My History with Hounds

My heart goes out to my Facebook friends caught up in the tornado watches and extreme weather. One FB friend lives in Moore.  I’m happy to report her house and hounds are all safe.  So is she.  But it’s especially hard for me to watch the images on TV of injured people and animals coming out of the wreckage.

couch potatoBack in 2006 I lost my home and virtually all my possessions to a natural disaster. I kept a blog about my journey (since taken down), and someday I’ll share those posts again.  Just not now.  Strangely, reading all the tornado-related FB posts and comments doesn’t make me think of that time in my life. Instead, my thoughts were on the pets of those affected by the tornado.  And then I  started thinking about my pets, and my history with hounds.

So, I thought I’d share a bit about myself and my dogs.

My parents raised Chows.  Aloof protectors, I loved our dogs, but never felt that greater connection to a dog until I met Max.  Max, a Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull cross, technically belonged to the neighbors, but for several years he spent 40+ hours a week at our place.  I was devastated when he passed away on May 5th of 2008.  (We’d just moved back in months earlier.)

Upon reflection, I think I may have rushed into my next dog, Frankie.  I adopted her on June 16th of that same year.  I’d always loved Bloodhounds, read up on the breed, and was absolutely certain I knew what I was getting into with a hound.

Ummm, no.  No one is ever prepared for their first Bloodhound.

regal hound At that time, all I knew was that I wanted the opposite personality of Max, because no dog could ever replace him, and I didn’t want to be reminded of traits I missed so much.

Boy-oh-boy did I ever adopt the total opposite personality!

Max: loyal, prey-driven, obedient to a fault, learned commands quickly. Almost never on leash, even out in the brush where I couldn’t see him. Yet I’d call and he’d be bounding through the underbrush to return immediately.

Frankie: Where’s my dinner?

Frankie is my first Bloodhound.  In my childhood, my Bloodhound was a stuffed toy I cherished. Sometimes I call Frankie my “starter hound”… because eventually I’ll adopt another.  She’s a smallish 85-pound hound with a busted tail.  The tail didn’t happen on my watch. I adopted her at 2 (?) years old, and 65 pounds, from a Lab rescue where she and the other dogs were fed once a day.  These folks did the best they could and I am grateful.

Frankie came with a lot of issues, which is why she is a one-and-only hound. Her biggest issue is, of course, food!  If you’re a Bloodhound person reading this you’re probably laughing your head off thinking, what hound doesn’t have food issues?  (*SIGH* You’re right!)

Anyway, she FREAKS OUT on other dogs who happen to be around food.  Any food. Otherwise she plays well, just as long as treats aren’t involved.  This limits socialization, but not group walks or training.

On training: she’s stubborn.  I’ve tried obedience.  The entire class cracked up with laughter as Frankie became more and more determined to not do anything I asked her.  For example, it took three of us, me the trainer and the trainer’s assistant to get her to lay down.  Me pushing her shoulders down and the other two easing her front paws forward.  Frankie tensed her entire body, like a steel tripod, refusing to cooperate.

And yet…

At home, relaxed, she’s pretty good with commands. Right up until she decides not to do something.  I’ll give her a command (“sit!”) and she’ll crane her head up, bat those beautiful eyes, and ignore me.  It’s like she’s saying, I know exactly what you’re asking me to do and I’m not doing it.

I might even get a little tail wag with that “no.” So there!

She’s a gentle girl who worships, and fears, cats. She’ll get spooked by litter floating in the breeze, but she’s fine around gunshots. She’s always on leash except when she’s in a fenced area or inside.  Her brain seems to be 98% in her nose. Doorbells drive her bananas. And sometimes, when I look in those gorgeous brown eyes of her, I’d swear she is my grandmother reincarnated.

Maybe that sounds a little kooky and I shouldn’t have shared that here, but what the heck. I really do think she is my mom’s mom returned.

So I’ll end this post on a question: do you think our loved ones can reincarnate as our pets?

