It is one day past May Day, two days before “May the 4th Be With You”, and three days before “Cinco de Mayo”. Today’s Blog really has little to do with any of these, but hopefully it will bring a smile as we launch into this diversely festive weekend!
Chapter 18—Moving Day
It was very nearly summer by the time Bailey officially moved in. I remember Sadie came by after work
officially handed Bailey’s care over to Grandma Brown. At first, Bailey just thought she was over for a visit. She was on her best behavior and never left Sadie’s side. When Sadie got up to leave, Bailey also got up. When Sadie reached out to Bailey, she took off Bailey’s collar and leash. Sadie sat for a moment at eye level with Bailey, and then reached out and gave her a big hug. “Be a good puppy in your new home Stinky-Beast!”. Sadie’s eyes looked very watery and she hurried out of the house. Bailey ran after her, but the storm door closed too quickly for Bailey to follow Sadie outside. Bailey looked out the window and watched Sadie walk away. When Sadie reached the end of the driveway, she didn’t turn back to notice Bailey looking out the window. If Sadie had any kind of hearing, she wouldn’t have need to turn and look: she would have heard more than enough.
Bailey started howling. This is another well known trait of the basset hound—howling! I never heard anything more startling. The sound chilled me to my core, and before I knew it, my fur was puffing up to an embarrassing size. I looked like a big orange fuzzy parade balloon. I looked around, and Lolly’s eyes were wider than I had ever seen them. Grandma Brown seemed more dismayed than startled. She pursed her lips together so tightly that it almost looked as if she had no mouth at all. I am not sure if I heard correctly (Bailey was being pretty loud), but I think I heard a “harumpff!” come from Grandma Brown.
Grandma Brown decided it was a good time for everyone to have a snack. First she had Lolly help prepare a spam snack for Bailey (Sadie brought a few cans along with Bailey’s belongings). Lolly was kind enough to spare a dollop of spam for me as well. Finally, Lolly and Grandma Brown sat down with some chocolate milk and cookies.
Spam is very magical as far as Bailey is concerned. She stopped mid-howl at the first whiff of the stuff. Her skinny little tail wagged furiously throughout the whole time she was eating. When she finished what was in her plate, she licked all the food splatters that landed on the floor while she was eating. After that, Bailey returned to her dish and licked it shiny. Then, once she did a forensic clean up of her dish, the floor, and the surrounding walls, she curled up in her bed and began grooming her face, paws, and long ears. Her tail never really stopped wagging until she curled up in her bed. Personally, I was a little surprised to see a dog as stinky as Bailey embarking on such a meticulous and grueling grooming regimen.
As for myself, I was still pretty puffed up, and I was feeling a little jittery. I was mesmerized by Bailey. I could not relax, and seemed unable to stop watching her. I know she lived across the road, and therefore not really a stranger to me, but I still felt a little stressed and very curious. Watching her seemed to help me get used to her. She was a lot to take in, after all. For starters, her scent was really something to get used to. I know most dogs are pretty smelly by nature, but Bailey was extraordinary in that department. She could make a skunk’s eyes water!
Ironically, not only did Bailey smell, she liked smelling. She could wander around aimlessly for hours, nose pressed to the ground sniffing and snuffling. Sadie seemed all but forgotten to Bailey as she sniffed and snuffled her way around the house. I didn’t realize until later that Bailey had far from forgotten Sadie, but in fact, was trying to track her scent and commit it to her memory. Basset Hounds have a tremendous memory for scents—they never forget a smell!
Bailey also seemed to talk all the time. She talked to me, to herself, to no one in particular…all the time. She didn’t bark-talk it was more of a “think out loud” kind of thing. From what I could hear, this dog was obsessed with two or three things: food, smells, and food smells. I am not sure which took more getting used to, the smell or the constant doggy-dialogue. Either way, I was learning that being Head Pet wasn’t all glamour.