Jemima Basset Hound


1990(?) to 4th May 2004

Happy memories by Howard and Nadine

We didn't know Jemima until she was middle-aged. Our first encounter was through a back fence facing our neighbourhood park after we moved here (Jay Park) in 1997 and started taking Seren for walks. At first the two bassets there looked so similar to us that we couldn't tell them apart, but after a while we realised there was a noisy one who was mostly white and a quiet one who had more brown. Soon enough we met their owner, Mary-Jo, and they acquired names: Arbuckle and Jemima. Having a beagle, we were naturally interested in other hounds, and even went to a basset show in October 1998. "I think I'd like to own a basset one day" said Nadine. As luck would have it, Arbuckle and Jemima fell into our care that very month, as Mary-Jo had to go overseas.


 Having three dogs turned out be a bit of a handful, so Nadine's parents took Arbuckle into their home (where she is still the noisy one). We think Jemima was quite happy with this arrangement, as she'd always been bossed around by Arbuckle. Now Jemima had a chance at being top dog, and Seren didn't seem to mind. Since Mary Jo had rescued Jemima some years earlier no-one was sure how old she was, but she was probably about the same age as Arbuckle who was born in 1990.
Jemima Tummy RubCreek

Jemima brought joy to us by the pleasure she took in
life, and by the natural comedy that comes with being a basset. Although she was not up for walks as long or as often as Seren, she liked to sniff out new territory and meet new dogs. She was always up for a car ride, although she would fall asleep in the car as soon as we left!  In our park she was known as Queen Jemima for the way she would sit down at the sight of people approaching, to wait for them to come and greet her. If people were not paying her enough attention she would roll over on her back, inviting a tummy rub. After a walk on a hot day she loved to cool down by wading in our creek. In some years there was not enough water in the creek in summer to do this. But only a few weeks before she died the weather was warm enough and the creek full enough for her to have a proper paddle. I'm so glad.


Jemima had lots of boyfriends. That is, lots of dogs whom she considered to be her boyfriends. They were mostly tall and handsome types who took no interest in her at all, despite her outrageous flirting, hopping around like a puppy with her ears up. Having ears longer than your legs makes it difficult to raise them, but Jemima did her best, bringing to mind a dumpy junior girl with pig-tails and a crush on the sports captain. Adorable. Then there was the way she would run around the park like a mad dog when it was time to go home, charging in a random direction and then executing a pirouette in the air only to charge off in another random direction. People would see her trudging along and think what an old dog she was, only to be astonished to see her break into these antics later on. Even the weekend before she died she was trotting along in the park when we met someone new who asked how old Jemima was, and was surprised to find she was already 13, saying "well there's hope for us all then."


There was no denying that Jemima liked her food, though we kept her trim an
d terrific if not exactly taut. It was so pleasing to have one's culinary feats (eukanuba with boiled vegetables or rice) acclaimed every night with a loud "Aroo!" Any delay would bring a reminder "Bow-wow". Yes, really, she said "Bow-wow". Jemima's other vocal charm was her singing. Whenever we played the piano, she would sing along. Like an urge from within her too strong to be denied, she would start to grumble then to moan and finally a full-fledged "Oooooooooooooooooh Oooh Oooh Oooooooooooooooh!" with her head back and her lips pursed into a little 'o'. Even if we let the phone ring too long before answering it she would do this. Funnily, the only music on the radio she accompanied was piano music.

Two Basset Hounds

NadineJemimaAfter Seren died in November 2001, Jemima was an only dog for almost a year, until we got Finlay, another third-hand basset, in September 2002. While they rarely played together, they seemed to enjoy hanging out with each other around the house and yard. Finlay was very respectful of Jemima's top-dog position, until sometime during her illnesses of the last 6 months*, when we think they swapped roles. All this really meant was that Jemima would no longer object to Finlay getting up on the couch beside her or resting his head on her. When Jemima had a 10-day stretch in hospital in January (during which we feared she would never walk again), Finlay would always sniff us most intently after a visit there. When she finally came home he was so excited he tried to jump over the fence to see her, and she ran to see him as best her legs would carry her.

Sometime in the early hours of last Tuesday morning (4th May), it became apparent that Jemima (who was curled up in bed with us) was awake in some way, but wasn't responding to us. We took her to the hospital (something of a home-away-from-home for us all recently, with caring "family" included). It seemed that whatever change in her brain which had first caused her seizures last year had finally caused some irreversible damage, so we decided it was time to say goodbye. Finlay, bless him, was unaware of the solemnity of the occassion. Now, like Jemima before him, he is taking this next stage in our lives phlegmatically
. But we all feel her absence --- the house is so quiet and still.

Jemma with the Light Brown Fur
Jemima Tripping

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* epilepsy, hypothyroidism, megaoesophagus, and pneumonia, possibly all related.