Tag Archives: basset hounds

There Might Be A New Man in My Life

27 Oct

I gave away the food, first.

I had neighbors with dogs and figured they might be able to use what I no longer needed after Lucy passed away.

Next, it was the wooden boxes I’d kept covered with towels and used as steps to help her up to the sofa and the bed. I left those on the street corner. it’s what we do on my SE Portland neighborhood. They were gone within an hour, as I suspected they might be.

I left the toys and her bed on the floor for a couple of weeks, not yet ready to see them go. Eventually, I got the courage to bundle them up and put them in the trash. They only had value to me.

I kept her fleece blankets, unwashed, on the sofa longer. I knew I’d wash them eventually and put them away in a cupboard. I just didn’t know that day would come so quickly.

Late last week an email came from the president of Oregon Basset Hound Rescue, asking for a foster family for Richard, a 10-year-old basset with severe ear and allergy issues. Well, for years I’d said that once I had no dog of my own, I’d foster. I had to walk my talk. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but Richard is probably coming to stay with me.

He has some pretty strict care protocols that his family couldn’t maintain. And they were struggling to afford the care of the specialist he was seeing. His issues sounded a lot like Fiona’s, who saw an ear and allergy Specialist for years. I am very familiar with ear care – in fact, my old vet said I was probably the best cleaner of dog ears she’d ever met.

I am now waiting to find out if this family is really ready to give up their dog. Given the nature of this year, I am worried I might be disappointed and they’ll change their minds. Despite the endless stream of bad news this year, I am looking forward to something positive in 2020.

Helping Howard

19 Feb

The message from the Oregon Basset Hound Rescue president  came Friday night: Could someone get to the Humane Society on Saturday to take a look at a dog? Howard had been returned to OHS a second time and they were asking for OBHR’s help finding him a new home.

I’d been planning to do my taxes Saturday morning, then spending the rest of the day knitting. But, I live closest to OHS, so I said I’d do it. I was told to wear black (Howard was reported to be afraid of people in black) and  arrive before OHS opened. I was to go right in once the doors opened  and let them know who I was – they’d be expecting me.

There were two small crowds out front when I arrived. The crowd closest to the doors were clearly potential adopters, eager to find their furry soulmate. They were older that the crowd further back. I initially assumed these were volunteers, but, using my excellent powers of eavesdropping, I learned they were veterinary students coming for a tour.

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When the doors opened, I queued up and waited my turn. they were expecting me and before I knew it I was being escorted to a meeting room. It wasn’t the sort of meeting room you might imagine. this was a room designed for an intimate meet and greet.

When Howard came in he showed no fear of my black clothes. In fact he was sweet and curious, sniffing all over to get to know this new room.

He came when called and demonstrated how well he could sit (and wait) for a treat. he also demonstrated his excellent climbing skills.

Howard came to Oregon from a kill shelter in California in the Second Chance program. He had been picked up as a stray a few times and the last time, his owners declined to come and get him. The shelter thought he might be adoptable in Oregon so he was sent here.  Apparently, Howard is such a devoted family member he is very vocal if left alone, and so he was adopted and  returned to OHs. Twice.

Despite his sad early life,  Howard is a lover. He is such a lover that he has a big old heart on his side. He is a model canine and OHS staff use him to model leash-walking for new arrivals. Maybe that’s why he has a gold star beside his heart.

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If I didn’t have to work, and if Lucy were friendlier to other dogs, I’d have taken him home myself.

I was a little sad to see him go, but hopeful we could spread the news about Howard to the OBHR community.

I am hopeful that Howard will soon be in a home with a retiree or a new friend works from home. Maybe I’ll have a good news update during our March Slice of Life Challenge.

 

Life with Lucy

27 Mar

Lucy's Nose

Lucy is a pretty low maintenance dog.

Although she doesn’t enjoy it, she will let me give her a bath.

She doesn’t enjoy nail trims either, but she will let me clip her toenails. All my other dogs tried to pull their paws out of my hand when I tried to trim their nails. Lucy keeps hers there and likes to eat the clippings. I let her. I figure it is the canine equivalent of biting her nails and it is her reward for cooperating.

The only thing she really hates is getting her ears cleaned.

As soon as I go to the cupboard where the ear cleaner is kept, she starts paying attention. When she sees the container, she tries to hide, so I generally try to act nonchalant, hiding the bottle behind my back. I will do a few other things before sidling up to her, ear cleaner, cotton rounds and hands still behind my back.

As soon as she realizes that I tricked her again, doggone it, she tries to bolt. But, I am a stealthy ear cleaner. I have her literally cornered on the sofa. There is no escape. She bears the indignity on the first ear and I can see the little wheels turning in her brain as I switch to the second. I block her so she can’t escape before she gets the other ear done.

When the ordeal is over she runs away, shaking her head and rubbing her ears on the floor and sofa. At this point I usually offer her a treat, followed by a walk. By the time we get home, I have been forgiven.

Lucy’s Seven

8 Mar

I’ve never had a dog that liked any kind of citrus, but Lucy loves mandarin oranges. She has mastered the art of getting what she wants à la Steven Covey.

1. Stephen Covey says: Be proactive.

Lucy says: Always be in the room where the mandarin is being eaten.

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2.Stephen Covey says: Begin with the end in mind.

Lucy says: Visualize that tiny morsel of deliciousness sliding down your throat and into your tummy.

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3.Stephen Covey says: Put first things first.

Lucy says: It is important and urgent that I get a slice of that mandarin.

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4.Stephen Covey says: Think win-win. 

Lucy says: A piece for Mommy, a piece for Lucy. Sounds like a win-win, to me!

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5.Stephen Covey says: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Lucy says: You want me to to sit. Look, I am sitting for the next slice.

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6. Stephen Covey says: Synergize.

Lucy says: Together, Mommy and I can polish off that mandarin in no time.

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7.Stephen Covey says: Sharpen the saw.

Lucy says: We’ve had a snack, let’s take one more walk before bedtime.

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Revisiting grief unexpectedly

2 Mar

After a great day at school, an exciting first day of the Slice of Life Challenge, and a quick and uneventful drive home, tears welled in my eyes. I had just opened the mail to this:

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Fiona’s license renewal.

You think your heart has had enough time to heal and then this arrives in the mail and the wound in your heart opens again.

Fiona went to the Rainbow Bridge on November 10, 2015 – two and a half years ago. She was a sickly girl with chronic ear infections and skin issues, but she left a huge hole in my heart when she left.

Tomorrow I will write something happy or funny. Today, I will just remember my lovely girl.

Fiona-Grass3

 

 

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!

 

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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