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An unlimited tale

20 Nov

I wanted to read Jane, Unlimited before I knew there was a basset hound in it.

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When I realized the basset hound was a very important character, I was ecstatic. I looked at Lucy, and wondered.

Let me also say that this one works way better in print than audio. There are a lot of details at the beginning that become important. If, like me, you sometimes listen to audiobooks while doing other things, you might miss something important. The audiobook is excellent, I am simply saying that you need to pay attention if you listen.

Publisher’s Summary: An instant New York Times bestseller—from the award-winning author of the Graceling Realm series—a kaleidoscopic novel about grief, adventure, storytelling, and finding yourself in a world of seemingly infinite choices.

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

 

Veni, Vidi, Vomit

25 Jul

Nothing makes me move faster than that URP URP URP sound of a dog about to vomit.

Louie used to find and eat all sorts of nasty things. He vomited often and help speed up my reaction time.

Fiona was less opportunistic.

Lucy, like my first basset Clara, rarely vomits. And yet, it happened yesterday.

There we were, curled up on the sofa on a hot summer afternoon, enjoying the cool of the air-conditioned house. I was engrossed in the book I was reading. Lucy was curled up sleeping deeply – until she wasn’t.

In a flash she was off the sofa and the URP URP URP began.

I threw aside my book (Posted by John David Anderson) and leapt to action. I grabbed the paper towels, a trash can, and the Nature’s Miracle spray. By the time I returned, Lucy had finished, but had not yet begun the canine “ritual” that often follows. I was that quick.

Although I am a gagger, I have mastered the art of cleaning dog vomit without gagging. It mostly involves lots of paper towels and turning my head to one side. And lots of breath holding.

Within a few moments, Lucy was curled up again, none the worse for wear. I washed my hands a few times, changed out the paper towels covering “the spot”, and washed my hands a few more times. Then, I, too, was curled up on the sofa, reading as if nothing had happened.

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Rehoming Rocket

12 Mar

Poor Violet!

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Not only did she get drenched and muddy, but her life is about to change forever.

We met at a park yesterday for Violet and her family to meet Rocket…

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…a two year old boy who needs a new home. His mom had a stroke and can’t take care of him any more and Violet’s parents want a playmate for her.

In spite of the torrential rain, things went well. It wasn’t love at first sight for the two dogs, but that rarely happens. They sniffed each other and walked nicely side by side. While they walked Violet’s family had a little meeting and decided that, yes, they’d like to adopt him.

We made a plan – in the park, in the rain – to transfer Rocket to his new home on Friday. His invalid mom wasn’t at this meeting so she needs a chance to say goodbye. We will all meet again at our vet’s office, where Rocket will get a microchip and a once over before going to his new home.

 

Lucy’s Guardian Angel

5 Mar

There is a rumor in the basset hound world that every basset has a heart-shaped spot somewhere on their body. Basset slaves proudly post pictures of these hearts on the Daily Drool Facebook page and get lots of reactions.

I set out one day to find Lucy’s heart. For those of you who haven’t met her yet, this is Lucy:

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She is now 10 and I have had her for 7 years. In fact, we just celebrated her 7th Gotcha Day on January 16th. (A Gotcha Day, in case you didn’t know, is the day a rescue dog is adopted.)

In any case, I set out to find her heart, but was having no luck. I was feeling rather glum and took a seat on the sofa to contemplate the deeper meaning of her lack of a heart-shaped spot, when I saw it. it wasn’t a heart. It was something even better.

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Lucy had an angel!

Billy Collins wrote a poem entitled “Questions About Angels“. Here is a poem, inspired by that poem, about Lucy’s angel

Lucy’s Angel (with apologies to Billy Colllins) 

Of all the questions you might want to ask
an angel, the only one you ever hear
a basset ask is about his furever home.
Like babies, dogs see angels
and know better than to rush in
where angels fear to tread.
God might have made man
a little lower than the angels
but Lucy’s angel hovers at her side.
Human metaphysics might question
the existence of angels, and philosophers
debate how many dance on the head of a pin,
But Lucy knows her angel is with her
both now and forever,
and to the ages of ages. Arooo!

