A basset has a legendary skill. Fittingly put to use for a canine's sacred covenant.
|A Basset’s best diagnostic tool is their contemplation. I tell you it’s true. And I aim to be one of the best. This Christmas is my first big test. The sacret covenant of all dogs and hounds is to uphold the canine as man’s best friend and what better time to check my standing in this regard than now.
First some background for the sceptics out there. That lazy eye, it’s not lazy. My Dad, Butch, had a great eye and he told me I was the pup who got it straight from him. My eye is just like Dad’s, oval and tall in the best traditions, with plenty of red around the pupil for sustained blood supply, lots of wrinkled skin for support, and a really slow shutter speed.
Ever see a Basset blink – well that’s only because we let you. Contemplation is a thinker’s tool and long, slow, deliberate study is what feeds the contemplating mind – so no blinking. Yes, OK, you are wondering about the ears. The ears block out the sound, distractions you know, so that we can peruse and process without being disturbed. So, no! they are not for show or for that cutesy head tilting that you find with the shepherd breed. Shepherds are for action and as I have stated we are the deep thinkers – the philosophers of the fold.
I set myself up perfectly last night. I took a corner angle in the living room. I had the Christmas tree immediately on my left, the main couch across the room, I had the dining room in my peripheral vision and the kitchen in the distance. I could cover the passage to the family bedrooms easily enough as well. After much contemplation I was ready. Plan, execute, measure – it’s what I do. Well mostly plan, but slow, not too strenuous execution and lengthy evaluation is sometimes needed for input into empirical observation.
I was up really early, sat perfectly by the kitchen door – the boss didn’t need to call for me.
He called for me anyway – but I didn’t roll my eyes – man’s best friend doesn’t practice sarcasm.
“Socrates, come boy…?” called the boss, still very asleep and trying to peer through sleep sealed eyes.
I let out a little woof, “Woof,” so as not to startle him, my eyes looking up at him.
“Good dog,” he said, with a little pat as he let me out to do my “thing”.
I performed a quick turn-around and got back inside. I positioned myself amongst the presents under the tree as planned the night before. Stretched out and pretending to sleep. A paw on one present, an ear covering another.
The pounding hooves of two kids named Viola and Chord reverberated down the passage and into the living room. Just quickly - as for their names, their mom is a musician. But now - onward with my story – I monitored the pounding of over exuberant speed garnered in the excitement of opening presents, they cornered into the living room, their bare feet digging into the polished wood flooring as they desperately tried to control the turn, the tell-tale squeal of feet slipping on wood alerting me to their proximity, the friction from the final slide onto bums as they came in for landing readied me for impact.
A soft thump. I held my position.
“Aaawww! Socrateeeees.” Fondling of ears (Why always the ears?)
“You guarded our presents.”
I made the great effort to lift myself up and say hello, one lick and one nose touch for each of them. Then I pawed the correct present for each of them.
A quick glance at the Boss and then the Mom (not sure why the Boss allows the Mom decision making – that question has been with the elders for some time now). The Boss gave me that wrinkled chin upside down smile combination that means he’s happy and approving. Mom just had that gleam in her eye. So far this is perfect. Hound has integrated into the most sacred of family gatherings with the requisite subtlety and panache. No intrusion just infusion.
I stood up to clear the way for the family to open remaining presents and to bond. My stately walk through adoring family as they paved the way towards the dining room and that perfect spot of sun, lifted my head as I somewhat broke into a trot for a brief moment. This was the perfect celebration of our ancient covenant. A lamb shank was certain to follow for this young pup as the Boss' voice echoed in my ears as I lay down to bask.
“Good dog Socrates, good dog.”