He was a Christmas present for my brother. I don't remember where we got him, but Mom, Dad and I went somewhere to pick him up, and he threw up on the car ride home.
He was perfect. He had beautiful markings for a basset. The Hush Puppy dog looked like a
scraggly mutt compared to this puppy.
My brother loved his present, and then named him... Zeke.
This beyond adorable little puppy had ZEKE for a name!! I was horrified! You can't name something so cute, something so... so... NOT!
But I quickly found that Zeke was a quite fitting name for such a regal hound.
At some point, Zeke was let outside to be the farm dog he was meant to be. He wondered around, checking on livestock. He moved so slowly, everyone in a 2 mile radius of our house knew to look out for him meandering down the middle of the road. Zeke never felt the need to get out of anybody's way - even my father, driving a tractor or combine behind him. (My brother drew a great caricature of Zeke sitting, as a tractor loomed in the background behind him, and my mother even needlepointed it onto a pillow. Yeah, we were all kinda nuts about this dog.)
His paws were massive and he took the same route everywhere he went, so he wore a diagonal path across our front lawn, and one across Sis' yard as well. He had numerous girlfriends in the area (or so we assumed), so nobody was ever too alarmed when he disappeared for a couple days.
Regardless of a bath, he always had that fragrant "outdoor farm dog" smell about him. It can be endearing. Really.
In the winter, he would try to chase me and my friends down the hill in front of our house on our sleds. I can't tell you what was more entertaining - sledding or watching Zeke get tangled in his ears as he barreled down the hill as fast as his stubby legs could carry him. Watching him try to maneuver the ice that covered the pond was most amusing as well.
Sis hit him with her car one spring, and his right hind leg was in a splint for a couple months. That happened to be the year I took Dog Obedience in 4-H. I don't know what possessed me to sign on for that to begin with, and the splint could have been my excuse to get us out of it. Bassets are known to be ridiculously hard to train. They are very smart - but built for smelling things, and they embrace that gift with a fervor beyond compare. After the splint came off, I drug him around at a couple workshops, and then drug him around the coliseum at the 4-H fair. Even though all Zeke wanted to do was smell for new friends, we earned a red ribbon for our efforts. I think the only reason we didn't get a white ribbon was because the judges knew what I was up against and took pity on me.
My brother took Zeke cruising with him on a few Saturday nights. Denny never verified it, but I'm sure Zeke was quite the chick magnet. At the end of the evening, Denny would come home and turn Zeke out to his doghouse as usual. Zeke had a MAJOR problem with all that attention coming to an abrupt end, and howled all night long - right under MY window.
I won't go into how Zeke left us. Let's just say there is a idiotic, jerk of a teenage kid in every neighborhood, even on our little dead end gravel road. That was my first true heartbreak. We lost a member of the family, and we all took it very hard. It was one of the very few times I saw my father cry.
Of course I love Caz and Lilly, but Zeke will always have a special place in my heart.