Farewell to a Good Dog

December 11th, 2009

We lost a friend yesterday.  A part of the family for many years.  Twelve to be exact.  He was born on December 10th, 1997.  And yesterday we sadly had to help him across that final threshold of life, on the very day of his birth.

His name was Justin, and he was a good dog.  A bit smelly and drooly, but a fine old friend.  He lived at Fox Haven for many of his twelve years, even while we were far overseas.  If ever a dog had a happy, carefree life, it was he.

For a Basset Hound, he was remarkably healthy and strong.  He would roam the property and follow us just about everywhere.   He loved to be close, and would settle down wherever I was working and fall asleep.  This year he slept a lot more.  I would tiptoe around the outside of the house so I didn’t wake him, but as soon as I got started working somewhere I would hear “Oowwoo…arf! arf! Oowoooo!” as he came looking for me.   I would see him with his magical nose, sniffing the ground and tracing my steps until he saw me.  He would trot up wagging his tail and settle down somewhere nearby to sleep. Often he would wake up an hour or two later wondering where everybody went.

Last weekend when we cut the cedar tree down for Grandma, the basset hound wanted to come along as usual.  Wandering around with us was about his favorite thing to do, and especially riding in the little golf cart.  That night I was putting the cart in the barn, and as I sat down Justin came running up to jump inside for his ride…  this year he  couldn’t jump in as well and would put his head and front paws up and I would help him in.  We rode for about twenty feet and parked… it didn’t matter how far, he was just happy to have the ride.


A few days ago the boy and I were in the barn with the woodstove going, and a couple dogs and a cat to keep us company.  Justin settled down behind the warm stove and took a nap for a few hours.

His fur was very warm, almost too hot to the touch.  He enjoyed that very much. I didn’t have my camera, but took this picture with my cell phone for some reason.

When it was time to go I nudged him until he looked up and I coaxed him outside again.  He was getting a little more confused this year…  In a way, he was such good company that I didn’t even notice him most of the time. But I usually always waited for him, and let him in and out of the barn, up in the golf cart, or wherever else he followed.

While building the shed these past couple of months he was always there. The past couple of weeks he would climb up in the shed and lay down to sleep. Then when I was back outside he would bark and whine to be helped down because he couldn’t figure out how to get down.

He still liked to play though, and he loved Kuma the Shiba Inu.  They slept in the kennel together and Justin followed Kuma everywhere.   If we put Justin in the kennel for the night and Kuma wasn’t there, he would yowl and cry until he came too.   Kuma was a little grouchy at times as the alpha dog, sometimes nipping Justin’s ears.  He didn’t care, he still wanted to be with him.   They kept watch together, welcomed us home together and wandered the fields together.   In the mornings they would even play together in the driveway.


Of course anywhere the boy and I went, or the other animals, Justin had to follow. We often gave him apple cores and he loved them. When the boy ate an apple, Justin would follow him around and the boy would yell, “Apple dog! Apple dog!” and run away. Justin would go “Woof!” and chase him.


Especially if it was around the pond.


On school days I would bring the yellow lab and Justin with me to meet the boy at the bus.  He loved that and would wag his tail when the boy came running off the bus. We would explore the pond or check out the fruit trees along the way.  Sometimes I would try to sneak off without him and let him sleep.  And I was worried he might wander off somewhere and get lost.  I found him about a half mile away last year, at the bottom of a valley.   No matter how I tried to sneak away though- he would still wake up and somehow know where I was.   Five minutes later here came the basset hound trotting up the driveway or through the fields.   His nose led the way…


Often we would see him exploring with Princess the cat.  He was so gentle that the cats seemed to accept him.  Princess liked to come by and rub his muzzle as if to say hello.


If any of the dogs got in the pickup truck, Justin yowled to go too.  He just loved car rides.  Yesterday, while he was sick and I was getting the car ready, he even tried to jump up on the bumper, ready to go as always.


He loved to roam the garden, but we tried to keep him out so he didn’t stomp all over everything.  In September I even watched him walk up and pull a big juicy tomato off the plant for a snack!


When he did have something of his own or a favorite spot to lie down, he would go “Woo! Woooo!” to the yellow lab.  The labrador is a master of sneaking food from the other dogs, and Justin would bark and chase him away.


If you sat down on the ground or anywhere else he could reach you, he might give you a big slobbery kiss when you least expected it!



But mostly he would find a comfy place in the sun and just snuggle up for a nap.


He was just friendly and lovable, and wanted to be part of everything.  Especially if you had food to share.  And he was part of the family.


