Calhoune 
January 1994 - November 24, 2003

 
Basset Hound Rescue of So. Calif.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went."  ~~  Will Rogers

Sabrina & Allan

In loving memory of Calhoune... 

There was nobody like Calhoune. You may have seen him on Animal Planet on Breed All About It; or on his cookbook of dog treats, Cooking with Calhoune. His photo was in The Basset Hound Owners Survival Guide (p. 72), with his first cat Freya. Calhoune loved kitties; he was so gentle to every living thing (except maybe his brother). Sweetie Pie was a feral cat in our neighborhood who used to follow our Freya into the house and sneak food. Not long after our Freya died, I went into the hall in the middle of a cold rainy night and found Sweetie Pie curled up against Calhoune, encircled by his long body.

When Calhoune and Brendan first came to live with us they were one year old rescues with no manners. Allanís parents came to visit, along with his Grandma, 93 years old, 4'9" tall, and walking with a cane. We very carefully escorted the family from the front into the house, controlling Calhoune and Brendan so they didnít jump; finally inside, Grandma sat down in a rocking chair near the door and I turned to greet Allanís parents. I heard high pitched giggling behind me. Grandma was leaned all the way back in the rocking chair and Calhoune, feet on her lap, was licking her face.

Calhoune was a great kisser. I liked to sit on the floor and call him over for kisses and hugs. He would heft his feet onto my shoulders and kiss me while I hugged him. Eighty pounds of softness and skin, he was perfect for hugging. He was a therapy dog for five years with the local SPCA; he went to a home for abused and abandoned children, so they could hug him and get kisses.

Calhoune was the brightest dog I ever knew. When he started his basic obedience class and the teacher taught "sit" Calhoune was the only dog in class who had to get up. The truth was, he would only work because of delicious treats he was promised. A true Pavlov dog, he became conditioned to drool in anticipation of the next treat. He was such a good learner that he was invited back to the introductory session for the next class. Calhoune did a sit, stay while the teacher introduced him, all the while drooling and getting excited about the forthcoming treat. Drool combined with heavy breathing, and Calhoune sat in the center of the class blowing giant bubbles. He was so smart... not long ago, I was trying to teach our Golden Retriever to get the ball so we could go outside and play; she would pick it up, drop it, then head for the door. I kept steering her to the ball but she just couldnít figure it out. Calhoune, watching from his couch, finally tired of listening to me. He hurumped, got down off of his couch, picked up the ball, and brought it to me.  So clever... when we got home we were greeted at the door by Calhoune, and we dropped down to pet him. If there were several people arriving or, for some reason, Calhoune didn't think he was being paid enough attention, he would pick up a stuffed animal and wave it so we'd notice him more. We called it "get your baby" and Calhoune soon learned to do it on command.

Calhoune spent a good deal of his life on his couch. In the early days sitting on this tapestry loveseat, I took him to the vet because I thought he had warts on his feet; the vet said, "these arenít warts, they're calluses. Does he spent a lot of time on cement." I explained that he touched cement only briefly a few times a day on his way to his toilet. The vet said, "then he has couch calluses." So we got him soft, satin trimmed blankets for his couch. Calhoune preferred to be in the house, on the couch. He didnít like to walk on grass (itís for toilet), and he didnít like to get his feet wet, ever. Fortunately, it doesnít rain much in southern California. But one rainy day, every time Calhoune got up it was still raining, and he didnít want to go outside. He held it for 16 hours. Cityboy was his nickname. He didnít like to rough it. He went camping twice (in a trailer with beds). The first trip, he stepped outside to accept a hot dog and got a fox tail up his nose. The other time he stepped around the path (to avoid some grass), and stepped on a foxtail that became embedded in his foot. No more camping for him. So we called him Cityboy.

In 1996, Calhoune and I were walking at a local park and we met another Basset Hound, Miss Molly, and her Dad Bill James (TBO). As a result of that meeting and many others, Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California was incorporated and became the organization that saves so many homeless hounds today. Bill and I continued to hold meetings in that park, invited others to join us, and Breakfast with Bassets began. Calhoune represented Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California at many events, like Pet Expo (we brought a couch into the booth), the SPCA doggie fashion show, etc. His face is on a button that BHRSC used to sell "Love the Drool." He helped me MC the Basset Spring Games one year, then relaxed with a massage.

Calhoune was a big boy, with a long body, and he was a serious counter cruiser. A friend of mine didnít believe he could reach HER kitchen counters... until she turned her back and Calhoune ate her butter. And Calhoune's terrific nose could sniff out anything. Just a few weeks ago, Allan heard an odd thunking sound traveling down the hall. We have a spare bedroom that we donít use much; but the ironing board is in there. Calhoune rarely had occasion to go in there. But I must have forgotten to close the door last time I ironed, and the sliding closet door wasnít tightly closed. So Calhoune followed his nose into the room, opened the closet, and was discovered dragging a giant cow-leg bone (his cellophane wrapped Christmas present) down the hall towards his blanket. Calhoune took all his treats to his chewing blanket in the living room. If anything was missing (like a loaf of bread), we had only to look on Calhouneís blanket to see if heíd taken it. One Saturday morning I took his blanket outside and shook it, and a dead sparrow fell out; it was a present from his cat.

If Calhoune were a character in a movie, heíd have been Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird. A gentleman through and through, with a lovely voice.

Calhoune was 9Ĺ.