You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog

DEAR SEAN:

Can I babysit your dog sometime? I have always wanted a bloodhound, and my mom says no. But I read once where you let someone babysit your dog, Thelma Lou, and I thought maybe I could do it, maybe when we’re done with social-distancing.

Please say yes,
KID-FROM-MINNESOTA

DEAR MINNESOTA:

First of all, Minnesota is a LONG way from Florida. I just did an internet search and discovered that Minnesota is somewhere close to the Arctic Circle.

Secondly, I doubt you want to babysit my dog. My dog goes around eating—and I do not mean to be crude—cat poop. Actually, she doesn’t care which species‘ excrement she eats, as long as it’s kosher. Any kind will do. Cats, raccoons, bears, water buffalo, giraffes. This is why you must NEVER let my dog give you a kiss.

I repeat. Never.

Right now, she is sitting on my feet. She weighs about a hundred pounds, and she gets heavier each day. This is because she eats everything in sight. Even furniture.

I don’t know if you know about bloodhounds, but they are truly scientific marvels. Bloodhounds have a nose with 300 million smell receptors.

To give you an idea of how many that is, consider this: Your typical household American man has approximately 2 smell receptors. We men couldn’t smell odors coming from our own armpits if we were locked in a laundry hamper. Consequently, the average American wife can smell a decomposing tomato from a house three streets away.

A bloodhound’s nose is even more sensitive than that. Their noses can track a scent 12 days after the source has left an area. It is so sensitive that a bloodhound can smell one drop of human blood in several gallons of water.

The thing to remember here is that a dog’s taste buds are related to its sense of smell. Which means my dog loves to eat and taste things that you’ve never thought of tasting before. Such as, say, underpants.

Last night, for example, my wife and I went on a short walk after supper. When we got back, we discovered that Thelma Lou had broken into our closet and rooted around in open drawers.

There were about fifty pairs of underwear scattered throughout the house, and about six million pairs of socks. Also on the floor were three decimated bags of Chili Cheese Fritos, and a pile of vomit that contained grass clippings, and pieces of a children’s action figure.

When my wife and I walked through the door, we were greeted by my dog—this is a true anecdote—who had a pair of underpants stuck over her head, with one eye poking through a leg hole.

So you would really have to watch out for your personal belongings if you babysat at my house.

Plus, there is also something about the issue of sleep. I don’t know if you like to sleep, but I do. Or at least I used to. I haven’t slept since the Coolidge administration because Thelma Lou doesn’t sleep. Instead, she does her nightly canine patrols, looking out the windows for prowlers so that she might get them to throw her toy duck.

She never sees any prowlers, but she does see plenty of raccoons. She howls all night long at the raccoons. No matter how many various objects we throw at the walls during the throes of sleep, shouting, “SHUT UP!” she keeps howling.

A bloodhound has a low-pitched voice, so her howl sort of sounds like a grown man’s voice would sound if he got a bikini wax: “WHOOOOOOOAA WOOO!!!”

I hear it every night at about three in the morning. When she’s not howling, we hear her other trademarked sounds.

CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!

That is the sound of her claws pacing back and forth on our tile floor during the wee hours. This sound will drive you to primal-level psychosis.

But I should clarify something here. I don’t want to paint a bad picture of bloodhound ownership. Because aside from all their drawbacks, bloodhounds also pass gas.

That’s right, we’re talking powerful smells. It is not an exaggeration to say that my dog has made smells so bad that company has left our house because of it.

Once, we had some friends over. We were all playing Scrabble after dinner, and Thelma Lou was under the table, sleeping, making smells. She had apparently eaten a squirrel corpse because she was creating odors that caused our friends to suddenly stand up before the game was over and announce, “Well, this was fun!”

And they dematerialized into the night.

There is one thing I forgot to mention before I leave you. A really great thing about bloodhounds is that when you are sad they love you. A few days ago, I was having a crummy day. Thelma Lou could sense this. Call it her keen sense of smell. I don’t know.

She plopped into my lap with all her weight. Her skin sort of melted everywhere. You can literally dig around for hours in her piles of loose skin and not find her. She cured my blues, and somehow, that’s the magic of a dog. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.

I rubbed her for a whole afternoon. I stroked her tummy in such a way that it made her totally paralyzed. Then she got so excited that she gave me a big wet kiss.

Sure you can babysit her. How about I drop her off at your place?

15 comments

  1. Cathi Russell - May 6, 2020 6:55 am

    Ah Thelma Lou…it must be the Hound gene pool. I have the Basset form of the Hound & he does all that too. If Thel & Barney lived in the same house we could bill it as the “House of 1000 Noxious Odors” & use it to cure sinus infections and male pattern baldness. Barney goes to the groomer next Wednesday & the toenails will be less of an issue. Giggling has made me sleepy again, so thanks Sean!

