LOWDOWN Summer 2010 page 16

AN ARRESTING TAIL

by Sally King

We are very fortunate to live a few minutes’ walk from the beach. I love the sea air, Clara loves jumping the breakwaters and Rolph loves eating the three-day-dead marine creatures he finds there.

However, last year our local council banned dogs from the beach between May and October. The rules were strict and the fines high. Despite the amount of filth the day trippers leave behind them, it was the local dogs which had to suffer.

After a summer of walking the cliff gardens and parks, I finally decided we would go down to the front, but walk along the promenade. All went well at first, but gradually Rolph made it quite clear he was not impressed with the walkway - he wanted the sand.

We walked for about a mile with me constantly shortening his lead and stopping him from jumping over the sea wall. The further we went, the more determined he was to get on to the beach. Eventually I decided this walk was just not much fun, so turned round to head home. Rolph objected. Rolph did what any self-respecting basset does when they want to go one way and their lead carrier the other. He lay down and refused to budge.

In our house, we call this manoeuvre Flat Basset

I started to walk away with Clara. He wouldn’’t budge. I pulled his lead. Nothing. I tried to bribe him with treats. Nope. I yanked the lead harder. He just gave me The Look. I got his lead with both hands and tried to drag him. He dug his haunches in.

Our little tableau had clearly caught someone’s eye, as at that moment a police car pulled up beside us.

The officer opened the driver's door, doubtless to enquire why I was treating my hound like a pull toy, and Rolph immediately unglued himself from the pavement and leapt into the car - straight on to the officer’s lap.

Somewhat sheepishly, I tried to explain about his wanting to be on the beach. At that moment Clara (known at home as The Good Dog) decided she must be missing out on something, and also jumped into the patrol car.

So, there I was, standing on the promenade, red-faced, trying to explain to two, luckily dog-friendly, police officers, that what may have appeared like an act of cruelty, was actually just me trying to adhere to the bylaws and avoid the fine. And, the fact that my dogs had placed themselves under arrest did not mean they were generally abused, but rather they had probably smelled the sweeties on the dashboard.

The officers were very nice, agreed the new restrictions were a bit daft on a cold, grey morning like that one and gave both dogs lots of pets and ear scratches. However, they did say rules were rules and I was quite right to keep them off the beach.

Clara came back to me first and as I turned to greet her, Rolph came hurtling out of the police car, jumped straight over the sea wall and landed on the beach. And, as at the place he chose to do this, the wall was about 5ft high, I couldn't hoik him back up on to the promenade. This meant all I could do was slaken off his flexi-lead and let him walk along the beach until we reached a set of steps up the sea wall.

And he walked the whole way with his tail held high and a victorious spring in his step. Boy, was he pleased with himself.

Text by Sally King;, drawing by Sheila Williams ©2010.


Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

We are very fortunate to live a few minutes’ walk from the beach. I love the sea air, Clara loves jumping the breakwaters and Rolph loves eating the three-day-dead marine creatures he finds there.

However, last year our local council banned dogs from the beach between May and October. The rules were strict and the fines high. Despite the amount of filth the day trippers leave behind them, it was the local dogs which had to suffer.

After a summer of walking the cliff gardens and parks, I finally decided we would go down to the front, but walk along the promenade. All went well at first, but gradually Rolph made it quite clear he was not impressed with the walkway - he wanted the sand.

We walked for about a mile with me constantly shortening his lead and stopping him from jumping over the sea wall. The further we went, the more determined he was to get on to the beach. Eventually I decided this walk was just not much fun, so turned round to head home. Rolph objected. Rolph did what any self-respecting basset does when they want to go one way and their lead carrier the other. He lay down and refused to budge.

In our house, we call this manoeuvre Flat Basset

I started to walk away with Clara. He wouldn’’t budge. I pulled his lead. Nothing. I tried to bribe him with treats. Nope. I yanked the lead harder. He just gave me The Look. I got his lead with both hands and tried to drag him. He dug his haunches in.

Our little tableau had clearly caught someone’s eye, as at that moment a police car pulled up beside us.

The officer opened the driver's door, doubtless to enquire why I was treating my hound like a pull toy, and Rolph immediately unglued himself from the pavement and leapt into the car - straight on to the officer’s lap.

Somewhat sheepishly, I tried to explain about his wanting to be on the beach. At that moment Clara (known at home as The Good Dog) decided she must be missing out on something, and also jumped into the patrol car.

So, there I was, standing on the promenade, red-faced, trying to explain to two, luckily dog-friendly, police officers, that what may have appeared like an act of cruelty, was actually just me trying to adhere to the bylaws and avoid the fine. And, the fact that my dogs had placed themselves under arrest did not mean they were generally abused, but rather they had probably smelled the sweeties on the dashboard.

The officers were very nice, agreed the new restrictions were a bit daft on a cold, grey morning like that one and gave both dogs lots of pets and ear scratches. However, they did say rules were rules and I was quite right to keep them off the beach.

Clara came back to me first and as I turned to greet her, Rolph came hurtling out of the police car, jumped straight over the sea wall and landed on the beach. And, as at the place he chose to do this, the wall was about 5ft high, I couldn't hoik him back up on to the promenade. This meant all I could do was slaken off his flexi-lead and let him walk along the beach until we reached a set of steps up the sea wall.

And he walked the whole way with his tail held high and a victorious spring in his step. Boy, was he pleased with himself.

Text by Sally King;, drawing by Sheila Williams ©2010.


Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown
first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts