I’ll Take a Hound Dog Any Day

DSC_7920I love hound dogs. Always have. I think I like them so much because they’re such dogs. They chase rabbits. They follow scents. They’re the kind of dogs that love mud and woods and food. Galina is still puppy enough to chew everything she encounters, but she’s got the hound habits in spades. My daughter says she’s a “cartoon dog” because she does all the classic things dogs do in the funny papers.

Hounds aren’t yappy, but when they do bark – it’s LOUD. That sweet, long bay is music to my ears. Galina’s bays are few and far between, which is probably a good thing. When I was younger I often fox hunted and it was exciting to follow the hounds on horseback. Their steady yips meant they were on the trail and we chased after them over fences and through the woods. But what I loved the most was the sound they made when the fox “went to ground” (went in his hole). The chorus of bays was eerie and at the same time gorgeous.

Hounds do seem to have endless energy, but on the flipside, most hound dogs also love to lounge in the sunshine. Think Rosco P Coltrane and his dog “Flash” on the Dukes of Hazzard. They can sleep for hours and when they wake up they can run for hours.

Hounds are not complicated. There is something so completely honest about a hound dog. And they’re smart. Okay, not poodle-smart, not let me show-you-my-tricks smart or let-me-sneak-the-bag-of-cat-food-I-just-pulled-out-of-the-cabinet-and-eat-it-behind-the-sofa smart. They’re smart enough to know basic expectations. Here’s the food. Time to eat. Here’s the door. Time to run. Here’s the sun spot on the carpet or the porch. Time to sleep.

They don’t waste time or effort on much, but they will put all of their effort and time towards a goal like chasing the rabbit or treeing the squirrel. In fact, most hound dogs will walk right by a cat. Why mess with that attitude? And they generally don’t care too much about chickens or horses or anything with hooves. But a field of starlings? A fat ground hog waddling across the pasture? A raccoon? (and sadly, a skunk?) They are all-in.IMG_2818

And then there’s the simple fact that hound dogs are beautiful. Sure, I know that’s relative. But I love their colors – brown, black, white, sometimes a little gray. Many times that have black edges and most of them have a few freckles. Gorgeous. And the floppy ears – who is not a sucker for floppy ears?

Now that the snow has finally melted, taking Galina out for bathroom breaks takes a little longer. There are just too many great smells to investigate and she is easily sidetracked from our original purpose. And then there’s the birds – they torment her. She’ll stand on two legs and study the sky, looking very much like a prairie dog, whenever the starlings pass over or the cardinals get into a scuffle.

Here’s a quick video of her struggling to find scents to follow in the snow. She was much easier to walk when there was snow on the ground. Now with the snow gone, we’re spending a lot more time waiting for her to take care of business.

At night or early in the morning when I take her out, it’s quiet outside and I listen to her steady sniff-sniff-sniff. I know when she’s found a good one because the sniff changes to something more snuffly-sounding and gets very intense. That’s when the leash will begin to pull and I dig in and get a little bicep workout until she decides to let it pass.

When we’re out for a walk, she powers along, nose to the ground, forcing me to up my speed. We’re walking 14 minute miles now, which is almost a jog. This little girl will be a great personal trainer for her forever family.

Yes, it’s a hound dog for me. Almost any kind will do, although Bassett hounds seem a little too sad sack for me. My dream dog is a big Treeing Walker Coonhound. In the meantime, I’m happy with my little pint-sized foster puppy of the moment. She is a BIG hound in a little hound body.IMG_0491

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

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