Baxter the Basset Hound is six years old, far from being a puppy. By the time I adopted him, he was a skinny one year old hound with kennel cough who had been through some shuffling around. It breaks my heart to think about it. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t know.
His history is different that the one of my last hound, Baldrick.
Baldrick was bred by a breeder in New Jersey who had gorgeous champion show hounds. Baldrick was a descendant of many winning hounds, with a lineage that placed him solid on the American Kennel Club list. His puppy name was Frito Bandito because breeders Hank and Sharon (with whom we remained friend with for years) named his litter after food, and Dorito corn chips was the association for our pup. My dad and I adopted him. My father decided on the name Baldrick, because we both loved the TV British comedy ‘Black Adder’ and the character of Baldrick – Black Adder’s “Dogsbody”.
Baxter and Baldrick were different and the same in so many ways.
Baldrick was cuddly, funny, playful, human-like, loving and goofy. As an east coast dog, he was bigger, smellier, contracted a chronic ear infection that added to the funk, tri-color, had thick, coarse fur on his back, velvety head and ears, and rough giant paws that would make you scream with pain if he stepped on your bare feet. He would lick you constantly. He was 68 pounds and liked to curl up on my lap and stomach which took the breath out of me. He was a showstopper wherever we went. Gorgeous boy.
I miss the hell out of that hound. His sweetness. He devotion. The memories of going hiking with my dad and the little guy though state parks and at Riverside Park. I miss his personality. His way.
Baxter is funny, playful, human-like, loving and goofy. He doesn’t smell bad. In fact, he’s maintained this lovely corny puppy aroma that makes him easy to snuggle, if he lets you snuggle. He’s a loner. A rebel. He’s a ginger boy – as red headed as Conan O’Brien. He doesn’t like to cuddle, although late at night, if you’re sitting next to him on the couch, he’ll nest his head against your leg.
He’s not a licker, although sometimes he’ll give me a wet one on the face when I come home. His way of providing affection is burrowing his head into your leg or mushing his muzzle against your face. He’s 54 pounds. As a west coast dog, he’s softer and more supple than Baldrick was. His back curves with more ease. His paws are more delicate and soft. His fur isn’t coarse, in fact his entire body is soft like plush. The color of his red fur is almost golden, and glows healthily in the sun. He has freckles and everyone in Los Angeles who encounters him loves him. He’s a supreme beauty.
Baxter is also an old soul. He doesn’t care for bullshit. An over zealous puppy met on the street will be met with a grumble. He’s cranky, and refused to let most dogs sniff his butt for very long without a growl. Baldrick was a little more easy going – more inclusive. Didn’t want to be separated in another room for long. Baxter likes his privacy.
Both Baldrick and Baxter won’t (or didn’t) bite. Both patient with children. Both soften(ed) with curious toddlers, and both gave me something to come home to.
Although Baxter is getting a little white around the eyes, he’s still got the puppy in him. And we still have a long way to go together.