I didn’t fully understand what I was getting into when I chose to adopt a hound. I’d heard rumors that hounds were willful, stubborn, and oblivious to direction after picking up a scent, but those warnings flew from my mind when I met Daisy at the Blue Ridge Humane Society, looked into those woeful eyes and stroked her long, soft ears. I was smitten.
The first time Daisy caused a major coronary event was about five days after we adopted her. Following her spay surgery, I took her to my mom’s house to convalesce away from her 9-month-old brother Titus, with whom she liked to engage in round-the-clock WrestleMania. I gave her free roam of the fenced backyard, which had always been a secure space to contain Titus. However, after a particularly long Zoom meeting on the third day at Mom’s, I went looking for Daisy, and she was nowhere to be found.
My mom lives in a remote, heavily wooded area with poor cell service, so even though Daisy was wearing a collar with my number on it, I knew that wouldn’t help. I ran through the woods and along the lake path, calling her name while thinking, What are the chances she’ll recognize her name already? And why would she come to me? We barely know each other! Finally, I grabbed Mom’s landline from inside and called my husband to tell him I’d lost our new dog. But as soon as I made my confession, I heard the wonderful sound of a tag jingling against a collar. As it turned out, Daisy was standing next to my car in the driveway. I let JR know she’d reappeared, walked her back into the yard, and closed the gate. She looked from me to the gate, then leapt over it like a gazelle. Happily on the other side, she turned to me with an expression like: Did you see me? How cool was that? I told her it was not cool at all and marched her inside.
I wasn’t used to this kind of behavior. Our other dog, Titus, is a giant. He could probably step over the fence in Mom’s backyard, but he has respect for boundaries. Daisy sees them more as a fun challenge to overcome.
Daisy has escaped from the house on several occasions. Most times, we’ve found her nearby, hanging out on someone’s porch or visiting a neighbor’s dogs through their fence. One time, though, JR found her far from the house, soaking wet and looking quite proud of herself. We’re still unsure what happened there.
Since we have a six-foot stockade fence encircling our backyard, for the first year we had Daisy, I felt perfectly safe leaving her outside unsupervised. However, that all changed when she chased a squirrel across the yard full-tilt and ended up vaulting over the fence like a goddamn Olympian. It was a drizzly Sunday morning in winter, and JR and I had to go outside in our pajamas to fetch her. Thankfully, she was standing right on the other side of the fence with a bewildered, How did I get here? look on her furry face.
JR and my anniversary was on April 1st, and we rented an AirBNB in Hot Springs to celebrate. The main living area, on the second story of the house, featured a lovely, wraparound deck, the backside of which butted up against the forest. The moment our backs were turned, Daisy took the opportunity to bound off the deck, clamber up a steep cliffside (we could see her claw marks in the dirt) and disappear into the woods. After twenty minutes of running around, calling her name, JR found her at the edge of the property, far from the house and right next to a busy road. She’d rolled in something disgusting, so we had to give her a bath, which caused her to explode into earsplitting vocalizations like a deranged, half-man, half-turkey being throttled to death. Seriously. When she’s amped up like that, she sounds 0% like a dog.
We’ve managed to capture some photos that highlight Daisy’s true, unhinged personality, like this:
And entirely unlike this: