16 Jun Our New Basset Hound

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When our beloved basset hound, Frieda, died unexpectedly a couple months back, I told Jill that Frieda was the last of the basset hounds for us. Not because she was so unique and irreplaceable — which she was — but because I didn’t want to deal with a basset hound again. They’re fun dogs but also really willful and troublesome. So what does Jill do? She gets on the internet and starts looking at basset hounds. Not to adopt, she says, just to admire. Soon I’m avalanched under photos of beautiful, jowly, sad-eyed basset hounds.

Not long after the avalanche, I’m driving Jill to Pennsylvania to pick up one of these little lovelies at a basset hound rescue shelter. If you’ve never spent time with a basset hound, there are five things you should know: 1) they love to bark and bark and bark and bark; 2) their bark is incredibly loud for such a seemingly small dog; 3) they follow their nose, which is second only to the bloodhound in sensitivity, which means that, when they are on the scent, they can’t be swayed; 4) they are sloppy, smelly dogs, fond of mud and water; and 5) they love to chase rabbits and other little furry creatures.

Cleo, the basset hound in question, is much smaller than Frieda, and much more attached to humans. She always wants to be with. She’d really like to be in your lap and she’s almost small enough to fit there. Because she is white and gold — with a white face — she looks older than she really is. She’s about 4. The story of her adoption is that she got hit by a car and her owners didn’t want to pay to have her broken leg fixed. “Just put her to sleep,” he said. The most notable thing about Cleo is that, if you’re near, she’s wagging her tail. We’ve never seen a dog wag her tail so much.

Why did I give in? Life is short. Cleo is sweet. I want Jill to be happy.
So we are back to 2 dogs and 2 cats. Wherever we sit, they join us, dogs settling at our feet, cats on our laps. It feels like we live in a swarm of fur.

At the basset shelter, we asked the owners to let the pack of bassets (and 2 corgies) into the yard so that we could play with them. I had never been stampeded by basset hounds before. I’d do it again in a minute. We laughed and laughed. Who’s better than a basset for noisy enthusiasm?