Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Benefits of Duct Tape


There are view things in life that cannot be fixed with cable ties, duct tape, bandages or Easter eggs.

Butter tore a nail today in such a way that the look of it made me feel faint. It stuck into the air and seemed to be enmeshed in mangled flesh. It was lunchtime and our vet would only be back at 16h00. I took the necessary measures. Anti-inflammatory painkiller, herbal sedative, something to chew on because it is a known stress reliever. Personally I had nothing.

At 16h30 I phoned to find out f the kid could be fetched and what was done to her. Turns out that anesthesia was necessary to remove the nail. At least the whole operation went well. To scare the "£$%% out of me I was shown the nail that was removed, now neatly sealed in a plastic bag. I told them that we have enough Bassets with healthy nails at home and that they could keep it or give it to someone in need of a nail.

As usual I added a new bowl, bag of food, cookies and whatever else I could justify onto the bill. The benefits of retail therapy are tremendous.

The kid looks terrible, as if she had a skiing accident. The bandages on her foot are so big that I stumble when I look at it. She was a little sleepy and confused but very happy when she was loaded into the BUV and allowed to sit on top of the newly acquired bag of food. Wagging tail. That's my Butter. I hugged her and told her what a good puppy she was. To hell with retail therapy, this is the stuff.

There were a couple of things that needed to be done before anyone could have supper. Butter could hardly walk with the mammoth boot stuck on her front paw so I had to improvise ramps everywhere I could.

A few pieces of scrap wood, cable ties and rubber car carpets are very useful items. Add duct tape to the mix and you'll think yourself an accomplished maker-fixer-of-things. 

This is how it works. You take the wood and saw it more or less in the desired lengths. I emphasize 'more or less' because I'm not sure if it should be done with a jigsaw and if so, how to make the thing run in straight lines. Then you tie it together with lots and lots of cable ties. If you run out of cable ties, you are stupid because you MUST always have loads of those around the house, even some in your car's cubbyhole. Then you stick holes in the rubber mats and tie it to the wooden structure with lots and lots of cable ties, unless you are stupid and have already run short of those (Note to self: buy bunches of cable ties). If you cannot find rubber mats, use the ones in your car. Your Bassets would not mind one little bit. To finish the project duct tape is used to cover every little gap that could cause a nail to get stuck and torn. Mind not to tape the ramp-thing to the surface you're working on, it's a bitch to get off.

After the very sturdy little ramp was assembled, the loose piece of wood in the entrance to the dog house had to be fixed. I tried to rip the thing off but one relentless screw hung on for dear life. Duct tape. Problem fixed. If it will not come off, tape it back onto its proper place. For good measure I put some more tape around the whole dog house and taped the roof of it. I used red tape all over so that the Bassets could see how serious I take their well being. (Note to self: buy more duct tape)

My job being done, I helped Butter up the longer of the two ramps and called the others into the house. Looked for the house keys which have gone missing. This is where Easter eggs are useful. You eat one when you are in despair or just plain fed up. If you do not feel better afterwards you should immediately eat another one.

I eventually found the keys still in the laundry room's door (which is way in the back of the yard). I yanked them out and my irritation induced march back to the house was abruptly halted by the new ramp sticking out the side of the dog house. (Note to self: be sure to buy luminescent duct tape) (Note to self: install the motion activated spotlights sitting on the shelf in the garage. At least you'll  be able to see why you got smacked by the ground)

The Bassets are now peacefully asleep after their supper. I've switched to whiskey because I'm running low on Easter eggs. Cannot risk it - crisis might strike at any time.

Tomorrow Butter's bandages can come off and hopefully Nougat would not think that Butter is trying to attack me with her big foot when she wobbles toward me.

Peace out. Human done for tonight.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Some nasty magic. Tricky rain. We've been waiting for a gap in the weather and the second it presented itself I made a dash for my shoes and hat. Quick-quick harnesses, gathered Mrs. Q's bottles for seawater and we rushhhhhhed outside into rain. Darn! The pent up energy finally turned poisonous when the two girls attacked each other over a chewed piece of carrot.

