Sobe is our fifth dog. She is an American Foxhound (mix?) obtained from the Humane Society of Wayne County in October 2001.
After Lupi died in June 2001, we missed her, but didn't really miss all the dog hair (Foxhounds shed *far* more than poodles or even Italian Greyhounds). Of course, it didn't take long before I was watching the shelter postings. When I saw Sobe's, I was hooked. Paul was not really interested, so I went by myself to the shelter to take a look. I got to walk her, too--found her a bit of a handful as she pulled a *lot*, and the shelter people said she needed work and attention. I admit it, it was an emotional decision partly based on her being a large tricolored hound. Still, after discussing it with Paul we decided to go ahead. I think she was a bit more dog than Paul was expecting...when we got there, Paul initially thought I meant the smaller beagle mix in the next cage, but that was a male and we really were looking for a female due to pack dynamics (already had 2 males, and our female was submissive). Instead here we were picking up a 60 lb, very tall hound! She was named 'Angela' by the pound, but she quickly became 'Sobe' (after the bottled beverages).
When we got her home, Icky became agitated and started up a long, high, squeaking howl. He was very nervous to meet her for some reason. Otherwise, no real problems. We did warn her off from bothering Grep a few times and she quickly learned sniffing was OK but not nipping or pushing. Fortunately Sobe is not at all aggressive with other dogs, preferring either to ignore (Grep), or back off from other dogs' warnings (Icky). Of course, having come from the pound she was rather stinky, so the first step was into the bath. After scrubbing off the dirt we were actually startled how pretty this dog was. She looked exactly like the picture of the American Foxhound in our breed reference.
Pretty she is, but along with it came a great deal of aloofness, independence, and downright orneryness. She was not much interested in us at all at first--we thought immediately of Lupi's initial "deafness" (LupiStory). She pulled painfully hard on the leash. This was not a dog to be trusted outside by herself--and still is not, even 4 years later. Of course, she's not 10 and over the hill--she was estimated to be about a year and a half at the time we picked her up. High spirited, willful, playful, high prey drive...and more interested in the woods than lounging on the couch. She seemed bewildered by people who wanted to keep her inside a house. Still, someone had taken care of her. Dr. Krause found a spay scar, and someone had taught her to sit and shake paw--so much so that if she really *really* wants something from you, she'll perform this trick and insist you take her paw, until you give her whatever it is. Someone must've loved her, but she had been in the pound for over 3 months. We joked that she was on a hunt in another state, broke and run, and ended up in Western New York. Or, they tired of her independent nature and dumped her. We'll never know; she was picked up as a stray in Lyons.
We came to expect that if she escaped the house, she would not be back for hours if not a full day; she'd run full speed, howling through the woods, out of her mind with joy. Within a year, she escaped one time for 5 full days before returning up the driveway, glad to see us for once. We had posted ads, a newspaper ad, and a webpage without luck, and were resigned to possibly having lost her, until the day she finally came home. She was so glad to see us, we figured she must've been closed in somebody's garage or barn and was unable to return. At any rate, we were all happy (practically mental) that day and vowed not to let her out. Of course, it would happen again but never for more than a day (she was an escape artist, even squeezing through a dog door meant for a 20 lb dog).
We've rounded off her edges but she's still a wild beast. After much leash training with chokers and prongs, and even electric training collars, she will *usually* respond to 'heel!'. However, if she hears a rustling in the woods, all bets are off. This dog has a tremendous prey drive. She spent one Christmas eve howling up a tree at a cat. She spent an Easter running around the yard with a deer leg (hoof and fur intact), the only 'toy' she has ever shown an interest in fetching outside (she plays with toys inside, but shows no interest in playing when outside). She occasionally shows more interest in attention these days, usually if a thunderstorm is going by (hounds seem to hate thunder!). Then, she's trying to squeeze onto the armchair with me. Hey, at least she doesn't void her bladder in thunder, like Lupi did. At least, she doesn't go out of her way to avoid petting. She seems to like Paul more; I think she's planning on replacing me as alpha female. She whines excessively when I push her out of our bed at night, but doesn't make any more of an issue out of it.
She and Icky have an uneasy relationship; she doesn't roughhouse with him like Lupi did, and he seems to warn her off a lot. I guess it's because he's a male, and he feels somewhat dominant over her even though she outweighs him by a LOT. She backs off right away when he snarls. Still, if we start up a howl, both of them join right in--Sobe with a hilarious, much higher-pitched howl than you would expect--it's almost as if she learned to do it from Icky. She and Icky seem to alternate meals sometimes. He shows up and eats both her and his bowls, or she shows up and does both. Neither's exactly going hungry, although Icky remains as skinny as ever while she's rounding out a bit.
She sometimes seems to love strangers more than she loves us. Only rarely does she give us kisses, but she'll run up and lick strangers. She loves my mother inordinately, even though my mom is not fond of larger dogs (fears from childhood and years of jogging). She loves to practically (and sometimes actually) knock over small children to say hello and can't resist jumping up to greet new people.
We figure by the time she's 10, maybe she'll mellow enough to walk off lead with us. But she's grown on us. But REALLY, this is the last foxhound. You would not believe the amount of hair that ends up in the vaccuum, on the stairs, in every corner of the house, and I doubt we'd have the energy to ever start over. Hah. Right.
- Tricks: sit, shake paw (insistently)
- Loves: woods, prey, people beds
- Hates: thunder