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Life is Short. So is Belle.

Published: 5/9/2011
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By Maddy Butcher

Belle meet Peppermint.
Peppermint meet Belle.
You two have a lot in common:
You’re short.
You’re smart.
And you’re the bane of my existence.

NickerNews readers may be familiar with how Peppermint livens up the farm. Click here.

So please forgive me as I indulge the parallels that came creeping into my mind after a recent outing with Belle. Like the pony, this dog made me laugh and grind my teeth at the same time.
Belle is half Basset Hound, half dog-next-door. I discovered her from a flyer posted at the local feed store several years ago. I’d never owned a hound. Hounds have a tendency to run off, my mom pointed out. I shrugged.
Such a cute puppy! Ha.
And I'll train the hound out of her! HaHa.

Short One has seven-inch legs and her body, from nose to tail tip is nearly five feet long. This confirmation suits her well for barging through the underbrush. But greyhound, she ain’t.

We headed out for a walk with the other dogs. Unlike the others (all non-hound dogs), Belle heads out on her own route, following her nose. We usually don’t see her until the end of the 20-minute walk, when she predictably and faithfully reappears and seems to say, “I had a great tour around the woods. How ‘bout you?”

This time, though, within minutes of her routine departure, we heard yelping. Belle was excited and moving south fast. My first thought was of a porcupine. But her yelps faded quickly. This was a chase. And the chase was on.
We called in the other dogs and I jogged in the direction of her last yelps. When I listened for her again, the barking was at least a half mile away. Or more.
[ Photo of fox taken by fixed, motion sensitive camera a few hundred yards from my route.]

I stood in the now quiet woods. Time passed. Then I started hearing her yelps again. Amazingly, they were coming closer and closer. I strained to look through the trees and brush. There, pacing towards me on the diagonal was a beautiful red fox. It crossed my path 20 feet in front of me, kept jogging, didn’t break stride or even bat an eye. 
I imagine the fox was having a little fun with Shortie. His Sunday stroll had turned into a Sunday jog. No big deal. And when he glanced at me, he almost seemed to say, “Gave her a  test drive. Brought her back. You take her now.”

A minute later, an exhausted, exuberant Belle trotted toward me. I took off my belt and looped it through her collar as a leash. She seemed almost thankful that I'd thwarted her pursuit.

Like pony and her little escapades, the hound just couldn't help herself.

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5/9/2011 moyon
love that story :-)
5/9/2011 Tina
I felt I was there as I was reading. Nice writing, Maddy.
5/9/2011 Lisa Rifenbark
Thank you Maddy for yet another smile on my face! The tails of your furry "kids" always seem to put a smile on my face :-)
5/13/2011 Molly
Wow! Fabulous shots and great story - absolutely love the pictures of the two, Belle and Peppermint and the description of the fox - oh yes they are wily things; fantastic. Great reading
4/20/2014 Amber
Being owned by six Bassets here in Temecula wine country, I have become accustomed to my dog pack chasing rabbits and coyotes on our acreage. They return muddy, dog tired, tongues hanging down to their big ol' paws. But they are happy even though they never catch their prey. Belle is certainly mostly Basset. She's a cutie.

"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry