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.
Debbie g - March 6, 2021 9:07 am
I can see the best comedy strip out of this hilarious post Add that to your list of things to do 😀or also children’s or us adults illustrated book on this post Toooooo funny started my day with much laughter. Much love to you and your family!!
missusmux - March 6, 2021 12:20 pm
What Debbie g said. Hilarious post and great theme for a cartoon strip and/or children’s illustrated book! Thanks for introducing us to Al. There’s nothing quite like starting the day with unrestrained laughter.
Melanie - March 6, 2021 2:17 pm
💡 Idea! ✍🏻🎨
Meredith Smith - March 6, 2021 10:51 am
Sean, I loved your words. I formerly had two dachshunds, of the hound family but hardly that of your hound. Walking then was always a challenge, as this breed is forever confused about its size. It thinks it’s the size of your dog and will take on anything and anyone much bigger than itself. Then, when it knows a striking mistake in volume has been made, it immediately slinks behind my knees, hanging out father white flag of surrender. I had a male and a female. Strangely, the female was much bolder than the male. She was actually 11 lbs but I. Reality got herself into scraps with Newfoundland’s, German shepherds, and the like, but I amiss her terribly. As for guarding the place, she had a great bark, after that – forget it. She’d take you by the hand to show you the good stuff. But don’t get me wrong. She was a special dog. I have medically uncontrolled seizures. When one was coming on and I a did not realize or feel it, she usually did. She’d jump on me and scratch at me to sit down or get to a safe place before the seizure arrived. And her accuracy level was about 90%. Then, after the seizure passed she stayed with me until it was gone and I was done sleeping. She was the best, and I miss her terribly.
Becky Kaufman - March 6, 2021 12:59 pm
Loved this. My 16+ year old Golden Retriever has fallen in love with the little baseball sized duck available from Orvis. He just chased it down the hall and then jumped halfway up on the bed and waited for me to boost him up the rest of the way — all 80 lbs. He’s a mess but we love him.
Heidi - March 6, 2021 1:30 pm
With our children all grown and living with their kiddos (in 4 different states than us) life would be pretty much unbearable without our Walter. He & Thelma are just about the same size and would get along famously. At the moment he’s sprawled out on our light colored sofa licking it. 😳
fleming straughan - March 6, 2021 1:32 pm
What would like be like without my best friend?
Oh the stories I could tell you from a lifetime of good friends, our relationship and our adventures.
One friend spent of our life in a 9th grade classroom, swimming pool or riding to and from. And I can relate to slobbering kisses…
Thank you for your smile of memories for today
Molly - March 6, 2021 1:46 pm
Beautifully said! I love dogs too!
Lisa Weir - March 6, 2021 1:50 pm
Don’t trust people who don’t like dogs. Nuff said.
Beau - March 6, 2021 2:02 pm
Reason for owning dogs…early warning system.
We live in the forest. Meth heads out here don’t creep up silently, as before.
A Husky mix,, a Catahoula hound mixh, and a Pyrenees… All barking will alert owner to intruders. They are also great entertainers
Melanie - March 6, 2021 2:14 pm
I love this! 📖Dog Gospel 🙏🏻 Thanks Sean !
Brenda - March 6, 2021 2:20 pm
Sean, what’s wrong with you!!!??? They certainly do understand English.
Tammy S. - March 6, 2021 3:28 pm
Love, love this one, Sean!!!!
Bob - March 6, 2021 3:41 pm
We’ve had numerous dogs over the years, and I was once asked why I owned a dog. I pose the question to the person… “If you locked your dog and your wife in the trunk of your car and came back two hours later, guess which one would be happy to see you?“ He’s now a dog on her too.
