Yesterday, Bob drove Emme and me to meet a tricolor, roughly six-year-old basset hound named Lewis at the BARC animal shelter in Williamsburg. Abbe came along, too.
I wisened up this time and asked Bob to take Emme away while Abbe and I were introduced to Lewis, who hadn't been neutered yet. There's no way I was going to try to compete for Lewis's attention with Miss Shake It But Don't Break It, at least not right away. Lewis turned out to be as friendly as advertised. He was interested in me right away. And he was interested in Abbe, but she was a little intimidated by him. He's a big dog: 58 pounds, which is near the top of the range for bassets, according to a book I have that lists all of the dog breeds and their characteristics.
And as we walked around, just the three of us, and, later, after Bob and Emme joined us, Lewis was interested in the people and dogs we passed. Just a few feet from BARC's door, two women oohed and aahed over Lewis and told Abbe what a lucky girl she was to be getting Lewis as a dog after I told them we had just picked him up at BARC.
When we caught up with Bob and Emme, Lewis was interested in her right away. Emme was mostly tolerant of him; she got annoyed with him a couple of times, mostly when he got right up in her face. Eventually, I took both dogs' leashes in one hand. Emme growled at Lewis a couple times to tell him to back off, but she allowed him to lick her ear toward the end. And he continued to show interest in me and let me pet on him quite a bit. It was looking like a match.
At one point, I took Lewis up and down a short set of stairs to see how he handled them. I have a flight of stairs leading up to my apartment door that Emme refuses to go down. I think that's because they're not solid metal and maybe Emme is afraid she'll get caught or fall through or something. Anyhow, I'd want Lewis to be able to go up and down them without difficulty because he'd be quite a heavy load to have to transport. He handled those stairs without any problem, though they weren't as imposing as the ones at my place.
I walked the pooches for a little while by myself before returning to BARC, and everything seemed right. When I got back to the shelter, I told them I wanted to take Lewis.
It all seemed like a cosmic setup. I had faxed my application over on Thursday after calling to get BARC's fax number. While I was out getting lunch, the woman who appears to run BARC, based on what I saw yesterday, left me a message asking me when I wanted to pick Lewis up! Then she caught herself and said she wanted to make sure I'd visited him already. I called her back to tell her I hadn't met him yet, but I wanted to visit on Saturday.
Lewis* was also an enticing name because Emme's nicknames include "Emmylou" and "Sweet Lou." I'm planning to pick a new name for him because I think Emme should hold title to all names involving the "loo" sound.
Lewis is going to be neutered on Friday, and I can pick him up on Saturday. Last night and today, I was freaking a little bit, thinking about the commitment I'd made to this big dog. I'm used to dogs you can pick up and carry around with ease and ones that aren't so, well, drooly. And I'm also concerned about how Emme is going to handle her new baby brother. She's been the only dog here for about four months now.
I'm also thinking of my boy Cody. Even if Lewis turns out to be a great dog—and I'm optimistic he will—he'll never be another Cody.
Tracey and David used to have a basset hound named Murray who I quickly fell in love with. My Dad asked me yesterday before I went to see Lewis whether I was sure I wanted to get a basset. He said Murray was the dumbest dog he'd ever met. (It's true that Murray wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.) I told him that Emme is too smart for her own good, so if Lewis turns out to be dumb, they'll average each other out.
Pat took care of a female basset hound several years ago for a friend who got married to a man who had a delicate, female miniature schnauzer. He was afraid of putting the two dogs together, so Pat took temporary custody of the basset, Cleo, until the mini schnauzer, DeeBee, passed away. Pat has many fond memories of Cleo.
And I'm sure that after I pick up Lewis (or whatever name I decide to give him; I'm leaning toward Rudy) on Saturday, I'll begin making fond memories with my new boy, too.
*The guy at the shelter pronounced Lewis's name like the French king, but that spelling would seem to call for pronouncing it like the explorer who hung out with Clark.
UPDATE on April 16: I fixed the reason why Pat took in Cleo; I had misremembered her story. I had asked Pat to read the post and let me know whether I'd gotten it right.
I was thinking today that people might think I named Rudy after Rudy Giuliani, who I'm not a big fan of. Screw it. I like the name, and I'm not going to reject it based on what people might think. Rudy works for me because a) it's a cute name—almost as cute as little Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show, b) it sort of rhymes with the name he was being called at the shelter, so he should adjust to the new name pretty easily, and c) it's enough like Cody to be a tribute to him as well.
I was also thinking today that Emme will have no trouble dealing with Rudy. She'll probably have him wrapped around her little paw in about two days.