Life with Bloodhounds

Life with Bloodhounds

You know that feeling when someone’s watching you?

I know it all too well…

I woke up to ten eyeballs burning holes through my head.

Feeeeeeeed ussss. Feeeeeeeeeeeeed us.

“Oh, you guys,” I mumbled glancing at the clock. Well, it is almost 6:45… “Okay, I’m up, I’m up.”

Five bloodsters started jumping and wrestling each other on their way to the sliding door. I fumbled for my slippers, still half-blind, feeling like a mole rudely pulled from its hole.

“Hmmm…there’s only one, I wonder where the other slipper could possibly be,” I mumbled with as much sarcasm as I could manage.

Rounding the footboard, an unexpected-something caught the rubber sole of my solo slipper and it folded the dang shoe in half, buckling me forward. It was one of the dog beds that was pulled waaaaay out of its normal place and left directly in the walkway. “What the heck?!” I grumbled, catching myself on the wall with my left arm. I pushed the dog bed across the way and noticed a sad-looking slipper that used to match the one on my foot.

“Grrrreat, it’s way over here. What the hell happened to it?” I stooped to pick it up and Carmel and her fully-automatic-tongue blasted my face several times.  “Stop! Car—bleh! Carmel!” Wiping my slobbered eye and lips, I grabbed the shoe and pulled it on… Ice-cold. Not just ice-cold, but soaking wet, obviously having been mangled by one of the pirate scoundrels. They all jumped and flopped all around me, even divebombing at the shoe while I leaned against the wall trying to situate it on my foot.

“You guys! Give me a second to become human!” I sighed. Typical day so far.

Upon reaching the door, five psycho voices start screeching and bellerin’ in anticipation, and the moment there was an opening just barely-but-not-quite large enough, they piled out over top of one another, full-on stampede…howling and full of racket… I bet the neighbors looooove me…

Across the deck, down the stairs, and to the yard they went, like a security breech occurred at the looney bin. Turning back around, I looked at the remaining two hounds, one of which was sprawled on her back, taking up the majority of my king-size bed. The other, Scarlett, sat as usual, waiting to go downstairs to the kitchen.

“You’re not gonna go outside?” I asked.

She looked from my eyes toward the hallway.

“Okay,” I shook my head and left sleeping beauty Scully to her snoring to follow Scar as she bolted down the hallway and down the stairs. It was only seconds before I heard the sound of some piece of Tupperware being abused. “You rotten toad!” I hollered, though the rummaging sounds didn’t stop, not even for a moment.

I grabbed a pair of sweatpants on my way past the laundry room, pulled them on over my shorts and headed outside into the morning. Brrrrrr. It was barely thirty-degrees. The chew-toy-slipper seemed to freeze immediately and it sent a shiver up my spine. Undaunted by the cold, the five wildcards out romping saw me. Oh, crap, here they come…

And I mean they came hauling-butt as fast as their big ol’ legs could carry them. I hurried to grab up their water dishes before the linebackers made contact. But, being a good exercise in futility, they arrived too soon, all squealing and yelling at me with big, round echoing howls and knocked the bowls out of my hands, not once, but twice.

Surely you want to play, mom!!! Come on, come on, come on….

 I mean how could I not? The fact that I could barely see straight couldn’t be a reason.

Doss, unable to control himself, jumped up on me, hugging me around the waist with his gigantic legs. I tried to push him down with my one free hand, but not nearly caffeinated enough for dancing, I floundered. To make matters worse, he managed to step his back foot on my soggy, disfigured slipper and pulled it right off my foot.

“Doss!!! NO!!!” I barked, staggering and hopping a bit to keep my barefoot off the frosty ground as much as possible. Impossible.  “Where the heck is my dang shoe?! Get DOWN!”

He jumped up a little higher and then all hundred-fifteen pounds of his big-puppy-self slid down to the ground, pulling my sweatpants right down to the ground with him. There I was, one-shoe and no-pants in the flippin’ cold morning air.

“DOSSSSS!!!! NOOOOO!!!!” I dropped the water dishes again and yelled in a slightly-demonic sounding voice, grabbing for my pants. I glanced quickly around to see if any of the neighbors were in sightline to see the freakshow and then, cussing under my breath, adjusted my sweats and bent to put the frozen nasty slipper back on my foot.

It was then that I realized the dogs were covered in mud… which in turn, meant that I was also smeared with Doss prints and chunks of whatever they were into.

“You guys really suck sometimes,” I mumbled.

I managed to get through the feeding routine and then get myself dressed without too many more incidents. After that, I loaded up four of the working dogs to go mantrailing.

Now, let me say that there is not much cooler than being behind a dog working a week-old trail, or trailing a subject who’s driven off in a vehicle. It’s purely awesome. And when the hounds are working, they are absolutely-intense, serious, and focused… nothing like the psychotic clown act they are the rest of the time. So, after a great training day, I headed home, feeling like a 12, just top of the world.

I was still smiling after showering and changing, and even still when I strode out across the yard, hands in my pockets, pondering how well the dogs all worked… I was so proud of all of them, and beyond the moment’s joy, I had not a care in the world…

….and BAM!!!!

I was airborne.

My mind blanked, totally stunned for a nanosecond, short-circuited by the shock and awe that my feet were level with my head in the new horizontal flight pattern I found myself in. I was looking at the sky—pure blue—and then…

SLAMMMM!!! I hit the ground on my upper back and shoulders with a thud that knocked my air out.

The hounds had hit me right in the back of the legs and, not slowed by the impact whatsoever, were off in the distance beyond, still running full-speed, gnawing on each other, from the sounds I could hear.

“Ohhh gawwww rrrrrddddd,” I groaned. “Youuuuu jerrrrrrks,” I managed to mumble as I sat up. And then…


From behind me, the others came crashing up and over, one standing on my thighs; another on my shoulders, wagging their whole bodies and licking my face as I fought them off. They were overjoyed. Absolutely ecstatic that I had leaped through the air in such a grand spectacle and then took to rolling around on the ground…

Do it again, do it again! That was soooooooo cool!” I swear they were saying, jumping all over me.

“You guuyyyySSSSSSS NNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” I yelled in the almost-needing-an-exorcist voice again.

I staggered to my feet, pondering how we went from hero-to-zero so fast… Just an hour prior, we were looking like this slick, badass team… Efficient, effective working dogs. Responsive, ready…a well-oiled machine…

I shook my head, again looking around to see if any of the neighbors were in position to see the embarrassing scene… I really need to plant a very tall row of trees over there…

That’s when I looked up, and low and behold, there was Kenda staring me down. She had her hair prickled up on her shoulders with excitement. Under her droopy eyelids I could see eyes all alight with the thrill of it… And there, in her mouth, was a big rotten dead bird carcass. She shook her head as if taunting me and then started chomping away. That I’m-so-busted-but-I-want-you-to-know-cause-it’s-part-of-the-game face was just beaming at me.

“Kenda, OUT! Leave it!” I commanded her. “Give me that nasty thing! Drop it!!!”

I walked carefully to her, and she waited, chomping just every other step I took and shaking the carcass just a tiny bit each time. She was so on-edge, I could see her muscles flinching...

She waited for me to get sooooooo close and just as I was about to grab her, she bolted. And I mean she ran off as fast as she could, butt-tucked low, hair up all along her back with the evil delight of it all…


I was running. Limping slightly from my meeting with the gravel. We were darting, stopping, starting, trying to out-wit each other… She kept letting me get just close enough and then, zip, off again out of reach.

It wasn’t a moment or two before all the rest of the pack started in the chase. Demery grabbed at one flopping-flying wing and a bunch of feathers came out in her mouth.


At this point the neighbors must have been calling in a priest…

Now, not all days go like that one. In fact, most days are quite decent comparatively. But, to anyone considering bloodhound ownership, I will say this:

Bloodhounds are capable of antics that will challenge every part of your character. They will make you laugh like nothing on earth can. They will make you want to blow a cork sometimes. They can be thick-headed brutes who will bowling-pin your unlucky a** if you happen to be in the way during a game of high-speed tackle-chase. Though they can be selectively deaf, these dogs have incredible intelligence that is so misunderstood. Even in the fact that they can follow a tiny trace of human odor for miles and miles and miles in a world full of innumerable odors—how great are they made?! How amazing a breed?! And one of the greatest things about them is exemplified in the end of the story that I’ll share:

After all that crazy…all the crashing and bungling foolery… that evening, I sat down on the couch—exhausted—and seven bloodhounds all came cuddling-in around me. Each of them crowding for position closest, even piling on top of each other to be with me. Once they all settled, I surveyed the scene:

Crammed in around me, seven beloved friends were doing their best to snuggle, each of them doing whatever they had to do to be touching me—Scarlett had her head on my lap, Scully her nose on my knee, Doss had both front paws over my shins, Lavena kept her head on my shoulder, Carmel managed both legs stretched way out to touch my arm, Demery was on my feet, and Kenda came piling up over every bit of my legs that weren’t already taken. I don’t remember what show was on tv, I just remember the snoring and the warmth, and the feeling of being blessed more that I could ever express.

See, the thing about bloodhounds is that they live every moment full-on and out-loud, nothing held back. They work with everything they have to give to the task, just the same, they play with every ounce of energy in them. In all that they do, good and bad—sometimes very bad—they are truly all-in. And best of all, they love gigantically; so big, and so bold, and so very purely…the way that any human could only ever aspire to.


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