Connie - March 6, 2021 4:08 pm
I read this sitting here with my two on my lap. I always liked dogs but never felt like I loved them until fairly recently. My granddaughter and I, very lonely after my husband left us, decided to adopt a dog from our local shelter. He brought so much joy to us both but he is “mine”. About a year later we adopted a baby puppy for her and the thought of being without them makes me ill. They always know when we’ve have a bad day or when we don’t feel well, and refuse to leave our laps. They are definitely family.
Christina - March 6, 2021 5:38 pm
It’s simply a joy to read the loving affection you share with your bloodhounds. And say hi to Al next time!
Linda Moon - March 6, 2021 5:55 pm
I was glad to read the title, “Bloodhound”. I’ve recently been wondering about Thelma Lou and Otis Campbell. A neighbor just walked by with his dog and doo-doo that was immediately scooped into a bag. I saw it all from my window. Pets can bring smiles that become laughter. If you have another extremely bad day, Sean, remember Thelma Lou and me, “Lou”, another one of my many nicknames. I’ll be laughing right along with you!
Cheryl Hatter - March 6, 2021 9:53 pm
I feel you love and your pain 😂 I too have a 100lb Bloodhound, Bogy Boo! He’s my best friend and he loves everyone he meets. Before Bogey, i had a girl bloodhound that was our heart, Boulah Belle. My beautiful baby girl died at age four from lymphoma cancer. Truly, I thought my life had ended. I cried almost non stop for weeks! God sent me Bogey…….. HE truly did!! A cousin in the family called and could no longer keep their 6 month old male bloodhound. So here I am……. in love again♥️
Pat De Loncker - March 6, 2021 11:02 pm
Dogs are Angels from Heaven
There is no better friend than your dog♥️
gingie1225 - March 6, 2021 11:59 pm
I too have a wonderful, beautiful, often exhausting 😆 125lb Bloodhound. She is my life❤️
MAM - March 7, 2021 12:48 am
Aren’t dogs wonderful? We are without a dog at this time. After we clean up all the stains in the carpet, and those on the furniture and the wall from her rubbing her allergies, we may or may not get another one. I miss her dreadfully, and I think she’s going to be wagging at me every morning when I open the bedroom door, but alas, she’s not. But I get to say hi to all the neighbor dogs on my walks, so I least I get canine contact, which in my opinion, is a necessary part of life.
elizabethroosje - March 7, 2021 3:48 am
Sean, you writing is such a blessing, I could picture all of this so well! I am so very glad you have your beloved bloodhound! I am so sorry for your difficult day and please know that my Husband and I are still praying for you, Jamie and Mother Mary 3x a day every day. You are a gift to so many. My friend Martha told me that her library has 4 copies of your new novel ordered and she has put it on hold! I loved your novel so much and also your memoir. Thank you for writing, it is really a blessing.
Bob Brenner - March 7, 2021 1:47 pm
Nothing like ‘man’s best friend’, they love you throughout life 🐕🦺🦮🐕🐩🐾
Julie - March 7, 2021 2:13 pm
What Bob said on March 6th…no matter what, your dog is ALWAYS happy to see you upon your return…UNCONDITIONAL LOVE in its purest form❣️
Dean - March 8, 2021 9:36 pm
I miss having a dog so bad but i am not physically able to take care of one. I have always had a dog to love on. I have a cat and they are good he wants in my lap when I set down and he sleeps on my bed at night but they are not as loving. He does understand english and he is something to talk to.
Joann Thompson - March 9, 2021 1:56 am
Your description of walking your blood hound is pretty much what I experience daily with my 14 lb. Schnoodle. It is amazing how strong she is when there is another dog in sight. And it isn’t just dogs, small humans make her quiver with excitement. One morning last week, we did not see another dog or person on our morning walk, and she spent the morning moping around as if she had been ditched by her boyfriend. The next morning, she got to meet a new dog, greet an old friend, and was petted by a 2 year-old. She was in heaven for the rest of the day.
Cheryl Buchanan - March 10, 2021 4:43 pm
EXCELLENT! I love how your words paint such wonderful images in my mind!