Tag Archives: crazy basset lady


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.


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.



In and out of fashion: A Slice of Life Story

13 Oct


What’s a girl to wear?

Poor Fiona had surgery last Tuesday to remove two rather large fatty tumors that were protruding from her chest and dangling like two sweater puppies, if you catch my meaning. At her age, 14, I wouldn’t have considered the surgery but for the fact that they drooped off her chest so far that one was getting perilously close to the ground. I feared if I did nothing, those low hanging fruit would eventually begin dragging along the ground, becoming infected, unless I found a bra to fit her Rubenesque physique.


Fiona, age 7 (2008)

When I picked her up after the surgery, she was wrapped in a sleeveless sweatshirt that was tied up in two places in topknots held together with stretch bandaging. The location of the staples, about 50 in total, was such that the cone of shame could be avoided, but, she still needed to keep her wounds covered.

I had reached out earlier to the online basset hound community asking for advice. I got several good answers, the best seemed to be children’s undershirts. I’d picked up some cute little girl’s camis thinking they would be perfect.Colossal failure. Even though I tried them frontwards and backwards, they fit not cover the staples.  I tried cutting the straps and tying them better cover the incisions, but this, too, failed. So I fashioned a covering out of one of my t-shirts.


This required a large knot at the back, and pinned sleeves, but it worked. The next shirt was a much better color for Fiona.It, too required a knot and sleeve pinning, but it brought out the color in her fur that is much grayer than it used to be.


I finally found the perfect solution: boys small undershirts. The sleeves need no pinning. The middle is still a little big, but that problem can be easily resolved with a few more pins.


Fortunately, Fiona has been a good sport about wearing the shirts. Even so, I;m not planning on getting her a Hallowe’en costume.

2015 Oregon Basset Hound Games

21 Jul

July brings the dog days of summer. Literally. The Oregon Basset Hound Games is always held on the third Sunday in July.

The planning team was a little short-handed this year and the weather was hot, which Oregonians fear and loathe, but the show must go on, and it did with gusto.


As always, the Games opened with the limbo. Although bassets are low riders, their tails prove to be their downfall in this event.


There are several highlights. Everyone  loves the costume contest. Everyone of the two-leggers that is; the results are inconclusive for the four-leggers.


The poor lithe dalmatian in the middle kept trying to remove her hat. Others were more cooperative.





Aside from their sad faces and stubbornness, basset hounds are infamous for two things: laziness and howling. Naturally, there is a Marathon Napping contest.


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Some years, there seem to be more barkers than howlers. This was not one of them.

My favorite event is the last event: Synchronized Swimming. The concept is simple. Lead your basset to the kiddie pool. Convince him/her to get all four paws in the pool. Get out on the other side and cross the finish line. Unfortunately, base hounds hate water and most refuse to get into the pool. Watching the owners try to convince their dog to get on the pool is hilarious.





Waking the Neighbors

14 Jul


My normal summer routine begins by getting up around 4 a. m. to air the house out and cool it down. The girls, Fiona and Lucy, both basset hounds, usually get up with me. They get potted and have breakfast, then go back to sleep while I read or knit and watch the internal temperature of the house drop.

Somewhere between 6 and 7 a.m., the girls will wake up and we go for a walk. Fiona is old,  slow and sometimes tippy, so, depending on how well she is walking that morning, we will either do the one block loop or the two block loop.

We are a comical  sight to behold. Each girl is on 6 foot leash. Lucy, younger by 6 years,  is usually way out front. I call Fiona my back seat driver because she is stretched way out back of me. I am in the middle, arms outstretched, scanning the ground. You would be surprised, and possibly horrified, at what two bassets can find to eat on a walk around one or two blocks.

Last Sunday, we were out for a typical mosey. It was earlier, closer to six that to seven, and we were doing the two block walk. We hadn’t done it for a few days, so I was being very attentive to what was on the ground. Fiona was way back, but Lucy was rather close to me, snuffling along the sidewalk as if she were on the trail of something.

My mind often wanders as I walk, and this morning was no exception, so, when I saw the tabby camouflaged in the brown grass, I was surprised and screamed, “AGH!” It was loud enough to wake neighbors sleeping with their windows open, but not so shrill they would get up and call the police. I pulled the girls hard to the left and we successfully circumnavigated the tabby. The funny thing is, both girls usually go crazy when they see a cat and bark and lunge. This time, I was the only one to react. I guess I was loud enough for the three of  us.

Our secret language #SOL15

26 Mar


Living alone with dogs, I go off the deep once in a while, becoming a crazy basset lady. Over the years, I have developed a secret language that I only use with the dogs. There are words, expressions and phrases. Most are spoken, some are sung. All are ridiculous.

make a deposit in the poop bank verb  to drop poop back in a receptacle

Example: Oh look honey, the neighbors left their trashcan out so we can make a deposit in the poop bank.

the train is leaving the station verb from the lightrailese, often an order to hurry

synonyms: get a move on, get cracking, hop to it, hustle, step on it

Example: OMG, Fiona, you are so slow! Let’s move it. The train is leaving the station.

nanner noun  banana

Example: Girls, would you like to share my nanner?

nanner-time noun time to eat a banana, often sung, as Thank Heaven for Nanner Time in a French accent (a la Maurice Chevalier) to the tune of  Thank Heaven for Little Girls 

belly mohawk noun  the ridge of flesh dangling from the underbelly of a senior basset hound

Example: Don’t step in the puddle, Fiona, your belly mohawk will get wet.

cookie noun  any treat

Example: Lucy, do you want a cookie? Sit!

Dr. Pet Vet proper noun affectionate name for Dr. Davies, also, a character fromThe Hilarious House of Frightenstein, a Canadian TV show of the 1970’s, starring Billy Van and Vincent .

to chase a bunny verb to dream, esp. to make spasmodic movements with the legs while dreaming.

Example: Oh Lucy, sleep sweetly.  Are you chasing a bunny?

mama’s special helper noun  sous chef

Example: Come in the kitchen and you can be mama’s special helper while I make dinner.

waddle noun  a walk, esp a basset event involving many basset hounds

Example: 1. Hey girls, let’s go for a waddle. 2. The Waddle begins promptly at noon. All bassets must be leashed.

howliday noun  any celebration, but especially those in December

Example: I wonder if we will get any cards today for the annual howliday card exchange.

flat-basset adjective  a passive aggressive basset move in which a basset ays down and refuses to move

Example: Our 20 minute walk took an hour because Lucy went all flat-basset in a sunny spot.


As you can see, living with basset hounds requires a very specialized vocabulary. Maybe I’m not that crazy after all.






Oregon Basset Hound Games 2014

22 Jul

I needed two naps yesterday to recover from the fun I had at the 2014 Oregon Basset Hound Games.

After a week of HOT weather, the morning dawned with clouds and RAIN. It was raining almost the entire 45 minute drive to Woodburn, OR. It was misting while we set up the canopies, maze, ring and registration table. Registration opened at 8:30 and a few regulars were there at that time. People slowly trickled in. By 9:45 the rain had stopped but we didn’t have many people. But they came eventually. I think they were waiting to see if the rain was really over. We started the Games off with the LIMBO contest and by the time it was over, we had a full house.

There were tricks. Bassets are always cooperative, so the fact that any of them do anything on command, is always fun.



The maze, which includes a water feature, is a challenge to some, but a joy to others.

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The costume contest is always a delight. Little Bo Peep showed up, as did the chain gang.

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And a real live circus complete with a lion.

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Lots of butterflies appeared, some more willingly than others.

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About halfway through we release biodegradable memorial balloons. I got a little teary eyed.


Although sleeping is one of a basset’s best skills, the Napping contest was over quickly.

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Have you ever noticed how some people look like their dogs?