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  2. Carolyn - May 6, 2020 8:42 am

    Our Emma Mae is also of the Basset Hound clan. Her diet includes an occasional remote control and various rocks and pecans found in the yard. Counter surfing is another skill of the Hound. Sandwiches and whole bananas are lost to the art of the jump, grab, and run technique. But when she is curled up by your side snoring gently, all is forgiven. ❤️

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  3. Lita - May 6, 2020 11:27 am

    My old Labrador, Jazz, would’ve loved Thelma Lou. Hearts and flowers to you and yours, Sean.

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  4. Marilyn - May 6, 2020 12:05 pm

    Thank you for the humor to go with my morning coffee. I so needed that!

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  5. Cheryl Hatter - May 6, 2020 12:25 pm

    My bloodhound sounds a lot like Thelma Lou. Boulah Belle, is four years old. When she was a baby she took one of every pair of socks I had and she dug a nice, deep hole for it in the yard. I still find socks three years later. Boulah howls at walkers by my house, an specially if they have a dog with them. Her favorite thing is going to Blakeley State Park for long runs in the woods. Everyone at the park knows Boulah and she lets them all know she has arrived as we enter the park.
    But I wouldn’t trade my girl for a million dollars. She is the smartest, most sensitive animal I’ve ever known. The vocabulary that she understands is unbelievable!! My sweet girl sleeps in her bed on the floor next to me. If I’m in the yard, she is in the yard. If I’m on the porch, she is right there beside me. I love this girl so much! There’s nothing like a bloodhound ❤️❤️

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  6. Mary - May 6, 2020 1:00 pm

    Oh I so needed this today. My Rhodesian Ridgeback of 11-1/2 years passed away on Monday. I’ve been quite blue, but this really made me smile when I read about the nails clicking on the floor, howling at night, and the gas (dear lord). You know when you get a pet that they won’t live forever, but I sure would love it if they could.

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  7. Laurie Ulrich - May 6, 2020 1:11 pm

    And Thelma Lou is blessed to have you–who else would put up with all that stuff and still think she’s wonderful?

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  8. muthahun - May 6, 2020 2:12 pm

    Has anyone done the protein/carb/fat breakdown of undies? Woodrow will see Thelma Lou’s squirrel corpse and raise her two skunk rear ends. Seriously.
    I’ve been meaning to ask, are the sketches yours? They’re lovely!

    Reply
  9. Donna D. - May 6, 2020 2:13 pm

    I can hardly breathe I’m laughing so hard…never had a bloodhound, but you are lucky to have each other. Keep writing, Sean. We need to laugh in these hard times. Thank you!

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  10. T - May 6, 2020 3:02 pm

    This reminds me of my dog Johnny Cash. Cash is an Aussie Doodle rescue that is smart as he can be. I tell people he is a Russian Terrior. He rushes in the house and takes a big ole crap and then tares back out!

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  11. Marge - May 6, 2020 3:30 pm

    Good morning, Sean! Love, love, love that I see my home state of MN mentioned in two of your postings recently! Do come see us sometime…we are a bit south of the North Pole (you might want to stop and visit with Santa before you head back south to the lovely and hot state of FL! My dog is my rock and best buddy – two years old and full of life. Keeps this old 80 year old Grandma busy and VERY happy. So far, no smelly gifts!

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  12. Linda Moon - May 6, 2020 4:45 pm

    I like your anecdotes about Thelma Lou, Sean. I have two magic cats that cover my lap with piles of white fur every night. Go listen to Big Mama Thornton’s “You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog.” That’ll cure your blues along with the love of Thelma Lou! And, Thelma Lou can come to my house to scoop and/or eat cat poop from my furry cats’ litter boxes any time she’s hungry. Just let me know, so I can secure my personal belongings before she arrives.

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  13. Marsha Oleen - May 6, 2020 8:40 pm

    I miss my bloodhound! That story just reminded me how soft he was behind his ears and his smell. Oh I loved the hound dog smell of him. He was a great dog! Best butt sniffer in the world and he ate everything and anything. My daughters prescription glasses, socks, ball caps – he loved ball caps almost as much as tissue and toilet paper, flowers – from bulbs to a planter of cacti. He was a handful but I do miss his click, click, click and that hound sound. ❤️

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  14. Curtis Lee Zeitelhack - May 6, 2020 10:46 pm

    After hearing about your bloodhound, I’m even happier we chose a standard poodle. ‘Nuff said.

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  15. Denise DeVries - May 7, 2020 12:01 am

    I love dogs!!

    Reply

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