Farewell ‘ole friend.  We’ll miss you, and we are better for having shared our life with you.  You were a good dog.
Say hi to Sparky…



18 Responses to “Farewell to a Good Dog”

  1. Sad to hear. It’s been a hard year here too for dogs, we’ve lost four of our pack members in the past 11 months. Life is short for our canine cohorts.

  2. Sorry this had to happen. I’ve been through this too many times myself, and it sure is bittersweet.

    I hope the boy is taking it well enuf.

  3. Vincent

    Yes, the boy, he is going to miss the dog more than anyone. The smell of Justin has been in his nose all his life. And while the Lab seems to have -from your photos- a special connection, a new dog may not be such a bad thing.

    One question though, why on earth did you get a short legged dog, when -again from your photos- you live in the middle of no-where.

    But, there is not a person who ever lived with a dog that cannot connect with your loss.

  4. I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. Looks like he did have a great life tho!

  5. it’s always hard when we lose our furry friends. they are so good at worming their way into our hearts. i take some comfort in knowing i gave them the best life i could, as did you.

  6. R. Sherman

    My sympathies for your loss. Those who’ve never experienced the love of a good dog, don’t know how difficult such a loss can be. Those of us who have experienced it, share it with you.

  7. Ed

    My condolences on your loss. I’ve buried a lot of creatures in my life and it never seems to get any easier though the memories always get sweeter.

  8. Beau: Wonderful post and you all have my sympathies! I’ve been where you are many time, and also lost Fritz, my oldest Dachshund, last year. My dogs are like my children (really they are since I have no children) and I love them dearly. Fritz made it though, and while he’s blind and a lot slower these days (he’s 13) he’s hanging in there just fine. I hope as the days pass..your pain becomes less…and you’ll be happy in your memories. Take care!

  9. Thanks for the kind words everyone! The boy went through this first hand with the cat last year, and again this week. He layed out on the hill petting the Shiba the next day, recognizing the frailty of life. Justin’s short little legs and bones were very thick and powerful… and his endurance was amazing for wandering over hill and dale. I really appreciate the comments :)

  10. Sorry about your loss, that was a touching tribute to a wonderful dog. I like Bassett Hounds but have never had one.

  11. pamela

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I agree with Ed- it doesn’t get any easier, but how lucky for your family that he was a member.

  12. I just stumbled upon your site after Googling basset hound pictures. I am so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful tribute to Justin the basset hound. Sounds like he was a wonderful member of your family, and loved very much. I recently lost my basset hound too, and miss her so much.

  13. Hi BassetMom- Thanks for you kind words… I’m sorry for your loss too. They sure do become part of one’s life in so many ways. I enjoyed reading about Sully’s life- our Justin looked a lot like her! Your sites are beautiful…

  14. Baluh

    lindo seu cão..adotei uma basset hound essa semana de uma ong aqui de Pelotas-rs ela foi encontrada em um lixão e agora está recuperada…trouxe para minha casa e vai viver uma velhice longa e feliz agora, estava vendo fotos de basset e achei o seu igual a ela…parabéns pelas fotos

    “…beautiful dog .. I adopted a basset hound this week of an NGO Pelotas-rs here it was found in a garbage dump and is now recovered … brought to my house and will live a long and happy old age now, I was seeing pictures of basset and I thought your like her congratulations for the photos …”

  15. Baluh- Thanks for your comments and visit- You have joined the ranks of those who love slobbery long-eared pups with big sad eyes! And that’s a lucky dog to have made such a journey to your home :) Peace and best wishes…

  16. Carolyn

    Just came across your wonderful story about Justin. I loved reading about him and the pictures were beautiful. I’ve had Bassets my whole life, and just lost one last April, so almost a year. They are the best dogs ever. I’m sorry for your loss. Justin sounds like a truly special dog, a true basset. Take Care and thanks for sharing.

  17. Monica

    Sorry for your loss. We lost our 11 yr old Rottweiler Buffy in 2011. Like Justin, she always wanted to accompany our other rescues on truck rides (Daddy had to lift her 150 lbs up and down) and walks around the fields, although she’d finally reached the stage where her hips were failing her, so instead he take her in the truck after the others walked. She was a slobbery kisser and a lapdog, and loved everyone. Not really a guard dog, though people who didn’t know her thought she looked fearsome. She died in her sleep, and we’ll always miss her. I loved your “Corn Dog” photo. that was sweet.

  18. Thanks Monica (and Carolyn!)… I’ve been “away” for awhile :) I appreciate your stories and thoughts, and for visiting… best regards!

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