Anyone who knows me realizes that I love my basset hound, Margie. Perfect symbol of my personality, she proves the theory that people choose dogs that resemble them. Actually, I didn’t choose her; Matt did. He wanted a “real dog,” and she was as much real dog as we thought we could stand. We have always had small dogs before–except for Wendy, a stray lab mix we took in when we lived in Texas. Bassets are actually considered to be large dogs; they just don’t have much in the way of legs.
I was petting Margie recently and thinking about all the change that has come into our lives in the last few months. Her existence is very different from what it was like a year ago. As I considered, though, I realized that she has had many different phases in her five years of life.
She started out as a “country dog,” having the run of our 2.66 acres in Reidsville. One of my favorite memories is of watching Margie chase Matt all over our huge front yard. It is true that she has a very slow and lazy demeanor, but she does love to run when she gets the chance. She just doesn’t like to run for very long…and then she likes to sleep for a long time afterwards.
When I got sick, around the time Margie turned one, we moved to an apartment in town. Our apartment was on the third floor. We had a two bedroom unit with a sunroom. We put a daybed in there for Christy to sleep on when she came home from college. It was a pleasant place for me to lay when I was recovering from a treatment. I liked to lay there and look out at the sky. It was very peaceful. It was also Margie’s place. She sat for hours on the end of that bed looking down on the world. I liked coming home and looking up to see her gazing down on me, but it was rough having to take her down all those stairs every time she needed to go “potty.”
Not long after I finished treatment, we sold the house in Reidsville, and rented a three story townhouse. It was a bit better for Marge because it was easier and faster to get outside. The neighborhood was small, though, and the buildings were close together, so running room was scarce and the smells Margie loves were few and far between. There was a field we could get to behind the house and she loved to go out that way. We even saw the occasional rabbit and a deer or two. Our living room was in the front of the house and the couch was in front of a large window. Marge loved to sit with her paws and nose resting on the back of the couch and watch the world go by. She led a quiet life.
Our current townhouse has been better for Margie. There’s a lot more green space and we have a fairly large deck where she can sit and sun herself. Her favorite haunt used to be the kitchen window. She would sit there for hours watching the world go by, guarding the neighborhood. She doesn’t really have time for that now. For the first time in her life, Margie has kids.
At first she was not sure how she felt about what must have seemed to her like a home invasion. Having lived such a quiet and sheltered life, she was scared of everything. She doesn’t like loud noises. Kids and their toys involve a lot of sounds. She does not like people to wear party hats, or those hats you get at Krispy Kreme for some reason, and she HATES balloons. Tall towers of megablocks freaked her out, especially if the kids tried to pick them up and move them from place to place. She spent a lot of time trying to crawl up in my lap. Her kennel got moved from the living room by the French doors upstairs to the laundry “room,” which is really not a whole lot more than a closet. Sometimes she would go there just to get away. Levi, who just turned five, has always loved her, but she was not sure how she felt about him. She did appreciate the fact that he tended to drop food on the floor more often than other people. I think this is probably the thing that began to win her over. We began to notice the change in her attitude the first time the kids went away for the weekend. She kept going around the house and looking for them and she kept looking at Amy as if to ask what she had done with them. She was obviously glad when they came back. Now, if I get her up in the morning before they are awake, she goes and sits outside their room and waits for them. Sometimes she even whines. Even with the extra, “accidental” treats she gets, Margie has lost about five pounds since the kids moved in. They take her out more often than I do, and they throw her toys and run back and forth with her. She has a new spring in her step, and a light in her eyes.
When everyone was here over Christmas, there were even more kids around. Josh took a picture of Margie with the twins. You can see how thrilled she was: