Friday, August 27, 2010

Tons of Tuckers: Norfolk Hunt Club's hound haven

"Well, Tucker," Mom said, "You would have loved it. Tons of hounds, all very well behaved, plus puppies!"

I didn't need her to tell me. I could smell those hounds on her from at least a mile away. Our friends Pete and Kate, dog trainers extraordinaire, help walk the hard-working hounds at the hunt club twice a week. Today they invited some members of our family. "Tucker can't come," Pete said. He was right. I wouldn't have fit in. Well-behaved is not exactly the best adjective to describe me. Goofy? Yes. Silly? Yes. Funny? Check. Strong-willed? Double check.

So off went Pete, my sister and Mom while I had Dad all to myself on our morning walk. It was my special birthday present to him.

They started out with a peek at Penny's eleven pups, just a couple weeks old and adorable. What a mom! Penny didn't mind visitors; they gave her an excuse to put her nose in the treat bin. Then, they went for a walk with hound master John and dozens of hounds. The hounds stayed right with John, and if they even thought about straying, he made sure they didn't.

Mom's favorite was Dollop, because he was goofy and endearingly puppy-like, just like me. The hounds knew exactly what to expect from their master and knew their routine. They're trained early on with the help of the older dogs, literally attached as they are paired up. I'll bet Dollop wasn't an easy baby.

The dogs became pretty voluble when we neared a spaniel and when they caught the scent of a German Shepherd, but other than that they were remarkably quiet. Just like me. Hey, maybe I could learn to work for a living. I do admire that pluck in a pup. For now, I think, I'll just take another nap. Being a pet does have its advantages—which cushion should I pick?

A big thanks to John, Pete and Kate for helping my family learn more about me.

So what did I get Dad for his birthday? Dog walking gear, of course!