Rescue Organization: Ohio Basset Rescue
When I lost my Basset Hound, Bud, after 14 years, my heart and my world were shattered. He had been there for me through everything. He watched my twin daughters grow up and listened to me complain through their teenage years. He supported me through our move from Canada to Alabama. He was a warm companion at my side through chemotherapy, and he was never confused by my erratic behavior through menopause. My rock, my go-to-guy, was gone. I was a mess.
Though I had never written a poem before, I felt compelled to put the pain of my loss into words:
There’s a spot on my floor that I cannot erase.
There’s a spot on my couch, that’s a glaring bare space.
There’s a spot by my bed, like a hole in the floor.
There’s a spot in the kitchen, by the pantry room door.
There’s a spot by the table, where we ate our meals.
There’s a spot in my heart that will never heal.
These spots can’t be cleaned, can’t be scrubbed or replaced.
They’re a painful reminder that I now have to face.
All of these spots were made by one friend.
He was soft; he was gentle; he was true ‘til the end.
I will miss him forever; I just hope that he’s found
A spot where he’s happy, ‘til I come back around.
Everything had changed. Every room was empty. We had two other dogs, whom I loved very much, but the house was still empty. I missed my old Hound.
I found comfort in looking at video clips and pictures of Basset Hounds. I would sit at my computer for hours, crying and laughing at Youtube videos. I also looked at a variety of breeders’ sites. I smiled as I looked at the adorable puppies, but I knew it was not a puppy I wanted. I longed for the comforting snores of my old senior Basset, Bud.
We had never adopted before, but I found myself captivated by all of the beautiful souls on Petfinder.com. There were more than 2,000 available Basset Hounds. Through my tears I looked at Hound after Hound, waiting for a sign.
Suddenly, there she was! Her resemblance to my Buddy was almost spooky. Her kennel name was Dharma, and she had been rescued by The Ohio Basset Rescue (OBR) after being discarded by a breeder. I called her foster mom, Barb, to learn more. She was in rough shape when OBR got her. Many of her teeth had rotted due to lack of calcium during her breeding days. The veterinarian had to remove 18 teeth. They don’t know how long she had been on her own, but it took several baths just to determine the color of her fur. OBR spent a great deal of time, energy, money, and, of course, love to prepare Dharma for adoption. But there she was, ready for her new home.
The more Barb told me about her, the more I knew she was meant to be mine. She said Dharma was afraid of storms and fireworks, she was a messy drinker, and she shed like a bear. She was always hungry, and if Barb didn’t feed her in a timely manner, she would find a way of feeding herself, including opening Barb’s fridge. She was perfect! There was just one big problem. Our family lives in Alabama, and Dharma was in Ohio. OBR takes adoption very seriously, as they should, and they were not eager for out-of-state adoptions.
I would not take no for an answer. I persisted, and finally, after many reference checks with my vets and neighbors, we were approved.
We drove 800 miles to pick up our girl. As we got closer, I started to feel anxious. What if she was not what I expected her to be? What if she did not like us?
Finally we arrived. We knocked on the door, and Barb answered, inviting us into the living room. Dharma had been with Barb for six months, and Barb loved her very much, so I am sure that she, too, was filled with mixed emotions. After chatting for a few moments, Barb brought Dharma into the room. She was beautiful. Much skinnier than our big boy, Bud. She was shy at first, barking nervously at us, but eventually she came into the room and sat at Barb’s feet. We waited a while until she felt a bit more at ease, and then I brought out the big artillery: a biscuit. Oh, I have been a Basset Hound parent for 25 years, and I knew the power of the biscuit. It worked, and before long she was leaning up against us. We felt good, and I think Barb did, too.
We packed up Dharma’s leash, collar, some snacks, and her stuffed doggy, and we were on our way. She jumped in the back seat without a second thought and was a perfect passenger all the way home.
When we arrived home after our long journey, Dharma pranced through the front door and made our home her own immediately. Our young Basset girl, Mona, rushed to the door thinking Dharma was her Bud. She had known Bud her whole life and had been mourning his loss. She got within about two feet and slammed on the brakes, realizing the dog at the door was someone else. Nevertheless, they bonded almost immediately.
After getting to know Dharma, we renamed her Bunny. She is our Honey Bunny.
Bunny enjoys the southern life: long walks amongst the trees, wading into the streams, and baking her belly in the sun. She has added some “curves” to her once slimmer body, but she is healthy and happy and loved.
Bunny did what I thought could never be done. She filled the hole in my heart. Today is her 11th birthday. As I write, she sits at my side, snoring in the sun. A hint of “eau de basset” fills the air. It is heaven. We often tell her that she hit the Basset lottery when we adopted her, but we really know that it is us who have won.
This wonderful experience of adoption has motivated me. I now volunteer for one of our local animal shelters, Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) of Mobile. I have adopted two more wonderful furkids from the ARFanage. There really is nothing more fulfilling than saving a furry soul and likewise being saved. –Cindy Ferguson