant>

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