February is National Pet Dental Health month

31 Jan

Twenty years ago, if you’d told me that one day, I’d be brushing my dog’s teeth, I’d have laughed in your face.

But there I am every night, kneeling in front of Lucy with chicken flavored toothpaste on a brush. I start on the right, pulling her upper lip to the side so I can slip the brush all the way to those pesky back molars that have too much tartar. Right from the get-go, her tongue starts working, trying to lick all that delicious chicken flavoring. From the back, I move forward to those long, pointy canine teeth. And her tongue is still moving! On to the left, and then we are done.

February is National Pet Dental Health month so I’ve written a limerick to celebrate the fact that my dog has better dental care than many people in the world.

There is a sweet basset named Lucy

Who’s grin, though quite wide, is too toothy,

So we brush using paste,

With a quite lovely taste,

That her momslave applies quite profusely.

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“Tis the season

13 Dec

You begin in November, designing the card you will send out to the other member of your card exchange. This photo or that? This online card or that one? And then you find it: the perfect card. You upload your photo, adjust the text and place your order.

You read the email message thanking you for your order. Then you await the message telling you it has been shipped. When that one comes you obsessively track your package online, not content until you see it on your stoop when you come home from work.

You check your email frequently for the mailing labels to be sent to you. When they arrive, you print them. After you’ve printed them you receive the email with corrections. You print a few more.

You spend a day stuffing and labeling envelopes. realizing you don;t have quite enough stamps, you send the international cards first, then plan a trip to the post office so you can mail the others.

Then you wait.

Sometimes, as you wait, you wonder if anyone chose the same design you did, and you hope not.

Every afternoon, you open the mailbox with anticipation because, unlike the rest of the year when you expect mere bills and junk mail, there might actually be something exciting.

When the first card arrives, you celebrate, not just the season, but the dogs and the people, too. Your heart swells knowing that in this time of transition, there is still good in the world.

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Author’s Note: I wanted to experiment with writing in the second person and share my annual card exchange. Pictured above is my 2016 Card for the annual Daily Drool Card exchange. Numbers are down this year. I’ve sent out as many s 200, but this year, only 96  people are participating. But I still get to put up 95 basset hound Christmas Cards!

 

 

My take on Black Friday

25 Nov

Driving home from a delicious Thanksgiving meal last night, I passed a noticed all the empty parking lots and thought How nice, people are home enjoying each others company. Then, I drove past a Target. Illusion shattered.

I do not enjoy shopping on a regular day. Needless to say, I will not be joining the throngs of happy shoppers out looking for deals. My holiday gifts are ready. I’ve finished my holiday knitting and purchased the books that will be given. Allow me to smugly say that everything was purchased through independently owned shops.

My Black Friday will consist of three things:

  1. Poor Lucy has her annual vet appointment today. Because of timing this always seems to fall on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. Poor baby. She will get her bordatella and rabies shots. Most dogs get the bordatella through the nose, but Lucy, feisty girl that she is, always fights it so she gets hers subcutaneously. She is also due for a heart worm recheck. She’s never had heart worm and heart worm never existed this side of the Rockies, but it has arrived in Oregon. If you have a dog, be sure you test and tae appropriate precautions. I suspect, once we are home, she will spend most of the day asleep. She doesn;t really enjoy vet visits, even Dr. Klau is very gentle.Lucy_Nose
  2. I will spend much of my day knitting. I am knitting a scarf with two yarns from my stash and one of them is black. This is an easy pattern that alternates two yarns for a lovely effect.img_2269
  3. I will finish reading The Star-Touched Queen  by Roshani Chokshi.

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Publisher’s Summary:Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

I hope your Black Friday will be as enjoyable as mine (after I get home from the vet).

 

 

 

ER

21 Jun

The gagging caught my interest.

Lucy began gagging shortly after our walk on Sunday and I wondered if she had something stuck in her throat. It stopped and started and stopped and started. And then she started licking air.  That got me up, looking to see if I could see something in her throat. Of course, I couldn’t.

