I did not want a dog. I was adamant to my husband of this. I'd never had an indoor dog, and was not sure i wanted the responsibility. He pushed, saying it was the next logical step before we had kids. We went to the animal shelter to "look" - my undoing. My husband asked the lady working if there were any basset hounds (he'd always wanted one), and she said they'd just gotten 2 in, but thought they were bagles, not true bassets (crossed with a beagle). We looked anyway, and "Ralph" just leapt into his arms, crying and kissing. Then he did it to me, and I couldn't say no. We had to wait until he'd been in the shelter for the required time and had all of his veterinary appointments before adopting him.

I have dozens of funny stories about Ralph from his life with us over the 5 years following his adoption, and I promise to share as many of them as I can in different postings. My memories are all I have left, as he suffered from horribly debilitating arthritis the last few months of December, and after deciding I could not possibly watch him suffer. I asked the vet if there was anything i could do for my Ralphie, but he couldn't come up with anything we could afford and that was guaranteed to help, so we agreed that at his age (he was near 10 years old) it would be best to just put him down. My husband, I, our 4-year-old daughter, even our neighbor and her 6-year-old daughter cried that whole day. He now sits in a little white tin box with paw prints on it on a display shelf next to some seasonal decorations and an antique blue vase. My daughter wants to bury him in the back yard when it warms up, and plant a rose bush there, calling them "Ralphie's Roses" so even in death he can brighten our lives every day - what a wonderfully insightful, thoughtful now-5-year-old daughter I have!

Ralphie was our protector, my "little man' as I always called him. He wouldn't even let me go to the bathroom alone. We'd had Ralphie for only a few months when we discovered I was finally pregnant! He would lie under the crib, even before she was born. She was his responsibility, and he was serious about his job as protector. This meant he and my daughter were extremely close. With both of my girls, i NEVER worried about him being cross with them. I recall my youngest, only 6 months or so before we put him down, pulling her 7-month-old self in her walker over to where Ralphie was lying in the living room chair. She smacked at his nose a little - he laid perfectly still. She grabbed his wet nose in her hand (I'm sure her fingernails dug in a little) and he simply pulled his nose back, turned, sneezed, rubbed his nose on his paw, and then PUT IT BACK FOR HER TO GRAB AGAIN! He did this 4 or 5 times before she finally moved on to play with something else!! Another testament to his unwavering patience with my daughters is when the oldest, then barely 4, decided to "make Ralphie pretty" and color his head with a purple marker...

We have a 5-year-old female purebred Basset too, and a 7-month-old German Shepherd/Blue Heeler, and 3 long-haired cats... quite the zoo! But I know I'll never, EVER find a "replacement" for my Ralphie, my Bagle, my little man.

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1 Response Mar 10, 2010

Thank you for sharing. <br />
I too adopted my Trixie from the pound, she was around 4. She is a pure Basset, and she has brought nothing but wonderful things into my life. I've had her fro 6 fun filled years and just found out she had bad kidney problems. She is very lethargic and just not herself. the vet said it's down to months now, so I am struggling on what to do. it will truly be the saddest day of my life, and I've already lost both of my parents, so that's saying a whole lot. I've never had kids so she truly is my baby....But I can not bear to see her looking so old and helpless. It was nice to know others share such a deep love and affection for their animals.<br />
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Thanks again for sharing.