Simon the Hound came into my life in January 2015. My first basset hound, Helen the Hound, had died in September 2014, leaving Laci Basset, adopted in 2011. Simon’s age at the time I adopted him was estimated at 10 to 12 years old. He had been surrendered to the humane society in Muscatine, Iowa, by a gentleman who had had him since he was a puppy and who had become homeless. Simon did not have heartworm, thankfully, but he had a mouth full of rotten teeth. Foster parents for Hound Haven Basset Rescue had him pulled from the pound, and while they fostered him, he had most of his teeth pulled. He didn’t seem to mind. I swear, he just snorted the kibble up his nose.
At the time I adopted him, I had been working on my book for more than a decade, but my contract with Oxford University Press was issued in the spring of 2016, and most of my intensive writing happened after that. Simon’s time with me, then, coincided the writing and publication of my book. After getting me through this process, through submission, production, and publication, and through the darkest days of the pandemic, Simon decided it was time for him to make his exit on September 21, 2021, when he was probably at least 17 years old.
Enjoy some pictures of Simon’s life with me and several other basset hounds. Watch him fade from a redhead with a white snout to being having a nearly pure white head.
Simon in 2015 with Laci, exploring his new back yard.
Simon in 2016 with Tessa Basset, the girl of his dreams.
Simon, Christmas 2016, was a lumberjack and he was okay.
Simon with Roberta Basset on the deck of a cabin in the sand hills of Nebraska, where I took them along for a one-woman, two basset writing retreat at the beginning of my NEH Fellowship year in August 2018.
Simon was, as I said many times, my Velcro hound. He was always under my feet if I was at my sit-stand desk, especially during pandemic isolation. By then, he was very old and would sometimes be sound asleep elsewhere in the house and then wake up and come looking for me in my study. During all those Zoom meetings and classes, I usually used “hide self view,” so I wouldn’t see him on screen approaching from the rear. However, I would know he had appeared because everyone I could see on screen would suddenly smile when they saw a wagging, white-headed basset hound.