The magnificent Miss Millie... and Andrea's lower leg.
I have a huge affection for basset hounds.
I have had 5;
Christopher, Sadie, Sam, Poppy and Robbie.
Three were tricolor and two were red and white.
I love that they have no legs or ankles to speak of...
only knees and feet.
I was surprised this morning when Andrea called
to tell me that she had ended up in the hospital
She was home now, unable to do much...
would I come over and visit?
After lunch with Mom and Dad...
and putting the man to bed...
off I went.
Roxy watched sadly from her window as I left.
I swear she knows when I am going away to "cheat" on her.
I wish she could be trusted with other dogs.
I would not risk traumatizing Millie with a meeting of the two.
When I arrive, Andrea is in back.
Millie trots to the front door...
which is glass
and tells me to get myself inside and pet her.
Propriety begs that I wait for human invitation.
Millie licks her chops and puts on a
(One side of her lip tucked up under a tooth...
giving her a har-rumph! face.)
When Andrea waves me inside...
Millie puts her front legs on my thighs.
She wiggles so hard that she knocks herself off
as I reach to pat her head.
I bend lower to ruffle her ears...
and her "mad" melts away forgotten.
Millie follows me closely as I follow her mom.
She is busy sniffing Roxy scent below my knees.
We go through the tiny but very cute small house...
through the kitchen, the porch
and into the laundry area.
Millie cuts in front of me here...
forcing me to pull up short to keep from falling on her.
I am very careful about a basset's back.
Robbie died too young
because his old owner stopped by to visit him
and pounded too hard on his back...
which caused a break in his spine...
and the rear part of his body ceased to function.
He died with deep pain in his eyes.
I have never seen a sadder face.
I could never forgive myself if I caused such an injury to Millie,
who closely resembles Robbie's markings and color.
Instead I ungracefully slam my head into a glass door.
the door popped open rather than break...
and I tripped my way down the back steps,
grabbing onto Andrea for support.
Millie who had left via her doggie door
looks at me and wags her tail...
then trots down her ramp to lay on her piece of carpet
next to the umbrella table in the shade.
I swear she was smiling.
I follow Andrea around her garden.
She has a plastic tub in her hand and is picking strawberries
for us to snack on.
As she's picking them,
I'm thinking that they are not "done"...
that they will be too tart.
I admire the rest of her garden fare
as she washes our treat.
When I put a strawberry in my mouth...
Their flavor is so juicy and so sweet.
Used to store bought,
I have forgotten how fresh from the vine berries taste.
I flick the leafy berry top at Millie.
She lifts her head and give it a sniff...
then looks at me.
Her eyes say that I am being ridiculous.
Bassets do not eat strawberry tops.
Millie leaves her rug and waddles nearer to me.
She rolls over onto her back
half in the shade and half out...
her bottom half, belly up, legs splayed, is sunning.
The warmth feels good and she gives me a goofy smile.
If only my camera hadn't been left inside.
I could go get it,
but prime basset moments don't last once you get to your feet.
She would follow me out of curiosity,
the moment gone.
When we talk she follows our faces like a tennis match.
Back and forth.
She scoots toward me so that she can lick my toe.
When we laugh,
she pretends not to know what we are laughing at.
For a time her head lays on my foot...
anchoring me to the spot.
Millie is no longer young.
She is content to be part of a chatty threesome.
Our silent partner.
Her eyes are sharp and expressive.
Then the lazy sets in and she lays back to let them close.
When it is time for me to leave...
Millie leads the way...
then cuts me off at the door again
but this time I am prepared and keep my feet.
When we reach the front door she sits.
She sits so that it can't open into the house.
I have to bend down and ruffle those soft ears again.
Millie's tail wags with much less enthusiasm.
She knows that this means that I am going home.
I promise to come back.
She steps aside.
Usually when I leave Millie I entertain ideas of having another basset.
This drive home is kind of sad.
Remembering Robbie's last days still haunts me.
Those pain filled eyes.
Then I am home.
Roxy is waiting in her window.
By the time I get the lock to open
she is at the door dancing in place.
Bassets do not dance in place often.
As the door pushes into the room...Roxy begins to fly...
around and around she races...
big jaws open in joy.
She hits the foyer carpet and sends it sliding.
"Roxy. You are a dork."
I tell her.
She sees me heading for the family room and races ahead.
My bassets rarely raced after puppy hood passed.
She assumes her place next to my rocker,
stands waiting for me to sit first...
then lays her head in my lap after a brief sniffing over.
Her eyes tell me that she is glad that I am home
as they roll shut with the touch of my fingers.
Its her way of telling me that it is alright that I cheated on her.
I came home and now all is right in her world.