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Owning a Basset Hound Can Be Hazardous…
by Chris Oliver, Whitby.
We lived in Grosmont, North Yorkshire when we acquired our first Basset Hound. She was a pup from a local breeder and had a broken tail which wrapped around her bottom, so no good for showing! We already had two Golden Retrievers and ‘Rue Basset’ fitted into our family very well.
We exercised the dogs through the National Car Park woods, where we now commence ’friends of Basset Hound Welfare’ St. George’s Day walk. It had rained for several weeks non-stop, the floor of the woods was saturated and the river was a raging torrent with waters flooding down the valley. We set off through the woods; dogs barking happily and darting back and forth on scents from the wildlife; my three sons throwing sticks and enjoying the fresh air. Through the woods the path meandered down towards the river, where a derelict wooden bridge spanned the water towards Priory Park and farmland. This bridge hadn’t been used for years and a large sign indicating that the bridge was unsafe was attached to a barbed-wire fence. In fact it was more than unsafe. Half the wooden treads were missing or broken, leaving large gaps in the bridge floor. Today of all days, one of our Retrievers decided to explore the bridge. She shot over the bridge, dancing around the gaping holes. Rue, the Basset pup followed. Once over the other side, they had a quick sniff about and the Retriever bounded back over the bridge leaving the pup on the far river bank.
I knew that Rue would try and come back towards us but she took the nearest route down to the waters’ edge. I shouted but my voice couldn’t be heard over the roar of the swirling waters below. She edged nearer to the water. I feared she would be swept away and we would never see her again. My only route was across the bridge. I was terrified. The river was so strong it was vibrating the bridge to the extent that I couldn’t stand up on the slippery wooden planks. I got down on my hands and knees and started to inch my way across, watching the pup and trying to keep her attention. The holes in the bridge were wide and I could see below the vast expanse of fast-moving water. I slowly moved along and eventually reached the far steps to the waters’ edge and the Basset. There was no way I was coming back over the bridge, so I walked the pup across fields to the road bridge and back to the car park. I was shaking like a leaf!
This is a true account, showing the lengths we Basset owners will go to keep our wonderful hounds safe. I still recount this story with disbelief but I know that all you Basset mums and dads would have done exactly the same.
Or is it just me who is totally mad!!
This story was first published in the ‘friends of Basset Hound Welfare’ newsletter In Your Own Time edition 72
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