Jun. 24th, 2007 11:29 am

my hound

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This is my hound.

She was a bad dog. She was worse than most other dogs. She was the Death Star of dogs.

She ate things that didn't belong to her, that didn't even make sense to eat. She once ate a bottle of nail polish remover while lying on top of a dress belonging to [livejournal.com profile] tiny_chicken that was made mostly of Lycra. [livejournal.com profile] tiny_chicken came home to find a bleach spot on the floor of her bedroom framing a very expensive outline of a melted dress.

I came home once to find my hound passed out between an empty bottle of Chambourd and a ripped apart box of condoms. She ate the wicker out of the back of [livejournal.com profile] lachesis's wicker rocking chair. She ate a box of Swiss Miss while drooling heavily and dragging the dozens of packets around, leaving a muddy trail of chunky, moist hot chocolate from one end of the house to the other on the walls and floor, with a huge puddle of it on the couch. She somehow managed to get a box of Power Bars off the top of [livejournal.com profile] tiny_chicken's bureau and eat 28 of them, which caused her to have explosive diarrhea and vomiting in the living room, kitchen and my bedroom – destroying my mattress and doing more than a thousand dollars worth of damage to herself and the apartment. [livejournal.com profile] tiny_chicken had to buy a putty knife to clean up the mess, because I was in London.

When she was scared, she would emit this stench that is unlike anything else in human experience. It was a phenomenal bouquet that was so full-bodied and aggressive it was almost sentient. She had a whole array of bad smells. Sometimes she smelled mildly of bad milk. Sometimes her breath smelled like a fish market at the end of the day, with just a hint of burning bacon. Sometimes her pee smelled like burning plastic.

She did not come when you called. If you said her name enough times, she might look at you, as if to say, “Yes I hear you, but I wonder why you keep yelling like that,” and then continue wandering in the direction she'd chosen. She did not fetch. If you threw something – even a piece of food, she would stare after it and then decide it was too far to go and wander off. Her idea of playing was to bark at you for a while and then run after you with her mouth open like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. If she caught you, she would bite your ankle.

She was indestructible. She consumed nail polish remover and bleach on separate occasions without obvious detrimental effect. She ate the entire ingredients to two chocolate cakes from scratch, and hallucinated for a while but was otherwise fine. She got her stomach twisted and had to have a drastic emergency surgery that the vet swore she would not survive, and ended up recovering faster than any dog that vet had ever treated. She fell down stairs, ran headlong into sliding glass doors and ate poison like a champ and never once seemed particularly perturbed.

On at least three occasions, she pooped on me while I slept.

When she slept, she would curl up into a little egg shape with her nose as close to her own butthole as she could get it. Or sometimes she would stretch out on her side with one paw under her cheek. When she slept on her belly, her lips would leave a set of parallel drool lines on the floor. She liked to cuddle, which meant putting her butt on you and falling asleep. She liked getting into the car, but she didn't really like going anywhere in it. She was a fan of cats, who liked attacking her butt, and she taught at least two generations of kittens the joys of attacking people's ankles.

She could climb, which is nothing short of a miraculous operation for a dog of her stature, akin to the workings of a watch in its complexity and sublime grace. You would come home to find her on top of something that should have been as inaccessible as Olympus Mons, wagging her tail and happily eating whatever it was you'd put up there to prevent her eating.

She slept under the blankets, pressed against my side. On warm nights, I would wake up with my right side covered in itchy hound hair.

She left obscure stains on everything she touched. She was a disgusting creature that leaked pus, blood and saliva like a zombie.

She looked cute with a handkerchief around her neck.

I had originally wanted a Basset hound because it was the least punk rock dog I could think of. I was going to name her Rape, but my mom got to her first and named her after a Police song about a whore. Now I belong to an elite club of dog owners. When you tell someone with a Basset that you too are a Basset owner, they look at you and say without conviction, “Oh aren't they great dogs?” They know perfectly well that Basset hounds are terrible dogs, but there is something hidden in all that extra skin, or obscured behind all the pus and bad smells that makes them worth it in just the same way that climbing Everest is worth losing a finger, or adopting a retarded kid is worth the pain and inconvenience. Because something about the basset hound's fat headed, obstinate, destructive nature is totally offset by the complete and total helpless devotion with which they look at you when you scratch their ears and they make the contented grunting sounds and emit the greasy corn chip smell that means they're happy.

Basset hounds have a maximum lifespan of 12-13 years, and Roxanne was 15. She was depressed and tired and not eating – for once. She could no longer navigate stairs without help. She dragged her feet when she walked, and couldn't muster the energy to get around the block. At 2:45 yesterday afternoon, when her vet injected her with the euthanasia solution, she immediately took on something of her old character, lifting her head to look at me, and then resting it on my thigh as she fell asleep, content and relaxed and happy finally and for good.
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