Sunday, March 11, 2012

IT IS NO COINCIDENCE: LEO may act like he doesn't know that NOBODY but DAD is allowed to sit in dad's recliner, but his expression says something different doesn't it? When it comes to being a dog lover, you either are one or you're not. Well, my husband, John falls into the later category. I still can't quite believe I'm married to a self professed dog loather. After six long years of putting up with Leo the Basset,(or maybe the bastard, as he lovingly refers to him) he's had enough. Leo has destroyed our home, kept everyone up all night on so many occasions and if we're not constantly watching the door when the kids open it, he'll take off running, nose to the ground. He doesn't return on his own, we have to chase him up and down the streets and usually if he gets away from us, it's not an easy task to get him back. He might have short little legs but when he runs it's like a blur and I swear those long ears flapping in the wind give him extra momentum. Although me and the kids cry and pray for his safe return, their dad is praying for him to keep right on running. I don't understand this type of thinking. I would be devastated if anything happened to Leo but not John, he actually has an urn on our mantel with Leo's name on it. He gets excited each year when Leo has a birthday, not for the homemade dog bone shaped birthday cake that I bake, but because he says it's one year closer to being in the urn. And I know how horribly mean this all sounds but in his defense, of all the dogs I've ever had in my life, Leo is by far the most difficult. And I will admit, that even me, the biggest dog lover in the world have found myself at Witt's end on many occasions with this high maintenance little basset! My husband's theory on dog's is that if they can't earn their keep, they don't belong in the house. I tell him that our kids don't earn their keep but we let them live here? Maybe saying he "loathes" dogs isn't really fair. He doesn't mind dogs, he just doesn't want them living under his roof. He says "All they are is work, they ruin your house, they pee on everything and you can never take a vacation again without worrying about them." The cat on the other hand seems to be his best friend. He loves our cat because our cat earns his keep. He catches mice.  When I asked my husband if we could get a dog, right from the beginning, his answer was "NO!" No two ways about it, plain and simple: NO! And then the quest began. I went from shelter to shelter in search of the perfect rescue dog. I wanted to get a dog that needed a second chance in life. I didn't want to just go out and get a new dog or a puppy from a breeder. I wanted to save a dog that needed extra special love that I knew I was capable of giving. We had two small children by this time in our marriage and in my opinion, no family was complete without a dog. My husband begged me to stop, but I was on a mission and it didn't matter what he said, I was bound and determined to get a dog. Deep down, he knew I would win in the end (I always do) so eventually he came around and decided that he had to accept it was going to happen. I will never forget the night he finally gave in. He said, "If I'm not winning this battle, and we absolutely have to get a dog, then I will only allow one type of a dog in this house." At that moment, I remember feeling pure joy because I knew I had broken him down. I was bubbling over with curiosity. What breed of dog could he possibly be referring to? What did he know about dogs? He never had one growing up and he has never even mentioned anything about a dog except his profound aversion to having one in his home. I could not believe my ears when he said the breed was a Basset Hound. "Why?" I asked.  His response was, he loved the basset hound on the show "Coach", the dog was fat, lazy and all he did was sleep at the foot of the man's recliner. At that point I swear, I would not have cared if he had said anything from a Yorkie to a Great Dane. Quite simply, I needed a dog. Just a few hours of searching on the New England Basset Hound Rescue website and we had found our boy! Some agencies will paint a glorious picture of a future adoptee, they will rave about how wonderful the dog is and how he will bring so much joy to your home, and you can't wait to get the dog home only to find out he's a menace. This was NOT the case with NEBHR, they were brutally honest. Leo's biography read something like this: This is a dog that needs a lot of attention, he may benefit from obedience training, he likes to jump up on counters and steal sandwiches, he hates to ride in cars, he gets car sick, and he has tons of energy.  I read this brutally honest description under the most adorable picture of the world's cutest basset hound and truly felt that he was the perfect dog for us.  I remember telling John that since he too, gets car sick, and since our children had tons of energy, Leo would surely be the perfect match for us. And so what if he steals the occasion sandwich off the counter, who couldn't stand to lose a couple of pounds.  He was not so sure, especially about the sandwich stealing part, but he did agree that based on the photo, he was the most beautiful Basset Hound he'd ever seen.  I remember promising that I would have this little guy turned around and trained to be the most perfect mannered Basset you ever saw in just a few short weeks. I believed that LOVE could cure all. I should have woken up from that dream the day the foster parents delivered him to us. They practically dropped him and RAN but not before they told us their nickname for him was "The Mental Midget" and how their 4 geriatric Bassets were happy to see him pack his bags and get out of there.  Well, 6 years this past Thanksgiving later and I'm still trying to turn him into the most perfect mannered little Basset you ever saw. And it's no wonder John is so frustrated, of all the qualities he looked forward to with this breed; Leo's got none.  He is far from fat, matter of fact, he might be the skinniest Basset I've ever seen. He's far from lazy, he's too busy worrying about all of his phobias and anxieties, and instead of sleeping by the foot of the recliner, he is more apt to be peeing behind it or sprawled out sleeping in it despite the "stay out of my damn recliner" rule!

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