Bell-ringing Daisy Duke joins the herd

Joe Avento • Mar 25, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Our current hounds all found us as foster dogs who never left. This time, we found her and the Avento herd has grown once again.

We came across a bloodhound puppy up for adoption a few weeks ago. After an initial inquiry, things moved fast and a meeting in a North Carolina park, one that included a lot of slobbery kisses, sealed the deal.

Daisy Duke, a 5-month-old, 46-pound bundle of energy, joined our pack of misplaced hounds.

Her puppy-like enthusiasm dispels the stereotype of the lazy hound, at least most of the time. She has two gears — hyper-speed and off. We were told she gets the zoomies. She does and they’re exactly what they sound like.

She’s smart, playful, fun and inquisitive. She’s all bloodhound, so she really likes to follow her nose.

The adoption notice said she rang a bell to tell her humans when she wanted to go outside. We were skeptical about that. When we brought her into our house for the first time, a small bell was hanging by a string from a doorknob. It was left over from Christmas and we hadn’t paid any attention to it since.

We hung the bell on the gate nearest the front door, and lo and behold, Daisy swatted it with her paw. She does it every time she has to go out.

Every time she rings, we answer, and she really seems to know when it’s time to ring.

As happy as we are to have her, her arrival reminded me of something I always seem to forget. I am allergic to dogs.

I was once a patient at an allergy clinic and that’s how I met the lovely Rita, who was a people nurse at the time. Who knew back then when she was giving me shots twice a week that 23 years later, we’d have a house full of dogs together and she’d be working in an animal hospital?

I am not certain about the science of it all, but I seem to become less allergic to any particular dog the longer I’m around it. So the new pup is nothing a few Claritins can’t fix.

Daisy’s new brother and sisters are getting used to her, although they will let her know when they don’t share her zeal for playing. They haven’t gotten the zoomies together. The longer they are together, the more they get along.

That’s a good thing, too, because it won’t be long before Daisy is bigger than all of them. She’s expected to be between 90 and 100 pounds.

The new arrival has nudged us to do something we should have done a long time ago, considering we’ve now had seven dogs living at our house — some come and go — in the past year. We’re fencing in our backyard.

That’s an important step because up until now, they have not been able to run free. Any time spent outside, in a field, a park or just in the yard, they’ve had to remain on their leashes. As most people know, hounds have a keen sense of smell and when their noses turns on, their ears turn off.

We now have four dogs — three hounds and a small mix. Since Daisy joined the family, we’ve pretty much all agreed that there won’t be any more. Then we remember we didn’t anticipate most of the ones that are here.

I guess you should never say never.

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Joe Avento is Sports Director for the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times News. Contact him at [email protected]


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