Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Basset Hounds and Bliss
I am a dog-lover. When I grow up (if that should occur) - I would love to work with dogs in some way. For now, I am content to love my own dog and enjoy others as they walk their owners or engage in antics on various websites.
Certain breeds have never appealed to me, though. Basset hounds are one of those. I couldn't understand what drew people to this long, stubby-legged animal that drooled. (Drooling dogs, in general are not my fav!)
About a year ago, I noticed that as I drove home from dropping off my high school daughter to pick up my middle school son, I would pass an elderly man walking two bassets through the neighborhood. I didn't pay much mind at first - they were bassets after all. Yet, after several days of seeing them shuffle along the sidewalk, I began to LOOK for them. At first I paid attention to the man - elderly, as I mentioned, white hair, tall but slightly bent over. He moved slowly, methodically. He didn't look up - just at the concrete in front of him. He always wore an orange safety vest over his coat. He did not give me the impression of being too....well, friendly. I never saw a smile or a pat on a soft head below him (well - he WAS tall, and the dogs WERE short - so it WOULD HAVE BEEN a long way down for a pat, I guess.) Still - I just wasn't sure about him.
My attention soon turned to the dogs - two of them - almost identical - long-haired red and white basset hounds. They trotted quietly at the man's side, just slightly behind him, next to one another. They, too, seemed intent on the business of the walk at hand. Their squat, wrinkled legs were in sync with each other, and their eyes were fixed on the concrete ahead. But - for me they seemed to radiate happiness and contentment. Long pink tongues dangled from mouths that I swear seemed slightly upturned into doggy smiles. It was their gait won me over in the end - they.... Bounced, they Bobbed, they Pranced. Their thick, elongated bodies shifted side to side as their little feet carried them forward. All three moved so slowly that I was able to get a good long look as I drove by. (I began to intentionally slow down, however, to savor the moment).
And I noticed - even as recently as today - that an involuntary smile always spreads across my face when I meet up with this trio. I am overcome with pure delight - all other thoughts and emotions stop. On the days I miss seeing them, I am let down. (They disappeared for several weeks at one point, and I feared the worst - for either the dogs or the man). Eventually they returned, however - ambling along, intent on their purpose. I no longer think the man unfriendly - though I still have not seen a smile. How could these two beacons of happiness belong to anyone unkind or contrary?!
I have often felt compelled to pull over and tell the man just how happy his bassets make me - but have not yet mustered the courage. But I AM grateful for this simple pleasure that marks my mornings.
Quote of the day: I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner