I did say that some day I would tell you about Rufus Magee, after seeing the picture of Butterscotch the Basset on today's puppy I figured this would be the day.
In Molly and the Vampire: A Sensible woman learns ect. (that title is too darn long) You meet a Basset Hound named Murphy. He was created as a remembrance of My big old boy, Rufus Magee. Now when I adopted him from the Sacramento SPCA he was already 8 years old and his name was Beau. The name had to go. It's not that I have anything against that name; it would be a fine name for a Basset. Unfortunately, at that time my mother had a very small, very cute Beagle named Beau. You can see how that could be a bit confusing.
As I've said, Beau was small for a Beagle and really cute. He had the darkest eyes and these little worry wrinkles between his eyes. Yes, Beau was cute, he was also demented. I have always suspected that he had escaped from a hospital for the enormously weird.
Rufus on the other hand, was not demented. He had a great big heart and the gentlest soul I have ever known. He was also a picture perfect Basset. That means that he was a big dog with massively heavy bones, soft eyes, broad chest, triple the amount of skin needed to cover his body, pony sized feet, and legs that were about 2 inches long. Some people think that adds up to funny looking. SOME PEOPLE NEED GLASSES.
You may have guessed that I am fond of the breed. You would be right. I've had four of them and they were wonderful.
If you have ever had one, then you already know, but for all you unfortunate people who have never been loved by a Basset you have to remember one important thing. Do not under any circumstances let them out without a leash. And I don't mean you can just hook one on your baby and let go. Hold on to the other end of that sucker with everything you've got. Remember, what's on the other end of that leash is a nose that is second only to a bloodhound and a focused determination the likes of which you've never known. Remember the massively heavy bones I mentioned? They are all wrapped up in muscle, and being as low to the ground as they are they aren't likely to tip over. They will trip over their own ears, especially as puppies. But come on, how cute is that?
Now Rufus would escape out the front door every now and then. I never figured out how he did it. Yes, he was short, but even taking that into account he was a whole lot of dog to miss seeing as he pusher past your ankle. I was lucky because he was old and tired easily. He always went in the same direction, and always stopped in the yard three houses down from ours. He was tired and his nose had been satisfied. It was a boring suburban neighborhood and nothing interesting was leaving a trail worth following. The lady of that house would come knocking on my door to let me know that he was sitting on her lawn watching the cars go by and I would go down and fetch him home. The first couple of times it scared me silly. The thought of loosing him ... well, I didn't want to think about it. After that, it became obvious that he had no intention of leaving me, he just enjoyed a little sight seeing.