by - Charles Herter

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I am not a genius, but I know a good friend when I have one.  Mabel, my Bassett Hound, is one of my best friends.  She is a remarkable animal.  We got her from about a year ago. Mabel lived in West Virginia with a family til she was somewhere between seven and fifteen years old, though we have no idea, really...she's an old dog, that I know.


They gave her up because they wanted a new puppy.   At first I thought this was beastly until I saw Mabel's behavior around our puppies.  She takes their food, attacks them  (though now my other dogs are bigger, and it's made Mabel more diplomatic)  One new puppy I had, Mabel was so awful to her, that I put the puppy in the back yard, and some creature came and stole her.  Me and my changing neighborhood!

But Mabel is wonderful to her Daddy...she doesn't lick my face, or lick me at all, as the other dogs do, but when she wants attention she sort of ambles up, wagging her tail, and staring at me through rheumy eyes.  And I'll pet her for what seems like an hour at a time, and she'll wander off when she likes.  The wife will comb Mabel out, and Mabel loves this.  Mabel is such a contrast to my other dogs.   Amber and Merlin are babies, comparatively, though they are huge.   When you walk them about, they pull like a chariot, I swear to's incredible!  But I can walk Mabel around the block without a leash at all.  She is very slow.


She used to try to run away from me sometimes, and she'd be galloping at five miles an hour, and I'd be right there after her at six and a half, and she'd be looking behind at me as she went...but now she's not so much into a way I miss it!  It was so Bonnie and Clyde.

Now that there are two puppies instead of one, I have less time to take Mabel for her daily walk.  Also, the fact that it's fuckin' winter out.  I hate winter.  Words just can't express how I feel about it.  But in the summer and spring, and early fall, Mabel was a dream to do the block with.  My wife insists that it takes Mabel an hour to get around the block, but I can get her around in 20 minutes or so.

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One day Mabel and I were carousing about, and she discovered a discarded pizza, halfway in the box, and she stood and ate it.  Just pulling it out of the box, a little at a time.  I remember telling her severely "Your Mommy wouldn't allow this at all."  Because of course the dough caused Mabel to take a monster sized shit in the living room.


She has a favorite place on the carpet in front of the fireplace.  Mabel peed her way through two or three carpets there, and also dropped a buncha loads.  After a while, we just took the carpet away, and Mabel would come and just sit on the grayish rectangular outline where the pee-soaked carpert used to be.

When Mabel first came to us from Petfinder, she was potty trained fully...but after observing Amber, who had not yet been trained, Mabel decided there were new rules here, and it's been work trying to get the potty training back.  Amber and Merlin are for the most part trained...but Mabel actually prefers going to the bathroom inside the house.  I don't know why...I like peeing outside!   One day I was trying to get her to go out, and I chased her around and around the table and suddenly she just dropped her reservoir as she was running, then there was no point.


There was a time when I was really worried that Mabel might pass on soon.  Christine said  "Let's give her a place where she can spend her final months" because she seemed so old...but she's had a tumor removed, and then her back legs gave and she was operated on and her discs were switched or something.  I really thought she was going to be paralyzed at that point, and it would be needle time.  But she is a foster dog, and her group pays all the medical, so she had a bunch of operations, and she is once again ambulatory, thank goodness...I realized when Mabel was in the hospital that I needed her more than she needed me...go figure!



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