It is only a tooth-sized tiny hole on top of her nose, but it took some effort to stop the bleeding. It is one of those gashes that makes mothers faint and doctors go 'don't worry, it is not as bad as it looks, just a very veined area.' Whatever. I took my sedatives before I gave them theirs. Blood on the floor, the fridges, Butter and Horton my clothes and obviously Nougat. Mrs. Q cleaned the fridges and Bofa is busy cleaning everyone else.

If we weren't leaving later today you can be certain that I would have topped that sedative off with that last beer in the fridge.

Don't be alarmed, it is mostly Mercurochrome on that pink and liver brown puppy nose. It looks much worse in real life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some More Beach.

We caught a break in the rain and zipped down to the beach. Zipping down to the beach which is less than a kilometer from the house takes 20 minutes.

Shoes, locking doors, harnessing Bassets, convincing Bassets to get into the Basset Transport Vehicle and not run barking around it in circles, pushing Butter all the way into the vehicle, closing car doors, unlocking main gate, locking main gate, driving 900 meters, stop, unlock BTV doors, convince Butter to get out of the way so that everyone else can disembark, grabbing hold of leashes and locking doors while being dragged in all possible directions, subduing a whining-at-the-top-of-her-voice excited Nougat, following the narrow path down to the waterline while trying to co-ordinate everyone's rhythm including that of Mrs. Q's. Sometimes I miss the complications of fly-fishing and tangled nylon line. No fish has ever tried to drag me into the water, bushes or across the sand.

The entire exercise lasted an hour and a half.

This is what it looks like when you hang on to three boisterous and one tired Basset with one hand and aiming a camera at the whole circus. My face was not melting (yet), there was just a very wide angle lens on the camera.

Our Friend Christopher Cookson

Hope you'll be back home soon! Good luck with your operation today.

Missed Opportunity

I'm sitting at a table with a view of the sea, or what should be the sea. It is indistinguishable from the skyline. The rain started yesterday afternoon right after I've put on my shoes to go for our daily beach walk. The Hounds were frustrated and annoyed. There was much whining at the doors and eager looks in the direction of the leashes piled on a chair. The mood could not even be lightened by a cookie and lots of cuddles. Later on Butter had a short episode of head tremors.

Is this the secret to, shall I call it 'relocation stress'? I expected trouble much sooner. One missed walk and every hound in the house is stressed!

This morning I was awoken with eager faces, a little bit more eager than the morning 'open the door or clean the floor' faces. Still raining though. Butter and Horton got back into bed after the yard inspection and Nougat and Bofa went to entertain themselves by intently watching the slit underneath Mrs. Q's door just in case she was willing to take them for a rain soaked walk once she got out of bed.

And now? The after breakfast snooze. All calm.

Buttered Sea Bass(et)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I am so proud of all of us, the holiday troupe. Nougat, Bofa and Horton remained leashed as I walked them while Mrs. Q walked behind an unleashed Butter. Butter seemed to walk much better without a leash. I did not realize how much she still strains against the harness even when extremely tired. No one ran anywhere but all Bassets used their noses to explore like they should.

Some photos of very tired Bassets:

Butter down...
Butter out.
Bofa down...
Bofa out.
Nougat down.

Horton going down.

Friday, April 13, 2012

First Time Ever on the Beach

Jowls flapping, panting, racing along the waterline with fear widened eyes. That was me this morning when I tried to catch up with Nougat who took Bofa and Horton for a quick kilometer run (felt like it) as fast as possible away from the Human.

My body was going into shock because of the sheer and utter abuse of  such physical exertion after years of easy living. Somewhere in my head, maybe a message from the universe, a whining alarm went off that informed me that trying to catch a wayward Basset way ahead of me was utter foolishness and wishful thinking. A spark of inspiration hit me - probably because I was chugging along at such a slow speed that it could not miss me.

