Life with Puppy

Tackalot’s Tourmaline Abigail passed away at the age of 12 leaving me dog-less and in the spring of 2000 a new Bloodhound puppy entered my life to fill the void - Mason-Trillium's Berthe Morrisot.

 Her antics prompted a series of short stories in the form of posts to an on-line Bloodhound group. The following are from the “Life With Puppy” series:

No More Peace & Quiet
April 26, 2000
I am proud to announce a new addition to the family.
Mason Trillium’s Berthe Morisot has kindly consented to accept the role of Matriarch of the Clan. The 9 week old Princess joined the family Friday and has assumed the reins of office.
Cloie The Cat, sedate and dignified Sergeant At Arms in charge of the field mice and all other small subjects of the Realm, has been appropriately treed (numerous times). The extents of the Kingdom have been explored and all disgusting little objects have been rooted up. The few remaining large stalks of last years weeds have been munched to smithereens (maybe I don’t have to fix the weed-eater after all?).
Her Majesty has pronounced the sofa and the bed to be acceptable.
It’s great to have a puppy in the house (I think)!

June 5, 2000
My baby Bloodhound, Berthe, now 15 weeks old, and beginning to look very grown-up. Life with Berthe continues to be a blast as she discovers the world and new ways to interact with it.
Berthe has a new game. She has discovered that she can pick up and carry around her food and water dishes (stainless steel bowls)  - throw them around, jump on them, scoot them around the floor, etc., etc. In a Bloodhound’s unique way of looking at the world, “Why wait until they are empty - they are more fun when they are full!!” Now the mop stands more or less permanently in the corner of the kitchen and the first task at feeding time is trying to find the #$@ dishes.
Berthe has a peculiar habit (even for a Bloodhound) that has been showing up recently. When she is outside and I go to the door to let her in, she will occasionally freeze, looking in my direction, and then do a “slink” that would be the pride of any cat hunting prey. After a bit of this beautiful ultra-slow-motion slink, she will suddenly bolt for the house as fast as her legs will carry her, ears flapping in the breeze behind her and the whites of her eyes flashing as the loose skin on her face flings forward and back. I have NO idea what she thinks she is doing! The delay is annoying but the slink is a marvelous thing to behold!!!
She still lacks coordination. Under normal circumstances, she manages stairs and other obstacles with ease. When excited, however, the coordination goes out the window! She will charge the stairs at a dead run, misjudge her stride totally, and come sliding up the stairs nose first with the feet and legs all dragging along behind. You would think that would inspire some more caution the next time? - not in a Bloodhound’s pointy little head!
She loves to sleep on the bed and she is now well behaved in that regard. She has figured out that if she makes a puddle on the bed, she doesn’t get to sleep on the bed again for some time. Now she is very insistent about waking me up when she has to go outside. At stage 1, my face gets licked, at stage 2 my nose gets nibbled, and if that doesn’t work, at stage 3, the most urgent, she dances on my head! Very effective alarm clock - having a 30 Lb Bloodhound dance on your head at 2 a.m. !!!
Thought you might get a chuckle from baby Bloodhound antics.......

Doggie Door
June 14, 2000
Howdy all.
Life with not-so-little puppy is a scream. She is growing by leaps and bounds. Saturday was her adult puppy shots. At 16 weeks she is 36 pounds and she still loves car trips - even if it is to the vet. I don’t even think she feels the needle - she doesn’t flinch - she is more interested in cuddling with the vet! She is such an out-going dog that she doesn’t even hesitate approaching a stranger - bound right up, wiggle and squeak, and squirt on their shoe!
She has had an adult first - she flung her first Bloodhound tinsel last week - an 8” long goober that reached a distance of 2 feet and an altitude of 18 inches - oh well, she will get better with practice!
I decided to install a doggy door last weekend so Berthe can come and go as she pleases. The door is right beside the people door and opens from the fenced run into the back porch (which connects to the rest of the house).
I clipped the door flap open and encouraged Berthe through the newly installed doggy door a couple of times. Then I released the flap and tossed her favorite squeaky toy outside through the doggy door. No hesitation - ZIP, swish, swish, doggy gone! Pause, swish, swish, doggy back. Once she figured it out, she dashed back and forth to her heart’s content.
The up-side of a doggy door - Berthe got off the bed and let herself out early Sunday morning because she had to go out and Mommy was having a good sleep and didn’t want to get up at 4:30 a.m.
The down-side of a doggy door - it was raining Sunday morning and Berthe let herself back in and back to bed after a good romp outside (in the rain) - that got Mommy out of bed!!!
She sure enjoys her doggy door and will often use it in preference to going through the people door with me. She can get outside and get to the gate in the fence faster than I can (when she thinks I am going somewhere). Sometimes I hear the swish-swish of the doggy door so often that I suspect she is just running back and forth because it is FUN.
Oh, the other thing, the flap in the doggy door is almost clear plastic so it has also become Berthe’s window! Sometimes she will sit inside and watch the outside world through her own private window. The poor old cat hasn’t figured that out yet. The cat could see the dog (inside) through the doggy door, but the dog didn’t move. Figuring the dog was captive, the cat came to sit on the back step (within the fenced run) - swish, swish!!!! One soggy, molested cat. Good Mommy is glad she’s not the only one who got soggy!
More to come....

Weird Behaviour - The Green Frog
June 29, 2000
My 4-1/2 month old Berthe has many toys, most of which get thrown around the room, chewed, jumped on, pummeled with the feet, and otherwise beaten to a pulp. BUT, she has a small (apple sized) green squeaky frog with bulging yellow eyes that gets entirely different treatment right from the day Berthe arrived.
The green frog, if found anywhere in the house except where it is supposed to be, gets picked up with much whining and concern (but not panic). Berthe will take it to the sofa and place it on the middle cushion and that’s where it must remain - on the sofa where she and I sit. It can remain there for weeks and she will seldom bother with it but, IF I MOVE IT - oh my goodness, I have done something terrible!
At first I thought she was mothering it, but she usually ignores it if it is in it’s proper place. She obviously does not think of the green frog as a toy - it has some special meaning for her and I’ll be jiggered if I can figure out what!!!!!!

Watch Dog??
July 11, 2000
Howdy Group!
Berthe is growing up really fast. At almost 5 months, she is looking more like a small Bloodhound than a puppy. Her adult teeth are coming in and I keep finding puppy-baby-teeth on the floor, in my bed, etc.
Since we live in a rural area, I have been taking Berthe out to visit the neighbours, to go to the general store, and so forth to ensure she gets properly socialized, and she loves going anywhere in the car (more people to make a fuss over her!)
I have a large fenced area off the back of the house and a doggie door from  the run into the back porch. The back porch is divided off from the rest of the house by a baby gate that’s only closed when I am out.
Well, last Friday evening I was watching TV and Berthe was out in the yard playing with a big plastic bottle she stole out of the recycling bag when all of a sudden I herd the “swish/swish” of the doggy door, galloping paw beats through the kitchen, Berthe entered the living room at a quick trot, let out one remarkably-deep-throated “WOOF!”, and sat bolt upright at my feet. Then the door bell rang.
What a great watch dog! Terror of the neighborhood. If discretion is the better part of valor, my dog is well endowed with discretion!
Also found out on the weekend that didgery-doo music played on the hi-fi really flips her out. It took ages to reassure her that there wasn’t some strange monster lurking behind the speakers. Glad I hadn’t put on Highland bagpipes!!!
Of course, her reaction to thunder was much the same. We had a storm roll in last week in the middle of the night. Berthe and I were sound asleep when the first peel of thunder reverberated through the woods. I awoke to a Bloodhound trying to get UNDERNEATH me! She was only partly placated at being allowed to sleep under the covers and in my arms!
“Life with puppy” will soon be just the ordinary (?) run of the mill “life with a Bloodhound”.

On Vacation
July 19, 2000
Well, Berthe & I will be going on holiday for awhile, so we will be signing off the list until August.
I run a steam engine at a large agricultural fair here in western Canada about the same time every year and this year Berthe will be going with me.
I suspect that 11 days in a camper-ized school bus at a major tourist event will lead to some more “Life With Puppy” stories....
Ya’ll have a good time. Berthe & I will write when we get back.