And then she started pacing. Lucy is a 10-year-old basset hound. Walks are always followed by naps. But she seemed to have trouble getting comfortable and that worried me greatly because bassets are one of the breeds prone to bloat, a potentially life threatening condition when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid, making it expand and putting pressure on other organs. In severe cases, the stomach can rotate. I gave her a Gas-X and took her to the emergency vet, hoping I was wrong. As we drove to the emergency room, she drooled profusely.

Portland has a fantastic 24-hr emergency vet hospital called DoveLewis.

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The parking lot seemed rather full when we pulled in. I guessed our regular vet  wasn’t the only one closed on Sundays. When Lucy and I walked in, The waiting room wasn’t packed, but still,  I figured we were in for a couple of hours of veterinary care.

We didn’t have to wait long after checking in. Our vet was Dr. Casey who took us into an exam room. She was impressed when I told her about the Gas-X. I explained about my work with basset rescue and how I follow several blogs and boards related to basset hounds.As she lifted Lucy’s tail, some gas was released, and we had a little laugh. We talked over bloat and having a foreign object lodged in her throat and we decided on a course of action.  She took Lucy back for x-rays and I got to wait.

I had planned ahead and packed a book, but was too anxious to read. As I leafed through magazines I noticed the other people waiting for word on their pets

  • a family consisting of a mom,dad with a young son and daughter
  • a middle-aged couple
  • a single man

While I waited the security guard walked in from the parking lot, helping a frail, elderly woman. He carried her cat carrier and helped her get checked in. She made us all chuckle when asked if she needed help filling out the paperwork.  She said, “I’m slow, but I can do it”. Later, he came back in to check on her because she had left her car window down. He offered to take her keys and roll up her window. Everyone who worked there was so nice!

I listened as the receptionist answered calls. She had two calls about poison and one about negative reactions to vaccines. The most serious conversation seemed to be with someone asking about euthanasia for a dog that had bitten a child. She explained that they did not do behavioral euthanasia, and gave resources that might be helpful. More than once she made sure that the dog had been removed from the home where the child lived.

Finally, I was called back to look at the x-rays. No foreign object showed up in Lucy’s throat, but her stomach was clearly  filled with gas. Although sedating her and inserting a tube down her throat was an option, Dr. Casey didn’t recommend it. Instead, she recommended pain medication, anti-nausea medication and some subcutaneous fluids. I love how the word subcutaneous rolls off my tongue.

I returned to the lobby to wait some more. As I waited, another couple came in with a Yorkie and a woman brought in a pit bull who was going to be a blood donor. She wasn’t giving blood that day, she was an excitable dog, so the owner was training her to be relaxed in the clinic. The family checked out and I learned they were there for their guinea pig. The single man came and went and it looked serious. He was waiting for other family members to come. A woman came in with an old black pomeranian who seemed to have hurt his mouth.

And then I was called for a discharge consultation. Lucy was coming home with no meds, but directions for a bland diet and Gas-X every six hours for two to three days. She had a good sleep once we were home and seems to be healing well. She is almost her perky self again. I worry a little every time I see her tongue come out, fearing that she about to relapse, but, I know I will relax a little more each day.

DoveLewis isn’t a place you ever want to have to visit, but if you do, you and your pet will receive excellent care.

 

 

Wild and Wary

1 Jun

Perhaps you’ve seen the dog dictum from Francesco Marciuliano’s collection of dog poems I Could Chew on This:

We were wolves once

Wild and wary

Then we noticed you have sofas

It has toured social media in a variety of memes. To illustrate this point in a non-meme way, Lucy is snoring beside me, in my bed, while I write this post. This is the first summer in eight years that I will have only one dog and I have promised Lucy that we will have some adventures together. Before she fell asleep, I read Lucy a bedtime story about one dog’s adventures.

Andrea Zuill’s debut picture book, Wolf Camp,  combines the idea of the wolf ancestor with summer adventure at a camp where city dogs can get in touch with their inner wolf.

