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 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
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
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 and 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.
After 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
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.
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megaoesophagus, and pneumonia, possibly all related.