A few years ago I was taking a walk in a local dog off-leash park. I love seeing the owners with their dogs enjoying this wooded area and the quiet reflection time that can be experienced in the middle of Toronto.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the cutest mixed breed I have ever seen running along. I found myself walking faster to catch up and see her at a closer distance. Picture a black Basset Hound body with a lab tail and spectacular Basset ears. I have read that Shakespeare has been quoted saying the Bassets have “ears which sweep away the morning dew.” She portrays his sentiments exactly! Her legs are similar to a Basset in size, but her front left turns out as if in a ballet stance! Her paws are probably more lab/retriever like in shape and design, with her front left paw being the only exception. Her face is a mixture of retriever and lab. Her fur is like a lab’s – thick and straight but not shaggy. I have noticed over the years that in the sunlight her fur has a slight brown tinge in some areas, but it is very subtle. She has a tiny smudge of white in the middle of her chest.
I approached her owner to find out more about this darling dog. I found out that the dog’s name was Zoey and that Shelley the owner had a yellow lab as well. I mentioned her dog reminded me of a book I had as a child where you could flip pages with animal top halves and bottoms to create a whimsical creature. Zoey was one of those alive and in action running full tilt investigating the trails, hopeful a squirrel would appear and a chase would be ignited.
I was interested in Zoey’s story and have learned how she came to be. Shelley and Greg had Maggie, the yellow lab, but at age nine she was starting to slow down a bit and was no longer her spunky self. When nothing showed up medically their vet suggested perhaps adding a second dog to their family. The vet said sometimes it brings back the life and “bounce” a dog previously had.
So, for the second time around, they decided to search for a mixed breed puppy needing a home. After some ground work Zoey was discovered on Kijijii by Shelley; a young couple had placed the ad. The couple had recently been away for a month and had someone look after their female Basset Hound. Upon their return the caregiver mentioned the Basset had really been hungry and the owners could see a lot of weight gain. They eventually went to their vet and found out the dog was days away from giving birth to 8 puppies!
All were born black with huge ears. Shelley went to see them at three weeks and committed to return for one a few weeks later. They had no idea who the “father” was or how big she would get – quite a gamble!
After being asked many times by people in the parks and on the street Zoey’s new family wondered too what was in her DNA and found a company called Viaguard or dnamydog.com. The result came back 50/50 Basset Hound and Flat Coated Retriever.
Maggie their lab and Zoey became the best of friends and had wonderful years together before Maggie died of old age. I have been very fortunate to get to know their family as great friends and to watch their daughter Elley growing up. We as a family get to enjoy Zoey when she comes to board and the attention she brings when out on a stroll. She always brings a smile to people’s faces with her strut; tail up straight, eyes focused ahead and on occasion a deep bark stemming from her Basset heritage!
She is quite the cuddler and literally curves her long body to fit onto your lap which we find adorable. She enjoys the water and chasing squirrels or a ball for enjoyment. The only negative has been years of off and on stomach upsets which are unpredictable and her owners have researched solutions for an answer. Smaller more frequent meals seem to do the trick.
Recently this family of dog lovers added a new addition to keep Zoey young and to try out a smaller dog for variety. Daisey is the new puppy and is a Long Haired Dachshund. The pair are pretty cute with their long torsos.
So when you are out on a walk either on your own or with a pooch do not hesitate to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger; they may become a treasured friend and their family dogs included!
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