On the Road & Back
August 1, 2000
Howdy group!
Well Berthe and I have returned from our 10 day excursion and we both survived!
Every year I take my old International 72-passenger school bus and my 1/2-size steam threshing outfit to participate in the Manitoba Agricultural Museum’s “Thersherman’s Reunion & Stampede”. The bus is hardly a Winnebago - more like a bunkhouse/work shop on wheels, but it is home-away-from-home.  The threshing outfit is a 1/2-scale model of an 1887 steam traction engine and wooden threshing machine.
The show runs from Wednesday to Sunday and typical daily attendance is 10,000 people, so this was going to be an experience for Berthe!
I make the excursion to the Museum the Friday preceding the show to help get things set up for the Reunion and Berthe was quite interested in the goings-on as I loaded the machinery on the flat deck trailer and moved almost half of our household into the huge old bus. Moving her food and water dishes into the bus really had her puzzled for awhile???
Early Friday morning, right after a light breakfast for Berthe, we began the three hour drive. The novelty of riding in the bus wore off within 15 minutes and Berthe laid down to sleep on the floor - car rides are sleeping tonic for her. However, the novelty of the bus took over again and she began the quest for the most comfortable sleeping place in the bus. She tried a half dozen other (new) sleeping places before we reached our destination.
The destination is a grassy knoll shaded by mature oaks just inside the main gate at the Museum in an area known as “Miniature Land”. Berthe greeted the one exhibitor who was there ahead of us with much slobbers and tail wags but she was far less happy when I tied her to a tree while machinery was unloaded - she wasn’t sure if she was being abandoned, tied to an oak tree, but she watched quietly with that “You haven’t forgotten about me, have you?” look on her face as I drove away to store the trailer. When the bus was parked and ready for occupancy and Berthe’s chain attached to the trailer hitch, she quickly adapted to the concept of “the bus-is-home” and checked out her territory which included half of a picnic table - everything she could reach on her 20 foot chain - especially the large shaded area under the bus. (Temperatures ran 30 degree C,  90 degree F, or better the whole time.) One of the first tasks, of course, was to take Berthe down to the wood pile and let her pick out a suitable stick to chew. She found a knotted old piece of branch that struck her fancy and brought it back to the bus.
When I got Berthe from Kathy Reid (Mason’s) I had asked for an outgoing and bold puppy and oh boy did she deliver! Berthe quickly developed her own technique for “working the crowd” during the show. She would sit in the middle of her territory and hang her head whenever a new group of people approached, giving that “I am a poor neglected puppy” look to the newcomers.  Of course the people would say, “Oh what a sweet puppy!” and go over to give her some strokes. She would approach them, head lowered and tentatively (all part of the act!!!) as if she didn’t have a friend in the world! She would sit at their feet and look at them over her shoulder, giving her best Bloodhound face, and encouraging more strokes for as long as she could hold them. When the people would wander away, she would repeat the same performance with the next group - as if she hadn’t had any attention in weeks!!
During the heat of the day, she would sleep in the shade under the bus, safe from little kids, but when I had to be away from the bus (as for meals), I locked her inside where she was secure and safe. Well, Berthe showed her displeasure at being separated from her admiring fans by shredding one of my sofa cushions (on which I USED to sleep) and chewing into little bits the top of my travel mug (the only one I had taken with me, of course)! She really thought she had found the solution to being locked in when she stole the padlock for the back door of the bus and tried to hide it!
On Sunday Berthe got tied to the oak tree again as the machinery got loaded on the trailer and off we went for another 3 hour drive. Berthe seemed happy to be on the road again (despite the heat) and, when we arrived home, it took her a few moments to recognize where we were. There was a joyous(??) reunion with Cloie the cat and then we all retired to the air-conditioned comfort of the house for a long sleep!
I promised Berthe that if she was good she could go every year. Except for the I’m-a-miffed-puppy chewing and her insistence on sharing a cot sized sleeping space with me, she was well behaved and a pleasure to have around so I guess I’ll have to live up to my promise and take the little show stealer back again next year.

Bugs Beware
August 14, 2000
Well, well. Berthe the Bloodhound has developed a new trait.
Berthe has always liked chasing things that fly. So funny to watch her chase across the yard after a Robin in the grass. The Robin would fly up to a tree branch and Berthe would follow her - well, sort of. Berthe just couldn’t figure it out - “If that thing can  go up there, why can’t I get off the ground, I keep falling back!” She would be directly under the branch where the bird rested 20 feet above her and she would leap and leap and leap as if the bird were only inches beyond her grasp. You could tell from the look on her face that she figured she should be able to fly but couldn’t get it to work right! Poor puppy....
Well, Her Highness has developed something new - bug eating! Anything that moves that isn’t quick enough to get away from her becomes a snack. Moths, butterflies, spiders, June bugs (ugh!!). Doesn’t seem to matter if it is crunchy or mushy, it is lunch! She just loves to root up big crunchy June bugs from the grass and eat them in front of me. I guess she likes that shade of green that I turn when I see bug legs sticking out of those floppy jowls just before hearing “Crunch!”
I know my dog is weird but does anybody else’s hound eat bugs???

Berthe passed away on 30 May 2008 at the age of 8 years of a ruptured abdominal tumour.
She is gone but never to be forgotten.

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