Gypsy The Truffle Hound is in œstrus (to all you Townies, that means she is really up for it) and seems to have been pumped full of hormones to the extent that she has become even more fey than she normally is.

Gypsy came to us a skinny little thing courtesy of the beagle welfare people last year. She had been found wandering around Wolverhampton in a poor condition, evidently having been adrift for many months. No collar nor a chip was found and nobody came to claim her, which is odd since the consensus is that she is the real McCoy and of very good stock too: sadly she had left her papers at home.

That spring she did not come on heat, doubtless because she was still quite stressed out, but in the autumn she had her first go. All went well until after the event when she decided, notwithstanding having carefully been kept away from all the local lads, that she was going to have puppies.

Cue daffy beagle going around for weeks making imaginary dens all over the place ready to receive the huge number of puppies she was not about to have.

Then came a moment when she convinced herself she had actually had the puppies she was not going to have and up goes the daffy quotient by a factor of a hundred as she goes off to have the puppies she is not going to have and spends all her time sneaking into various of her whelping dens that she has carefully prepared for the puppies she is not going to have.

It was actually quite sad and one wondered whether there was any distress involved, but she seemed to be perfectly happy having the puppies she was not going to have, so by and large we let her be.

Eventually the puppies she was never going to have all grew up and they left home, as virtual puppies always do and she fell back into her normal habits of the Escapologist and the Trencherman (fellow beagle owners will know quite what I mean).

This year the strange weather we have had seems to have thrown her internal clock out of kilter so she has come on heat rather late.

And yes, dear reader, the Hormones are back too.

This time her Daffiness has taken to coming in after supper and doing her Jesus bit, to wit carefully giving the tongueing of a lifetime to all 30 toes which are to be found in the house, washing them with such intensity that we are convinced that this time she has already had the 30 puppies she is not going to have and is making sure that they are spick and span to go out into the virtual world, checking to see that each has a fresh hankie and their Snoopy lunchbox is full of chocolate drops and fresh rabbit. And here we are talking about a thirty minute licking for each of us, which tells you all that you ever needed to know about puppy love, even that distributed around 30 puppies she never had.

Talking of chocolates (which, you should know, are actually very bad for hounds), in her previous life she must have lived high on the hog, for the unwrapping of a bar of Green & Black’s seriously yummy chocolate will wake her from the deepest of sleeps into beagle begging mode (discreet but quite insistent) within a hypersecond . And she is very partial to the sofa too, for when she first arrives she made straight for the first one she encountered and climbed aboard without so much as a backward look.

The Hormones will pass and then she will be her sweet normal self. Still fey and occasionally away with the fairies, but part of our pack, for which reason we love and care for her. And the puppies that she never had but loved all the same? All gone to good homes, I’ll be bound.

And she? Wondering all along about that long dog after a bitch that passed her by somewhere out in her virtual world and fretting as to whether the puppies she never had really did go to good homes.

In the meantime there is one manifestation of her hormonal excess which puzzles greatly, which is that if offered a passing leg for anything more than a moment she is prone to embracing it firmly with both front paws and giving said leg a right seeing to, which I imagine is quite disconcerting if it has never happened to you before, but to the seasoned owner is merely a huge joke, given that at all other times she behaves with the utmost decorum, given her sex.