I stopped, bent down and started digging. I whistled, shouted 'Come LOOK' and made sure that I scooped the sand so rigorously that  it made dramatic arches through the air. I was going after an imaginary crab or whatever other thing might have been living under the sand. Nougat and Bofa were not phased. They gave me the 'don't care' Basset stare and turned to continue their escape. They were not interested in most things the Human considered very interesting, like blogging. Horton though was easily fooled. He came racing toward me to check this thing in the sand. It must have been his surprised cock of the head at nothing in the sand that made Nougat and Bofa think there was something in the sand. I could not get those leashes back on fast enough wen they finally reached me. My dream of seeing my pups running leashless came true in a nightmarish way. It might have been four escaping Bassets if Butter did not refuse to move because she was too tired. Beware the Wayward Basset.

The trouble really started when I opened the canopy door to let them out. Nougat had gotten rid of her harness and Horton was wearing his like sexy suspenders around his hips. Nougat can be as slippery as a slope when she wants to be. Try put a harness back on her when she has her mind set on exploration and try doing it while hanging onto one of Horton's feet to keep him from running. I cannot exactly remember how that worked, but it did. Luckily their Nanny, Mrs. Q, is with us on this vacation and she could hang on to Butter and Bofa who were still harnessed and leashed. The easy-off harnesses is of the kind that fits only over the shoulders and works very well while you're looking at the dog. When you're not, they take it off because you're not watching. Of this I'm certain. 

Because of all this action there are no photos of the off-leash run. The one below is Horton's reaction when he first saw the sea from our holiday home. He could not believe his eyes, which is exactly the way I felt when I saw the three of them taking off with no intention of returning anytime soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A sleeping Nougat.

Play Date

We had a play date this past Saturday. I was delighted to meet fellow Humans under the influence of Bassets and a very busy teenage Corgi.

My Hounds (my pack, not my property) did not spend much time on introductions and pleasantries. They promptly started marking territory in a garden where they were only guests, except for The Butter, who immediately looked for a spot where she could lie down and block access to an entrance. All that frenzy and assertiveness in her house must have been what unnerved little Basset Gabriella for the rest of the afternoon. Corgi Dristan tried to rectify the situation by telling everyone who the real top dog in the house was.

Basset Christopher is a Tibetan monk chanting a continuous silent mantra. Absolutely nothing could 
unsettle him in his meditations. Whenever I stroked his head there was a little cone of silence around 
the two of us.

My hooligan pack was invited onto the patio couch which made them think that it belonged to them. Bofa 
even claimed our Human hostess for a while by putting his head on her lap. I was a little jealous. Whenever I 
try it he thinks it is a joke and tries to flatten me while barking at me. He was naturally also the one who 
broke through the baby gate and went 
on a speed cruise of the house with Dristan in tow.

Butter was friendly and open to all until I started paying attention to the new kids. She resumed her usual role 
as my body guard and growled at Gabriella when Gabriella finally relaxed and tried to come and collect a 
cuddle. I did manage to stroke that puppy skin before having to withdraw in order to keep the peace. 
Horton tried to hypnotise our Human Hostess into giving him as much lovies as possible. He succeeded. 
She seemed to be under his influence for quite some time. 
The Nougat was alternately happy, grumpy and silent. I think my puppy’s skin still hurts. She was declared my
 most beautiful Basset though.

I expected a day of relentless frenzy and barking but the pack decided to chill out after a while and was 
silent for the most part, lying around, soaking up sun and attention.

When we left there was a moment’s chaos as everyone broke through the gate simultaneously and 
ran in all directions, leashed or not.

That night Horton had chase-the-rabbit dreams. I dreamed of a visit with the Cooksons where humans drank 
wine and beer and Christopher the Basset smoked a peace pipe. 
The rest behaved themselves like the dogs they are.

Claiming the couch and someone else's human

Sorry Dude, no couch available at the moment. We're borrowing your mum, okay?

Butter meets Gabriella

Pardon me Christopher, if you can just partially lie on the side-table so that I can use your bum as a pillow...
Butter meets Dristan

Pardon me Christopher, if I can just squeeze in here and soak up some of the lovies you're getting here...