Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Story About Me


This Thanksgiving we are pawticipating in the "Story About Me" that Minna Krebs is hosting. 

We are three basset hounds that live in Illinois with our Mom and Dad.  We have a 2-legged brother that lives in town but in a different house.  We will be sharing two stories with you today.  The first one being Cleo a 5 year old female that was adopted, rescued and rescued us.  The second one will be about Amiee a 2 year old female that was adopted, rescued at 8 weeks.  Both Cleo and Amiee were adopted from our local shelter in town Humane Society of Central Illinois.  We also have Winston a 3 year old male that we purchased from a breeder in Missouri when he was 4 months old.  His story will not appear in this post but will blog about him in his own post.  He is very unique basset and has so many special talents.

The Story About Me - Cleo
Gotcha Day - February 18, 2006

Cleo’s story begins when she was dropped off at 9 months old at the local shelter.  She was adopted very quickly but the people that adopted her were not really basset savvy.  Next thing you know after 7 months she was found back at the shelter wondering what the heck went wrong.  This brought me into the picture because I had begun volunteering at the shelter after losing my 1st basset after 12 years.  When I first heard Cleo she was hidden behind a curtain in a lonely kennel in the back room of the shelter.  Only staff members were allowed behind the curtain, no volunteers.   

I had been there for a few months and was doing great with not taking one home yet, still looking for the perfect one that needed a loving home.  Well in mid-January while volunteering with the dogs, I seen a staff lady headed out the side door with a basset.  About face and out the side door and tried to tackle the lady with the basset.  I immediately asked her name, age, etc.  When she said “Cleo” my heart melted, then I asked why she was in the back behind the dreaded curtain.  She informed me that Cleo has been returned several times and was waiting to go to basset rescue.  I was like, okay, that is cool.  But in the back of my head I am going, I have always wanted a basset and one named Cleo to fit with the old story I use to read about Cleo the Movie Star.  So I was bummed, didn’t tell my husband.  Then with 2 weeks, I was volunteering and seen Cleo again back with them.  Immediately off to the office I went and asked about her.  I was told to speak to so and so.  So I came back in when they were available and I was told that she was probably going to have to be euthanized, I was like WHAT or WTF?  They informed me that she had severe aggression to toys, food, basically anything she got and didn’t want you to have.  She supposedly didn’t like kids and had snapped; bit her foster family while in Basset Rescue.  Basset Rescue returned her to the Humane Society as a hopeless cause due to her aggression.

I begged and pleaded with them to let me go back and see her and spend some time with her.   And that I was pretty sure I wanted to adopt her to save her from what they had planned for her.  I was pretty much told that it was going to take an act of God to allow me to adopt her with her “issues”.  I told them that I really had never seen a basset with aggression and really found it hard to believe and wanted to try.  Have to be honest here, cried, begged pleaded.  Finally, the head adoption lady said that I could try.  But, I had to sign an agreement that if she snapped, bit anyone she must come back to them and be euthanized.  Okay we can handle that (well maybe not).   So my husband comes to see her, still behind the dreaded curtain.  By this time, I have explained her issues and the agreement.  She took to him right away, and he took to her right away.  We played, snuggled and then had to place her back in the pen.  This is when she would supposedly attack you as well.  No issues, we placed her in there talked and told her we would need to bring Elliott and Tabby in to see you.  We would be back tomorrow.  The next day took Elliott and Tabby to meet her.  Which I knew it was not going to be good with Tabby, she was always so scared when you took her to anything out in public.  We went to an outside pen and had them on leash.  Cleo came in tail held high, wondered around and sniffed them, they both could give a flying hoot about her.  Which I knew it would be like, just because they have never been exposed to something like that.  The adoption lady said we could go ahead and try it.  But remember the agreement!  Oh, yes, Oh yes that nasty agreement.  I told Cleo one more day and she would be going home for good.  So off we went with the other two and we prepared ourselves for trying to figure out a Basset with “Issues”.  Actually, I just kind of tucked that in the back of my head, like it would not be an issue.  It was just an un-experienced basset hound owner that failed her.

So the next day a "Tuesday", I went to the pet store and purchased a new bed and a few toys for her to call her own.  Then I went to pick her up at the shelter around lunch time.  I had already planned to take the reminder of the week off just to be home to help her adjust and make sure she would not experience any of her "issues" in my absence and attack the other dogs.  When we got home my husband and son greeted us at the door with the other two and before even bringing her in the house we went for a nice long walk with all three of them.  We came back walked in the back yard/gate and took Tabby and Elliott off leash and left Cleo's leash on her.  They had told us to make sure that we monitored her at all times and not let her have free range of the house.  Well everything is going good, no issues and I look around and cannot find Cleo anywhere.  Where could this short-legged little hound have gone in the one second I looked away?  So off I went to search the house and find Cleo rolling around the bed just happy as could be.  So much for monitoring and controlling her activities as you wondered through the house.

I would like to say that once Cleo got home and settled in, we never seen that side of her.  But that was not to be the case.  We began to see that Cleo definitely was beginning to get territorial with some areas of the house and if poor Tabby would look at her wrong Cleo would go into attack mode.  Cleo also had begun to show us the signs of severe aggression when she would get something she did not want you to have.  Say the toad in the backyard that was a fixation for 8 hours her first week home.  We began to call these her “Out of Body Experiences” because we really had no idea where she would go during this time.  Her eyes would glass over, you could not get with 10 feet of her, it was like she had her wires crossed really bad upstairs.  There was no approaching her or taking away that one item she wanted.  Well by the second week she definitely was trying to show us her true colors and I began to realize that she did have “severe aggression” which I had never seen before especially in a basset hound.  We were really beginning to wonder what the heck we had done to our family with adopting her.  But there was no giving up on her, because if she went back to the shelter she would be euthanized for sure.  Remember we signed those papers, so taking her back really wasn’t an option for me and I could not phatham the word “Failure” in my eyes for her or for me.

