1/9/14|Submitted by Pat Smith

Huckleberry Hound's Story

In December of 1999, I adopted a basset/beagle (bagel) mix from a local shelter. He was a Christmas gift for my then ten year old daughter, Kirby. I picked him up and named him Huckleberry Hound.

I put a big red bow on him and drove home with Huckleberry riding happily next to me. I wrote the enclosed poem to introduce him to Kirby. Huckleberry Hound became her constant companion and best friend. He adored her. He followed her around, was constantly next to her and slept curled up on her shoulder. They played games outside and snuggled on the couch to watch tv. All of her friends came to know Huck.

As she grew into a teenager, he was always there to console her when she experienced a disappointment. When she got her license, the VW seldom went down the lane without Huck riding shot gun. Even though we had other family dogs, Huckleberry was the leader of the pack. It seemed our household revolved around keeping Huck happy. In return he entertained us with countless antics, incessant howling for treats, and unconditional love.

He was the happiest little guy. He cruised around the house, constantly wagging his tail. He was very, very vocal and howled loudly to announce it was time for breakfast or treats. When Kirby went off to college, he missed her as much as she missed him. Every time we went to visit her, Huckleberry went along, riding shot gun to Delaware Valley College, attending important college weekends. We were asked to leave a football game because Huckleberry was howling in the stadium! It didn’t matter; he spent the nights with us in the motel, happily sleeping in Kirby’s arms. Parents and students always stopped to talk to him and he basked in the attention.

After Kirby graduated and began her career at Hilltop Farms in Cecil County (pursuing her passion for horses), visits home always included quality time with Huck and happy doggy kisses. By this time he was deaf, had lost the sight of an eye, not to mention lots of teeth due to a gum disease and had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed. He could no longer negotiate the stairs and spent most of his time snuggled in his bed near the woodstove. It was heartbreaking. Visits to the vet attributed his decline to advanced age. He suffered another stroke and refused to eat.

Kirby made the difficult decision that it was time to let him go. We think he was about sixteen years old. Our hearts were broken. Kirby spent his last day with him, holding him, feeding him treats, thanking him for the years of companionship and love. He took a sad, last ride with her late in the afternoon.

When he arrived from the shelter in 1999, he ran happily into the arms of a little girl. His “job” was to love and raise her. His job was done. Huckleberry Hound died on July 9, 2013, happy in the arms of a beautiful, amazing young woman who will always be grateful for the time she had with her Huck.