Years ago when I was in college, I had a Basset hound. I named him Barney and he was the saddest looking thing you ever saw, huge feet with these toe nails that were deadly and don’t forget those BIG blood shot eyes. He only looked sad, he was actually one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever owned. He wondered into my yard one day as most of my animals seem to have done over the years. That’s where I found him, he was laying in the yard when I got home from class. I gave him a quick pet and my burrito. I knew I would like him right then and there. Any dog that would eat hot sauce was OK by me. It turned out Barney ate everything. Once, I came home to find him eating a head of lettuce I had thrown in the garbage. You had to keep the trash bin off the floor. He wasn’t too keen to climbing or jumping so it was easy enough to keep stuff out of his reach. He did have a couple of other bad habits, one (as some of you already know) was howling. I had never owned a hound before and didn’t know about this howling. There I was all asleep, my new husband laying at my side, I thought I had it made, a new dog, a sweet little house, art classes with great teachers, everything a girl would want. Suddenly, I hear this god awful bellow in the middle of the night, he suddenly lets out a howl that made me sit straight up in bed. Nothing ever broke him of that habit. Another bad habit was his need to roam, he just didn’t seem to loyal. He would wonder the neighborhood, this is before stringent laws kept dogs on leashes. I would find him sleeping on a neighbor’s porch or even laying asleep in car ports or at the local pub. The guys at the local bar would give him beer which of course he loved and he would be too drunk to come home. I’d have to go down in my little blue superbeatle and have the guys load him in the car.
After a few episodes of wondering Barney, I decided to put him in the back yard where the (I’m not kidding) tiny 2 1/2 foot tall picket fence was too tall for him to get out. That just made the howling start up. What was I to do? Finally one day…. no Barney, he had gotten out, there was a school across the street and he loved the kids. They would come by and pet him everyday and feed him their old sandwiches from their lunch boxes, I think they may have also let him out. One week goes by No Barney, two weeks goes by nothing I asked at the neighborhood pub nope hadn’t seen him Did all the usual stuff to find a dog and not one sign of him. Gone just like he had come in one day here then gone. About a month after Barney went missing I get a call about a dog that sounded like my dog. It was a young family with three kids. They wanted to bring him by to see if he was mine. Oh great, Barney’s back ! I tell my husband, he gives me the look, he was never too keen on the dog so it really didn’t matter to him.
They show up and its him. The BIG loony dog. The family said he had shown up at their house and they kept him until they saw my “missing dog” flyer at the grocery store. The mother said the kids had fallen in love with him, and by the looks I was getting from two of the kids I could tell she was right. They looked at me like I was taking their best friend away. The third little girl kept saying they named him Jake, ( I wondered how many names that dog had in his lifetime, he wasn’t young when I named him Barney). After talking for a little bit I could see he was in good hands and when the mother asked me straight away if they could keep him, I said sure, he needed those kids. I gave him a big hug and told her about his drinking problem and his affinity for hot sauce, we all had a good laugh and they loaded him up in the station wagon and he was gone. When the guys at the pub found out they said they would miss him but thought it was for the best, they were worried he would stagger out into the road and get hit by a car. So was I and now I could rest at night knowing he had a family. I just wonder about that howling…. I some how forgot to mention it.
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