2011-05-11 / Columnists
Pets, Pets, Pets
My column below is a “Basset Blast from the Past”, first published in the Beacon on September 6, 1984. At that time my pal Leslie Hill and I were volunteers for the now-extinct League for Animal Protection South Shore Chapter (LAP). We had been visiting Babylon Shelter each Saturday and co-writing “Pets” almost two years before we met the incognito, stray starlet of the following story:
This is the “tail” of a Harriet without an Ozzie. On several occasions we’ve been called upon to do dog detective work. Our clients (the dogs) are usually oblivious to all the hoopla they cause. Harriet was no exception.
Recently we received a call that the folks at the North Lindenhurst 7-11 (near the precinct) had found a Basset Hound. They rescued her after she almost caused several accidents as she leisurely strolled across Route 109. It was Friday evening and the shelter was closed. “Could LAP help out?” was the phone request.
We arranged to take her to the shelter Saturday morning, and in the meantime the store crew tried to find her owner. They soon found out that probably nothing could draw a bigger crowd of sympathetic helpers than to tie a soulful Basset to the store post with a sign: “Do You Know This Dog??” Several customers felt they recognized her. Some even drove her to suspected addresses, but no leads came through. One kind employee took the Hound home overnight. Maybe it’s just that everyone can identify with the pathetic expression on a Basset’s face.
The next morning we picked her up. Before going to the shelter we decided to take one more spin around both sides of Route 109 in case lost signs were posted. Our pooch passenger was not fazed by the trip, and promptly rested her head in a five pound box of biscuits on the car seat. Again she looked familiar to residents we met, plus she responded to every Basset name they called her. “Here, Peaches…. Hi, Clementine” brought the gal over to the window to give wags and kisses to complete strangers, yet pseudo-recognition did not bring her home.
At the shelter we heard we that we missed a couple looking for a Basset by ten minutes. One phone call revealed our client’s true identity. She was “Harriet,” a nine-year old overweight Basset who had wandered about a mile from the home of the frantic people who were dog sitting her.
While we waited for her guardians to return to the shelter, we tried calling her real name. “Harriet, Harriet”, but no response. Oh, no, could we have the wrong overweight female Basset Hound?
Finally “Harriet” spoken in a different tone of voice brought her over to plant a big, wet lick across the face. When her relieved caretakers arrived, she pretended not to hear their gentle scolding- “Harriet, what a bad girl!” Instead, she instantly fell asleep on their back seat.
The moral of our “tail”: Basset Hounds do not run away; they walk away, very slowly; and when they do, they travel under assumed names.
Update 2011: We didn’t take her photo, always Polaroids back then. However, I can still picture the unrepentant Harriet driving away in the back of her pet sitters’ car. I’ve crossed paths with many Bassets since the 7-11 mystery Hound. Although tempted to name each stray female “Harriet”, I must resist. She was the one and only.
For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St., W. Babylon: This super sweet Miniature Pinscher #94943 also likes to give kisses. She was found outside the Deer Park Post Office. Although somewhat visually impaired, she does see that she loves everyone. Meanwhile this young male yellow Lab #94050 was picked up in Wyandanch. He is goofy in that “Labbish” way, and, of course, will need the basics of obedience.
Male: “Alec” the Siberian Husky; “Santo” the German Shepherd; “Jacque” the Jack Russell Terrier.
Female: “Lucy”- black Lab/Sharpei; “Mona Lisa”, “Polly”, “Trixie” “Lydia” – Pit permutations.
Cats: “Snowball & Jules”- lovely sisters in the lobby.
*Free Rabies Vaccines for Dogs & Cats: Sat. May 21 from 10 am to 2 pm- Because of a grant from Pet Peeves, Inc., Last Hope Animal Rescue is able to host a free rabies shot clinic open to all Long Island pet owners at Babylon Town Shelter. No appointment necessary. Dogs must be leashed; cats need to be in carriers. For more info, contact 516-223-6673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Last Hope Wantagh Grand Opening Weekend: Everyone is invited to the official grand opening of Last Hope Animal Rescue’s new Wantagh Adoption Center, 3300 Beltagh Avenue (the former Bideawee Home). The Sat. June 4 festivities from 11 am to 4 pm will include a blessing of the animals and facility, balloons, face painting, raffles, jewelry sale, tours of the new shelter, and more. Then on Sunday June 5 from 11:30 to 3:30, the celebration continues with a brunch at George Martin’s Grill Fire, 33 W. Sunrise Hwy. in Merrick. Tickets are $45 per person. See www.lasthopeanimalrescue.org.