I began to read all of the Dog Whispers books and really felt that we were beginning to get one of those “RED ZONE” dogs that he referred to.  Exercise is one thing he highly recommends so this is where we began with her.  She would get 4-5 walks a day which would wear her out and she was not so apt to strike at a moment’s notice.  I also began to see signs early on when she would be ready to attack one of the other dogs.  She would begin to puff up a like a little “Puff Toad” and I could see it coming and distract her with something else.  We also set for 2 hours one night while I tried to convince her to give up on chewing up Dads new boots.  I held on to it and she held on to it but after 2 hours she finally gave in and walked away.  I believe this was the beginning of our turning around point with her.  I will say it was a very long 6 months at the beginning and boy it sure tried my patients.

It has been four years since the day that we brought Cleo home to our family.  She has grown in so many ways and you would never guess she had the “issues” that plagued her at the beginning. It has been well over a year since her last “Out of Body Experience” and she runs and plays with her Basset Brother and Sister.  Sometimes when they are playing Cleo sounds like she is being really mean but it is just her way of interacting.  Tabby and she bonded after losing Elliot and then we brought Winston home and her world just seemed to open up.  Amiee joined our family Tabby went to the RB, but these three hounds (Cleo, Winston and Amiee) could not have bonded any better.   

Cleo is actually the reason that I became so involved with Basset Rescue.  The Basset Rescue we are involved with is the ones that gave her back to the shelter and said she was hopeless.  So to be able to take Cleo to their events and show them that she just needed the right person to show her the way brings so much joy to my heart.  They are truly amazed at the progress she made and so glad her outcome became a positive one.

It is so hard to believe that it has been four years since we brought her into our family.  It was trying times at first, but to know that she is so happy and has won the battle and will never leave her fur-ever home.  To think that when I first meet her at 18 months old, she already had a death sentence assigned to her and been in five different homes.   She is know safe, a happy, healthy, well adjusted basset girl.

The Story About Me - Amiee
Gotcha Day - September 28, 2008

Amiee’s  story starts out with her and her four siblings being given to the local shelter at 5 weeks old.  She was very lucky that the shelter has a person that foster’s almost all the puppies that are brought in.  Amiee and her siblings spent 3 weeks with her before I received notice of a litter of basset puppies had arrived.

We actually were not in the market for another addition; we had even been to the waddle the weekend before and didn’t come home with one.  Just remember, never allow your best friend to send you pictures of a liter of basset puppies no matter what.  My BFF (Best Friend Forever) sent me a picture of the liter and titled it “Can you smell them”.  I immediately fell in love with the one that had the black face but also thought the little boy was pretty handsome.  But heck, what am I even looking for we were not in the market for a new addition.

Well the picture went home at lunch so the hubby could check them out.  He is like it can’t hurt to go look at them, can it.  I am like there is no going and just looking for me at a liter of basset puppies.  We either makes the decision we are adding an addition before we go see them or we don’t see go see them.  Well we went to see them; of course, I had all the necessary paperwork completed before I got there, just in case.

We were placed in a room with a five basset puppies.  I was pretty parcel to the little male, but this little black faced female kept coming over to hubby and sitting between his boots and kept looking up at him.  Needless, to say she sold herself and the next step was to bring Cleo and Winston to meet her.  They were nice enough to not make me bring Tabby in for her meet and greet.  Tabby just didn’t do well in those types of situations and would get major stressed.  So we went home and loaded them in the car and we went to the outside pens with them and then they brought her out.  They immediately came up to her and sniffed her; they ran and played like they had been together forever.

Well normally, you have to wait like a day or so after you complete paperwork so they can validate all your information (vet references, etc.).  I asked when I could come pick her back up and they are like we have already contacted your vet and you can take her home TODAY.   Once home with them we got Tabby on a leash and again we took them all for a walk to familiar themselves with each other.

It has been just two years since we brought Amiee home with us and oh my.  The joy that this sweet little girl brought to our home has been unstoppable.  She just seemed to be the glue that sealed the seams on the hound pack.  Amiee and Winston was an instant bond, she tormented Tabby with bite face, and seemed to even bring Cleo out of her shell more.  Tabby has since gone to the RB, so Cleo has become the one that receives the bite face attacks and to see her put up with this is amazing.  Amiee is so happy and is a talker and has a special pee-dance and song she does when she has to potty outside.

Amiee, you are a special girl and we are so glad that you joined our hound family.

We hope you enjoyed our “Stories About Me” on this Thanksgiving Day.  We hope each and everyone of you have a very Blessed Thanskgiving. 

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too. What wonderful stories.

    pawhugx, Max

  2. Those are wonderful stories. I wouldn't want to cross your mom. She held on to that boot for two hours? Man, she is one tough customer.

    I get that bad look on my face sometimes too when I am about to AR AR AR at something but we are working on it so that momma can distract me and break the trance.

    Happy Thanksgiving to your entire pack.


  3. What wonderful Gotcha Day stories!!! Thanks for sharing!



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