Thursday, September 25, 2008

My story

Greetings from soggy, houndly Maryland. Despite the many H2O events the last few days, Bernie and I have been enjoying our romps in the park. Fall is here and the squirrels and deer are out in the mornings just begging to be chased. Last week I treed 5 squirrels on two separate trees at the same time. I was quite proud of myself. Life is definitely good.

Life wasn't always so good, though. Almost two years ago, I was left at a kill shelter in Floyd County, Georgia by my owner. I had an eye infection that had gone untreated for a long time. One Saturday morning, a nice cat rescue person named Liz was at the shelter looking to take photos of the dogs to put on the web so they would have a chance at being adopted. She saw me shivering at the back of my cage and couldn't believe it--my eyes were so infected they were barely visible. She pulled me and took me to the vet, thinking that at least I would be put to sleep and would not have to suffer any longer. The vet took a look at me and declared that all I needed was eye surgery and a bit of TLC. So there's Liz at the vet with me, a very large hound, with no idea what to do next. She called her colleague who told her to call the Washington Animal Rescue League. She did and they promised to be on their way in a few days. In the meantime, they took good care of me. When I came up to Washington, the vets continued to treat my eyes and the adoptions staff made me available for adoption. As a senior hound girl, I think they thought I'd be around for a while, but within a few weeks, I was living it up at hound central with Mom, Dad, and Bernie. I still remember everyone at the rescue league. When I go to the vet I greet all my former caretakers with great enthusiasm.
Below is a pic of how I looked the day I was pulled from the shelter. Mom says it still makes her cry. To end on a happy note, a video of me howling is also below. Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The way to a hound's heart ...

... is definitely through it's stomach!
Mom and Dad spent Saturday afternoon searching for treats that would not upset my delicate stomach. I don't see why they're so concerned. After all, I'm able to digest all kinds of interesting things. Anyway, they're on a "Marmie's so thin--we need to feed her more and give her treats" tear, which is just fine by me. My hefty brother Bernie, who is built like a tank, has had his food portions reduced. He hopes Mom will stop calling him "Bacon Boy" if he doesn't gain his usual fall/winter poundage. I hate to say it, I think the Bacon Boy name has stuck.
I have a few nicknames too--Marma-hound; Marma-tank (since bloodhounds don't go around obstacles, but through them); Marma-lady; "neighborhood rooster"--not sure I like being referred to as a critter with feathers; and Marma-howler. Speaking of howling, I was in fine form this morning, greeting all the construction workers in the neighborhood. It's only polite to say hello, after all. I think I did wake everyone within a 4-block radius, though. But, as Wimsey argues, humans are around to serve us, so if we're awake, they should be too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My brother Bernie

Hey everyone, I want to introduce you to my brother Bernie. He's also part bloodhound (and part cocker spaniel and great pyr--DNA doesn't lie!) He was rescued from a shelter in West Virginia when he was a year old. He's four now and is quite the ladies' man in the neighborhood. He loves sniffing just like me, but is a much slower, methodical sniffer than I am, so there is often a twenty-foot gap between us when we go for walks.
I'm trying to teach Bernie how to howl, but he can't quite get the accent right. He does have an incredible bark, though. When he hears someone coming, he stands in the front window and barks. The mail carrier and fed-ex man sprint up our door, leave the packages, and sprint back to their vehicles. He's a pretty impressive guard dog.
Bernie is also a food snob. He has to have olive oil sprinkled on his kibble. He was also afraid of going down the basement steps for the longest time--I had to show him how. His favorite thing in the world is playing with his squeaky egg toy. That thing is so loud. He'll play fetch for hours while I relax in the shade garden.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The "Marmalounger"

When I was adopted in February 2007, my parents promised that I would never be cold, sick, sad, or lonely ever again. Life definitely got better fast when I arrived home. There were regular meals, a warm bed, and nice long walks to the park. Since I'd never really lived in a house before, I hadn't really experienced furniture--especially the upholstered kind. At first, I took to climbing and sitting on the living room coffee table, but I soon discovered that the stuffed arm chair was much more comfortable. It was love at first snooze. I spend so much time in the chair that Mom and Dad named it the "Marmalounger". When we have guests and all the seats (including my armchair) get taken by humans, I'm known to stare at the offender and snort my disapproval. Wimsey would agree that after all, once an object is appropriated by a hound, it's for keeps!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Life with a Bloodhound

