Hi, Pet Buddies.
I had the best time last week meeting three new Sebastian dog buddies. Stan and Gus are basset hounds, who were picked from a kennel in Gainesville and are registered, with actual papers (and I don’t mean newspapers in the corner).
I don’t like to admit it but I was a little intimidated. I figured hey, Gainesville, well they had college degrees for sure, and Registration Papers are pawsome! That means you get a really long special name that no one ever actually calls you by. I’m not sure why. I mean, would you come if somebody yelled “Here, Prince Woofly Von Kennelworth Cedrick Barksly!”? See what I mean?
Anyway, I put on my best Cool Pooch face. But, when they came to the door, even though they looked all mournful and grown up – those flopsy ears and big old sad eyes, ya know? – they turned out to be pretty much still pupsters – all bounces and slurps and really big feet.
“Hey, guys, what’s the woof?” I asked suavely. “Who’s who?”
“I’m Gus, I’m a tri-color. I’m four months old! We’re really excited to meet you. I mean, how cool that you write for a newspaper. I know a lot about newspapers because we’re still getting housebroken. Well, I mean, almost …”
I figured Stan had to be Gus’s big brother. He was friendly but waay more laid back. After the usual wag and sniff, he plopped down on the rug. “I’m six months old,” he said as he glanced at Gus and continued: “We came from the same kennel – same dad, different moms. Umm, Bonz, what’re you staring at?”
I’d been staring at those very large paws. Rallying, I managed, “Your toenails look marvelous. And those dew paws, so tidy and pink. Who’s your stylist?”
“Why thanks, Bonz. We just got back from our monthly mani-pedis. When we get totally, you know, trained, our humans are going to get rid of this silly carpet and get tile. Imagine how pawsome we’ll sound running all over the place!”
A human lady came into the room and sat down on the couch. Gus immediately jumped into her lap. “Who’s that?” I whispered.
“This is our cool older sister, Alexandra,” Gus said.
“She’s been pretty easy to train,” commented Stan.
“How do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, for example, she gives us M&M’s and crackers with cheese,” replied Stan, and Gus added, “most of the time I’m way too comfortable to get up and get the treat so she brings it right over to me. I just have to give her The Look.”
“Plus, she lets us jump up on the furniture.”
“Wow,” I said. “You mean you don’t have to do a trick or anything?”
“Oh, puleeze,” said Stan, “WE don’t DO tricks.“
“Well, excuuuuse me,” I muttered. “But, when you not napping or eating M&Ms, what do you do for fun?”
“We take our humans for walks around the neighborhood,” said Gus without lifting his head, “And now, since they put up a fence, we can run all over the back yard without any collars or leashes. We also spend time lying in the sun and chewing on antlers. I like to pretend the backyard is The Wild and I’m a ferocious wolf. It’s exciting.”
“”You’re a lot things,” I thought, “but ferocious isn’t one of ‘em.”
“Whatever fluffs your blanket,” I commented, watching as Alexandra dropped an M&M into Gus’ mouth. “Humm, I wonder if I could teach my human to do that? Oh, who am I kidding.”
“You see,” explained Stan, “We bassets are loving and gentle but,” he leaned forward, “we are also manipulative. We have our humans wrapped around our little paws.”
Suddenly I remembered. “Wasn’t there supposed to be another dog in this interview?”
“Oh, yes. Jack,” said Stan. “He’s a little – well – protective.”
Alexandra got up, dumping Gus onto the floor, and came back into the room with a lovely little dachshund tucked under her arm, a bright red collar nicely offsetting the copper-penny red of his shiny coat. “THIS is the ferocious Jack,” I thought, relaxing a bit.
“This is our adopted brother,” said Stan. To Jack he said, “Jack, this is our – FRIEND. His name is – “
“Jack,” Stan said behind his paw, “has a bit of a Napoleon complex.” But he’s all bark and no (well mostly) bite, unless he’s protecting Alexandra or one of us. ”
At last, Jack loosened up and his big sis put him down. He nose-bumped me and finally the ice was broken. But soon it was time for me to go so I could get back and write my column.
“Next time you come, we’ll sing for you,” Stan said. “Gus loves to hear the sound of his own voice; I howl a pretty good bass and Jack barks a respectable baritone.”
“I can’t wait,” I said, heading out with visions of M&M’s dancing in my head.
Till next time