Welcome to The Wilbur Basset Blog! Let me introduce you to Wilbur with a story first published on my other blog – The Occasional Dragonfly.
With his droopy eyes, long ears and short, stumpy legs, most people who come into contact with Wilbur usually mistake him for an old, lazy dog that maybe found his way into the liquor cabinet a few too many times. A reasonable assumption perhaps, but don’t let his appearance fool you.
Wilbur, and every other Basset Hound I know, are professional con artists – thieves, hooligans, marauders – in disguise. Bassets may have been originally bred way back in the 1500’s to track rabbits, fox, squirrels using their keen sense of smell, but in this new millennia, living in the lap of luxury, they have given into their true nature – pulling the life-long con.
We adopted Wilbur when he was just 8 weeks old. He was a handful from the get-go! He would play non-stop until he dropped suddenly to sleep. And when he woke, it started all over again. Not a big deal – we were expecting this. What we were not expecting was his obsession with all things food. And his single-minded determination to eat everything in (and out of) sight.
One of my first walks with Wilbur was around our city neighbourhood. As with all puppies, Wilbur attracted a considerable amount of attention. Everyone – young, old and in-between – had to stop to pet Wilbur. They would ooh and ahh over his long silky ears, and his goofy grin; comment on his short little legs. And then suddenly, in mid conversation, gasp in shock and dismay as the cookie or slice of pizza they were holding would disappear.
Wilbur was an embarrassment. We took him to obedience school where he excelled at sit, stay, play dead and even recall, but the minute food was introduced he reverted to Wilbur, Super Thief. Whenever we had people in for dinner they would have to be warned – “Whatever you do, protect your food!” They would laugh. Clearly they underestimated the stealth abilities of the hound, and the next thing you heard would be “He stole my burger!” Yup, told you.
The sad thing is, after six years of having Wilbur in our lives, we still fall victim to his larcenous behavior. You cannot get cocky and turn away from the counter for one second if you hope to protect the sandwich you are making. He could be on the other side of the room, the other side of the house even, and he will feel an opportunity and take it. Wilbur 1, Human 0.
A couple years back I had decided to make a Gingerbread House for Christmas, from scratch mind you. I baked all of the pieces, then my daughter and I spent hours putting it together and decorating it. We had just put it up on the stovetop to set, when along came Wilbur. The rest is history…or what we call The Basset Effect.