The Wisdom of the Buddhist Bloodhound
This book is a humorous introduction to the basics of Buddhism according to Frankie the Bloodhound – debut author, kitty enthusiast, and seeker of higher thought. She has compressed thousands of years of spirituality into 39 nuggets of wisdom in this unique canine interpretation of enlightenment that will delight dog lovers as well as readers on the trail to greater awareness.
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10 thoughts on “My History with Hounds

  1. Maggie Jaimeson

    I don’t know if I believe in reincarnation or if people can come back as animals. Put I’m open to the possibility. 🙂 My great aunt, who is now 98 years old, has had a dog in her life for the past 45 years since her mother died. She swears that each dog is her mother reincarnated. When the dog passes she finds another one which has her mother’s soul. So, who is to know?

    I want to give a shoutout to your book, The Buddhist Bloodhound.. I absolutely LOVED it. Great pics and the nuggets of wisdom were priceless.

  2. Moggie

    Jamie, Good grief! I thought I was the only one who thought about animals and rencarnation. Well my mother passed away in my house, she lived over an hour away, so we called the funeral director from her home town to come. My Mother was only with us for three days, she died without pain, with the Hospice help. We have a lovely calico cat that keep her distance from my mother but watched her from afar. They took my mother and they left, I was beside myself with grief. A half hour later the hearse returned , I thought OH My God they took Mom away and she wasn’t dead! Up the stairs the funeral director came with my cat who had stolen away in the hearse when no one was looking. Later that day the cat was looking at me and I swear she had my mother’s brown eyes, which is crazy I know, because she have very lovely green eyes. At the time I thought it’s just grief, but who knows? Stranger things have happened to people. At my Mother’s wake, the funeral director came up to me and said in my ear, ” I tell you your cat scared the wit’s out of me, in the car, I hear noises in the back of the hearse, and thought you are just imaging the sounds! But still pulled over on the highway, just to make sure. I don’t think I could have gone a whole hour listening to the noises in the back! Poor man, after laying my Mother to rest beside my Dad and two brothers ,he said very quitely, Good bye ! But I’ll be seeing you again. With a lovely grin! I said , I don’t think so! Mary Paquette

    1. Mary, this is such an interesting story with the cat in the hearse. It reminds me of a hearse story a friend told me a couple years ago when her father passed away… strange things do happen. And when they do, it seems those of us who sit up and take notice are somehow more fortunate than the people who dismiss these occurances. THANK YOU FOR SHARING this story. It’s wonderful and brought tears to my eyes.

  3. I’ve never given reincarnation WRT pets much thought until this post. but I do know that they made a huge difference in my life. I had a few pets when I was a child, and then when I was on my own after college I got my first dog, Rush. I loved Rush so very much. and then I got her twin, Roulette. Both spoiled dogs who went everywhere with me. Very badly behaved at that. But there is something to be said for dogs that curl up around you while you sleep, can’t wait to see you when you get home, love you regardless. They filled a void in my life after college and into the period of time I had my first child (later in life). At one point, pre-kids, we had four dogs, four cats, two birds (African grey and conure), and two salt water fishtanks all at the same time. They helped me through the years before I had kids. Now we only have one cat, and cats just aren’t the same. I want a dog, but circumstances make that difficult but perhaps soon. I want a dog that is mine again, that sleeps with me, follows me around, sleeps in my lap while I write. The unconditional love is so important.

  4. Janna, I’m so sorry to hear you lost your dog. I know what you mean by not getting over losing him. I never really got over Max. Still keep his picture beside my bed. Someday you will know the time is right to adopt another dog… but it’s okay to not have a dog, too. What ultimately tipped the scales for me was some sort of odd internal NEED to have a dog sleeping at my feet as I wrote. Thank you for your thoughtful, heartfelt comment!

  5. Oh, Jamie! What a great post – thank you for the laughs. I could totally picture you trying to train her – LOL! And, actually, if she’s your reincarnated grandmother, her behavior might make sense. Did you listen to every word and obey every “command” she’d given you? Just a thought! 😉

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