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Publisher’s Summary: Meet Homer, a dog who heads to camp to live like a wolf! Here’s the perfect book for the legions of kids out there who love dogs and funny books.

Three cheers for basset hounds!

10 May

On a Thursday about wo weeks ago, Oregon Basset Hound Rescue received this request and our adoption coordinator sent it out to the volunteers.

Hello,
My name is L*** and I’m emailing for an old man I met who has 4 Bassett
hounds 3 of whom need homes. The man’s health has declined and he needs to
move from his home to a place more suited to help him but he can’t until
these poor little babies find homes…These are beautiful dogs and I want to help them get a life they deserve.

There were 2 males, Barney and Buddy, and a female named Pearl who needed homes. I put on my OBHR superhero cape and went into action.

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Buddy, son of Pearl and Barney,  was about a year old and I had the perfect home for him. I had done a home visit in January for a woman who had an older dog and an adult basset mix and wanted a wanted a younger basset. We had a 1 year old boy available at the time and got several applications on him. I did two home visits for that dog, but they were second & third in line for that young fellow. I always tell people we mostly get older dogs, but, if they can be patient  a younger dog might come along. She was thrilled when I contacted her, excited at the prospect. Check, one dog taken care of.

I manage the Oregon Basset Hound Games Facebook page and our President asked me to post the dogs there to get word out quickly. Within a few hours, there were lots of comments, but two people messaged me. One was a person who had adopted from and fostered for us before. Check….a foster home in case we don’t get anyone else. Maybe a good home for Barney.

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The third was a woman who had lost a senior female in March and was especially interested in Pearl, who, at 4 or 5, had lived a hard life, giving birth to several litters.

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I told her our process and she had her adoption application filled out by the next day. I did the home visit the following Monday, where I met her current dog and looked around her home. Boom…three potential families.

I contacted the woman to let her know we had three candidates and worked out a time and place to make the exchange. They were out of town for a few days and lived 2 hours from Portland. One of the adopters had something on the next weekend. Finally, we settled on Saturday, May 7. The dogs had never been to a vet, and I don’t know what to expect, though the original owner said he got rabies vaccine from the feed store and did his own at home.  With no official records, we decided to make an appointment with our vet, get the three dogs microchipped and vaccinated, and give them a once over.

I thought, calling a week and a half ahead, we would have no problem getting an appointment. Of course, I was mistaken. Fortunately, I spoke directly the vet and she said we should just bring them in around noon and she would squeeze them in.

And so Saturday rolled around. I checked Friday to be sure everyone was still on board. You’d be surprised how often these things fall through. Once again, the odds were in my favor and everyone was still good to go.

When I got to the clinic, I met the angels who had contacted us in the parking lot and finally met the dogs. Oh, they were filthy and their nails were horrifically long. We waddled our way into the clinic and they put us in a room. It was about 1 p.m. Three people and three stinky dogs in a room.

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Barney was going to live with a family three hours east of Portland, so he went first. Pearl and Buddy mourned his departure. For dogs who had never lived in doors, they quickly learned the meaning of the door. He was back before too long, with ear cleaner and drops for a minor ear infection, and I texted his foster family. We’d arranged for them to arrive by two and both they and Barney were good to go by that time.

And then there were two.

Pearl and Buddy each got their turn. Pearl also had an ear infection and got cleaner and drops, but Buddy was in good health. I texted their new moms and they arrived by three. We spent some time in the room, talking over what the vet had said. And then, we all left.

Buddy’s mom sent me some photos Saturday evening. he was settling in nicely.

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Barney’s foster mom said he did well on the drive. We got him up on Petfinder today. This picture ought to get some action.

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Today I heard that Pearl is also settling in well. She was the one my heart went out to her. It was the day before Mother’s Day and I was breaking up her family. To top it all off, her mammary glands were so stretched, they almost dragged on the ground and she was in heat.  But she has a new home with a new mom and a lovely sister and the rest of her life to relax.

I’d spent three hours in that small room. I was exhausted, covered in dog hair and smelled like a kennel. When I got home, I threw my clothes in the washer, had a shower and then a nap. I slept like a baby.

 

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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