Bassets: Are They Couch Potatoes?
Most people think of a basset hound as the perfect couch-potato dog. Most bassets are low key, don’t disturb my sleep kind of dogs. Many also claim that because basset hounds are stubborn by nature (after all, they were bred to follow their nose and get that rabbit out of the briar patch) are therefore difficult to train, and few expect them to be obedient. I have had bassets in my life for over 30 years. Some of my bassets were downright stubborn and I learned to follow their commands. Others, especially my current 9-year-old basset obeys me simply because she loves me. But recently, after following a new “friend” in Facebook, I found out about a basset who can do something that never in my wildest dream did I imagine a basset being able to do. He just recently became a CS-ATCH, which I found out means Canine Specialist Agility Trial Champion. His name is Diesel, and his slave or guardian (I hate the name “owner”) is Shelly Nowicki Gordon who is the president and intake coordinatior of ABC Basset Hound Rescue of NY.
So let’s find out a little bit about this amazing hound. Diesel, according to Shelly, came from a backyard breeder (BYB). Most of the rescue bassets come either from BYB or puppy mill because a bona-fide breeder will take your hound back if for some reason you need to have it rehomed. So don’t be fooled when you purchase a basset. It doesn’t matter that they have AKC papers, as the American Kennel Club is not vigilant about what type of breeders are breeding the dogs. Anyway, if you are to get a BYB dog, you might as well get a rescued dog. It’ll make room for new rejected dogs to be rehomed rather than facing euthanasia in a shelter.
Anyway, back to Diesel’s story. Diesel and his sister Andi were purchased together. But the person who bought them could not housetrain them (bassets take up to 18 months to realize that the grass “carpet” and not the indoor carpet is the place to go). This person, however, did the right thing. She didn’t take the dogs to the shelter, where more than likely they meet death within a few days, she took them to ABC rescue. At ABC, foster homes were set up, and the person changed her mind. She was going to try and work with them.
A month passed by and ABC was called again. The dogs had to go. The person (female) could not housetrain them. The original fosters homes were full, so Shelly offered to help by fostering one of them. She figured that as they were only 7 months old, they would soon be adopted. Shelly chose to foster the male hound (Diesel), since she always had males.
The joke was on Shelly. For some reason, nobody wanted to adopt Diesel. And after few weeks, Diesel was adopted by the Gordon family. Lucky for Diesel, Shelly had a friend who was working agility with her basset hounds, which spurn Shelly to try to sign Diesel up for agility class.
So Diesel was taking classes, but it was not until the same friend who talked Shelly to take classes talked her to sign him up for local trials. At the first trial, Diesel surprised every one by getting the red ribbon for second place. Shelly was hooked.
Diesel Gets His Ribbons
Three years later, Diesel got the CS-ATCH that he and his slave were working so hard for. An exhuberant Shelly says that the day Diesel got his CS-ATCH was “ One of the best days of my life. From a dog that couldn’t be housebroken…to a dog that can do a teeter and weave poles.”
An exchange student from Germany who lived with the Gordons once said, “Diesel will do anything to make [Shelly] happy.” Shelly says that, “Standing at the start line next to me, running with him for 40–60 seconds, and crossing the finish line together…that makes me happy. Ribbons or no ribbons. He’s a great teammate and I’m honored that he was chosen for me.”
Diesel’s Triumphant Moment
It’s just awesome to see Diesel confidently go through the entire agility course. So, if you are into doing some agility work and want to have a basset. Don’t hesitate, if the dog loves you and you work hard together, you will be a great team.
And here’s a nice side note: In 2008, Diesel’s mom (Eeyore) was for sale in the paper. Shelly convinced the owner to turn her in to rescue. And she adopted her too. She’s a therapy dog and goes to a nursing home on Tuesdays.
As you can see, bassets rock. They are not for couches only, anymore.
By the way, if you live in the Northern NY state area and want to adopt a basset please contact ABC Basset Hound Rescue of NY.