My Mom was refilling a prescription for me this morning and the pharmacist said,
"Wow, I haven't seen a bloodhound around here in a long time." Yes, we are rare on the east coast and people really don't know all that much about us. When the pharmacist asked what life with a bloodhound was like, my Mom gave him her usual answer: we're loyal, loving, affectionate, funny, good with other dogs and kids, and so on. My Mom also thinks we're smart (she's so convinced of it, she and Dad even put a bumper sticker on our car!), although other bloodhound guardians may disagree. Anyway, I digress. Bloodhounds are very special dogs and living with one is an experience like no other. Here are some things to know before considering being owned by a bloodhound:

1. We are LARGE dogs. Not only do the bones of your feet get crushed when our large paws step on them, but we have an amazing ability to spread out on furniture in order to take up as much space as possible.
2. We can smell everything. Absolutely everything. Don't think that we're not going to notice you silently opening the jar of peanut butter. We will and will be right there demanding a spoonful (or the whole jar if we can get it).
3. Kitchen counters are our domain--anything on them is meant for us. The fresh baked cherry cake last summer? The leftover Thanksgiving turkey? MINE--all mine.
4. We bloodhounds like to express our opinions and do so often. We do not have a volume knob--only two settings: loud and louder. Placing hands over ears is futile.
5. We snore. Loudly. My snore can be heard on all three floors of our house. Mom can even hear it through her earplugs.
6. We like smelly stuff. Poop, trash, dead things on the trail--if it's there, we will get into it. With three million scent receptors in our distinguished snouts, who can blame us?
7. We have a distinctive houndly fragrance that no amount of Febreeze can mask. We spend weeks working on this smell, only to have to go back to the drawing board after bath day. I don't understand why humans shower every day...
8. The bloodhound appetite is legendary. Mom heard a story about a hound that ate a whole goat on a spit (spit included!) and lived to tell about it. Sounds yummy!
9. Many bloodhounds have second careers as interior designers, specializing in rope drool art. We fling drool onto furniture, onto walls and clothing... the possibilities are endless. Of course, the humans in the house don't appreciate our art and feel a compulsive need to wash the walls on a regular basis.

Now, I hope this doesn't put anyone off. Bloodhounds are really wonderful dogs. As Mom and Dad say, life would be very boring without us hounds to keep them on their toes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone. My name is Marmalade and I'm a nine-year old bloodhound girl from Georgia. I was rescued in 2007 and now live in the Washington DC area with my Mom and Dad and half-bloodhound brother Bernie. My parents had never been owned by a bloodhound before they rescued me and it took them a while to clue in about certain things.

First of all, I sing... a lot. The first time I started singing for my dinner, my parents thought I was growling at them. Silly humans! But I don't just howl. I sing melodies with complex tunes and rhythms. Mom especially loves it when I serenade my friends on the street during our 6 a.m. walk! She keeps using the word "mortified"... I wonder why.

Inspired by Beijing games this past summer, my parents are convinced that drool-slinging should be added to the list of Olympic sports. During a recent dinner party at our house, Mom looked up at the corner of the ceiling and, lo and behold, a huge Marma-goober was hanging there in all its glory. Nobody else noticed, but it was kind of funny watching Mom balance on a chair trying to clean it off.

Third, this hound has a penchant for baked goods. Dad bakes a lot of bread and has taken to putting the warm loaves in top of the fridge to cool after losing one too many loaves to my intrepid counter-surfing skills. The great counter-surf of summer 2007 was an amazing event: Two loaves, two hounds, some agile moves, and a lighting fast sprint through the house with our prize.

Last but not least, I eat anything in my path. Last summer I managed to successfully digest a bird, a bat, and various rodents. I haven't tried horse-do yet, but I'll take Wimsey's word for it that it's yummy.