Back when my wife and I first got together, we decided we needed to get a dog. We both grew up with animals, and we wanted some companionship and a project to take on together.
We did our research and decided on a basset hound. Easier said than done, as it turned out. We applied to rescues and haunted shelters, but the elusive basset never turned up.
Fast forward months later as we were driving to a mall we usually didn’t go to, we saw a stand on the side of the road advertising puppies. Now, we all know puppy mills are bad, but once those puppies end up on the side of the road, they’re puppy mill rejects, and need saving as much as shelter dogs, so I asked the wife, “Should we stop?”
She said, “We have and awful lot to do,” so on we went.
On the way home I asked again. She shook her head, so I zoomed by. Half a mile down the road, she said, “Turn around.”
I grinned. I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist.
When we got there, we were sad to see more than two dozen pups of all breeds. So many dogs who might end up abandoned or in shelters. To our surprise, though, the breeder had an entire litter of basset hounds.
We knew it was meant to be. One little basset, who was pale gold and white, which is called lemon drop coloring, tripped right up to my wife. She picked him up, he hiccuped, then fell asleep on her chest. She never put him down. I was harder to convince. I held two of the male puppies, who seemed listless, almost sickly. I ignored the lone female of the litter, because we had a roommate with an elderly female dog I thought would be jealous.
I should have listened harder. That girl puppy followed me around and around, barking her fool head off. She poked me with her nose. She pawed at me. Finally, exasperated, my wife said, “Would you pick up the loud one!”
I never put her down, either.
That was how we ended up with two bassets. Here are some things we’ve picked up about them over the past ten years.
Bassets are stubborn. Thank god they’re food motivated, or we’d never get them to do anything. We give them a command and they stare at us. You can see them pondering what’s in it for them.
Drool. OMG, the drool. That’s the number one reason people dump bassets at the shelter, which is crazy. They have big jowls. We keep towels on hand.
They bark. Luckily, our guys are pretty quiet when we’re not home, at least according to the neighbors. But they can howl. They can bay when hunting rabbits, which are plentiful where we live. Also, the girl basset has never stopped barking.
Their ears get filthy. We constantly have to clean the bottoms of their ears because food, water, and dirt get trapped there. We also wash the insides of their ears weekly, as they can get yeasty in there. With good care, the ears never become a problem.
Finally, we’ve learned that basset hounds must be walked on a leash. They follow their noses at all costs, and all the yelling on earth won’t bring them back. So unless you’re at the dog park or in a fenced piece of land, keep that leash attached.
Keeping all that in mind, the biggest reason I ended up with two bassets is because I love them. They’re goofy, smarter than advertised, and absolute lovers. Life is definitely better with them around.