The first rule of bloodhound ownership is do not ever let a bloodhound lick your face. Bloodhounds commonly eat things found in litter boxes and drink openly from toilet bowls, you don’t want this stuff on your face. So never—I repeat, never—let a bloodhound lick you above the neck.
This is easier said than done. My bloodhound is always trying to lick me, and sometimes I can’t prevent it. Her tongue is nine feet long and capable of seeing around corners like a U-boat periscope. She licks everything.
One time I came home to find that my dog had stolen the mail from our counter and licked it all. Mind you, she didn’t chew the mail, neither did she attempt to eat the mail like normal dogs, she licked it until the ink smudged. Try explaining this to the IRS.
Truthfully I can’t come up with a rational reason for dog ownership. I have owned many, many canines throughout my life and every time I try to explain my reasons to non-dog people, they laugh at me then begin plucking dander off my shirt.
Sometimes I start to wonder why I love dogs. After all, when you own a dog your life pretty much becomes about two things: (a) food, and (b) other people’s food. These things are all your dog cares about. Although squirrels come in as a close third.
Oh, and walks. The most important event in your dog’s personal life will be the doo-doo walk. This is never a leisure event with my bloodhound. Because of my dog’s powerful nose, whenever we go for walks we’re always on tactical military missions, sniffing for missing persons.
My bloodhound follows unseen scent trails on high-alert, dragging me on the other end of her leash. She darts back and forth with such force she almost dislocates my shoulder. One of these days someone is going to see my dog running down the street with a flopping male forearm attached to a leash.
During walks our second objective is to meet friends. This is because bloodhounds are highly social dogs and consider every outing as an opportunity to broaden their inner circle.
When we see another dog, for instance, my dog starts to howl, and tug me forward. The other dog does the same thing. Soon, there are two moaning dogs pulling their owners toward each other like gravitational magnets.
Meantime, both dog owners are simultaneously yanking leashes and shouting, “Down! Down!” along with a few other words not approved by fundamentalists.
My advice is don’t fight your dog when they do this. Just let your dog greet the other. It won’t take long. And once the two dogs have thoroughly sniffed each other’s hindparts, you’ll be good to go.
On our walks, my dog also loves visiting our local alligator. We affectionately named this reptile “Al.” Al is your typical eight-foot-long Florida alligator who lives in a nearby pond. Al enjoys sunbathing on the banks of the pond, watching the various toy breed dogs play in the neighborhood.
Al’s hobbies include relaxing, not moving, and impromptu staring contests. My dog thinks Al is spectacular. Al is a celebrity in my house.
My dog has no concept that this carnivorous reptile has jaws that are powerful enough to crush GE dishwashers. All my dog can think about is one day having the opportunity to sniff Al’s butt.
When my bloodhound darts toward this gator, usually I am holding the leash and screaming with the same pitch as a 10-year-old girl, “Down, girl! Stop!”
At which point Al eases into the pond. Soon Al’s eyes are barely above the water’s surface, slowly bobbing toward us. If I ever go missing, make sure you check the contents of Al’s gastrointestinal tract for my wristwatch.
After we visit the gator, my dog drags me to the doggy play area. This is a civic area with a dog-poop receptacle bin. This is where all local dog owners deposit little steaming plastic baggies instead of carrying them home like jayvee football trophies.
My bloodhound loses her mind when she smells this receptacle. She might as well be at the perfume sample counter in the mall. She starts howling, jumping, drawing attention while Al slinks closer to us.
When we’re done there, we walk to the end of the street, dodging traffic, keeping a gentle pace. During the pandemic, these evening walks truly became the highlights of my days.
I don’t know what I’d do without my dog. I know this probably sounds silly to someone who isn’t a dog lover, but on our walks I have conversations with my bloodhound.
I know dogs don’t understand English, but I believe my dog can understand my tone. And I know without doubt she can read my emotion because when I am sad she cannot tolerate it.
I’ve never met a dog who can tolerate seeing a human cry.
Not long ago I came home after an extremely bad day, collapsed on the sofa, and felt like I wanted to break down. My dog sensed this heavy emotion. She jumped onto the couch, sniffed me with great curiosity, and the next thing I knew, she had thrown her entire bodyweight upon me. Soon, there was a 100-pound canine rolling on my lap. My bones started to creak, my tendons popped, and I began laughing.
My minor laughing turned into hysterical laughter, which eventually led to thick, salty tears. But my tears didn’t last long. Because, of course, I let my dog lick them away.