There was a puppy dash and a Senior Prom, a race for dogs over 10. As always we ended with synchronized swimming.  Bassets don’t like water, so the owner has to run with their dog up to a kiddie pool and convince them to get into the pool with all four feet, then get out the other side and run across the finish line. The crowd roars with laughter watching people trying to convince their dog to get in the pool. They use snacks, chess and even two-legged siblings,


All in all it was a great time. Basset owners are a special breed and love their dogs.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to support us. This is OBHR”s big fundraising event of the year and we thank everyone who supports us. If you are on Facebook, you can see more pictures on the Oregon Basset Hound Games page. Just type “Oregon Basset Hound Games” in the search bar. That site also has videos.

Happy 8th birthday, Lucy!!!

18 Jun

Here’s the birthday girl, ready to give you a big hug!


Today, Lucy turns 8. I decided to dedicate this post to her because, with all her health and age issues, Fiona gets a lot more attention than Lucy.

I adopted Lucy in January 2010. It was the Saturday before President’s Day. I had gone in to my principal to let her know I was taking off the day after the Monday holiday, usually a no-no, because I was getting a new dog. And bless her heart, my principal said, “Take Wednesday, too.”

She fit in well, at first. About 3 months after I adopted her, she started being reactive on leash to other dogs. When she turned on Fiona, I knew I had to take drastic steps. I was heart-broken and worried I’d have to give her up, but the folks at OregonBasset Hound Rescue gave me advice, which I followed. I took her to the vet to rule out a physical problem. Then, I saw a behaviorist who gave me some very helpful strategies I still employ. I always carry turkey jerky when we walk and I use Dog Appeasing Pheremones in the house.

Lucy spent her first few years locked in a bathroom, the victim of a family enamored of a puppy, but not willing to give her the training or attention she needed. Neighbors felt sorry for her and convinced the family to let them have her. Two years later the second family divorced and Lucy was an asset no one wanted. At least this family knew to contact OBHR.

And so Lucy came to me. She is the Laurel to Fiona’s Hardy. She is also very sensitive and trembles at times, when I leave. In fact, after our last round of 2 nights of parent-teacher conferences, Lucy was a wreck. Even when I left in the mornings after PT conferences, she would shake violently & try to hide in the bathroom. It took almost a month before she got her confidence back and was OK when I left in the morning, which she never used to react to.

Lucy likes to adjust blankets so they are all at her back and she frequently remakes my bed.


Sometimes she likes to go right under and hide.


Unlike Fiona and Louie, Lucy loves to play with toys. She gets so excited when we play fetch, which she really enjoys. This is one of the rare times when Lucy barks. I often joke that Lucy is silent, but deadly.

Join me in wishing Lucy a many happy returns of the day. And, since it also Paul Mccartney’s birthday, let’s sing

Thank you, Crazy Basset Lady!

30 Jan

My work day started off really poorly. I wanted to say crappily, but thought I should have more decorum. But it really was a crappy start to my day. I won’t belabor you with details. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to Spring Break because February is always the longest month at school. even though it is the month with the fewest days. Apparently I’m not alone because you can buy a t-shirt letting everyone know how you feel.


My day got better once the kids arrived and I could do what I love doing. It continued to improve as the day rolled on.

I got home & took the girls out for our usual evening constitutional. Just as we were about to round the last corner before home, a woman stuck her head out of the car and yelled “I love bassets!” The car pulled over and a nice young couple got out. Their basset, Sam, was in the back of their car. I warned them about Lucy’s personality disorder and they just accepted it & left Sam in the back. He & I got to meet a bit later, once the woman had a good hold of Lucy. They were such nice young couple!!!!!  And they sort of restored my faith in humanity. They moved to Portland not that long ago and were super excited to find out about the Oregon Basset Hound Games and other outlets for crazy basset people.It was just nice being around a positive adult.She helped my end way better than it started.

So to all the crazy basset ladies out there,


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