004 – Poodle at the Park

My humans come home to find me sleeping in my favorite spot on my favorite couch. I am not really supposed to be on the couch at all, but I’ve trained my parents well and they know that rules are not really my forte. They make a big spectacle of pretending not to notice while I slide off the couch and slink over towards my beautiful, unused dog bed; I make a big spectacle of stretching on the floor as though just waking up from a long nap on my bed. Many words of praise follow, and I offer my humans many slobbery kisses in return. Did I mention that I love my family?

I have been practicing my Basset-Gaze since I was a young basset. I’ve only recently learned that I am a spy from another planet, but I’ve always known that my soulful eyes possess some kind of magic beyond the human comprehension. It is a little bit hard to explain, but if you stare into a basset hound’s eyes long enough, your brain becomes very susceptible to ‘suggestions’. I’m not saying that I can control the human mind (otherwise I would eat ten steaks a day) – but if I could control your mind- I would tell you to keep reading.

Today I use the Basset-Gaze to convince my humans to take me to the dog park- it is not difficult to convince them, it’s a lovely day outside. I enjoy it when we all go together, our pack feels complete and we’re all happier after some exercise. The park is close enough to walk to from our house, not even ten minutes away, and my humans let me slowly sniff my way towards the park. Sniffing is my way of reading the local news, and I find everything to be satisfactory: the neighborhood dogs are all smelling well, and the local wildlife is keeping to their territory.

The dog park is one of the most amazing places in the whole wide world. Humans bring their pets of all shapes and sizes, and we all get to romp off leash with the grass under our paws and the sun on our backs. My first order of business is to mark my territory at the front gate- it’s a constant battle with so many different dogs visiting the park, but I always like to stake my claim. Now that I am a spy from another world, territory marking may be a little unnecessary, but old habits die hard.

I expect to see my Commander. I’ve practiced delivering my first flight report for such an eventuality, but my Commander must have opted for an afternoon nap instead because I do not see him anywhere. My humans encourage me to go off and play, and with my duties forgotten I begin frolicking with the normal dogs.

One of my favorite games is to chase after another dog’s ball (it’s so much more satisfying than chasing my own ball), and I do this for a little while to run off some excess energy. I very rarely catch the ball before the other dogs do, basset hounds are not known for their speed, but the diversion is very satisfying. Everyone at the park smiles at my wild abandon, and I know my humans are pleased to see me having so much fun.

At last, I locate the long, leggy husky that I’ve been crushing on lately. Her fur is a gorgeous shade of grey and I’ve dreamed of doing naughty things to her, if only I could catch her! As a general rule, huskies are fast and aloof, but this girl is especially fast. Some days she slows down a little, so that I can almost catch up to her, and I get a glorious whisk of lady husky- but today she is on a mission to tease me. I spend about ten minutes trying to chase her, sneak up on her, and cut her off, but eventually I decide that she’s in a bad mood and is not worth the trouble today. Tomorrow, she’ll be fair game!

I am heading back to my humans when, out of nowhere, a giant white poodle crashes into me. I am knocked over and stumble a little before recovering my paws. We exchange a few hasty butt sniffs and I’m about to continue on my way when she growls to me, ever so softly,

“Beware the Doberman.”

I must be rattled from our collision, because I can’t even form the words to reply and ask her what she means before she is gone.

003- Flight on the Mountain Plain

Even with my new SuperSpy superiority, basset hounds like me are not known for our decision-making abilities. With the whole world literally at my paws, I am at a loss deciding where to go on my first flight. I could visit my favourite dog park, perhaps have a romp with that lean leggy husky I’ve had my eyes on for weeks now- but this seems unnecessary considering my humans will probably be bringing me there later today. Maybe I should lay waste to that vile Mutt and Shine Grooming place where I sometimes have to suffer through humiliating baths which always leave my skin feeling itchy- but I am not really sure how my weapons work and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone…

Perhaps I’m thinking too much about it. I’ve got stress-slobber forming a long line down my jowls and it’s starting to slime up my flight console. It’s decision time. I set my sights on a high peak in the background and paw the throttle to mid-speed. My humans live in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Our home city is known for its beautiful central river and rolling plains, but the mountains are visible from my backyard and I love feeling their raw wildness whenever my humans take me to visit.

As a big dog on little legs, mountains are somewhat challenging for me. The higher and higher I climb, the more difficult it becomes for this big chest of mine to gulp in enough air and the harder it is for these little legs to lift my dense body. Sure, I work out, but let’s be realistic here- basset hounds are not built for mountains. In my spaceship, however, I can scale mountains better than an eagle.

I set down at the edge of a very inviting glacial plain. The mountain wildflowers and in full bloom and there is a shallow creek winding through the middle of the plain. I know that the water will be freezing, but I cannot stop myself from taking off my spacesuit and dipping my paws into the water. If I didn’t already know that I am part of an elite race of superior basset beings, I would swear that I am part hippopotamus- I can stand in a creek or river for hours on end, wallowing in the shallows and lapping up fresh mountain water to my heart’s content.

I see a group of big horn sheep in the distance. They’ve seen my spaceship and are walking, single-file, away from my intrusion. None of them seem overly troubled by my presence, but their leader (a giant brute of a sheep with an alarmingly large set of curly horns) has been giving me backward glances. I let loose the biggest ‘Bar-ooo’ that I can, and am pleasantly surprised at how loud and powerful I sound with the mountains to echo my voice. Their leader hurries his herd along, and I am oddly satisfied to see them retreat in the distance.

Left to my own devices, it occurs to me that this beautiful, isolated mountain plain is the perfect place for a secret lair. I’ve never had a secret lair, besides my dog crate and now my shed, but still… You never know when a secret lair might come in handy. I’ll have to remember this place.

The sun is getting lower, and it’s time to get home before my humans get home from work. Honestly, it’s been amazing but I cannot wait for some head scratches and my evening biscuit.

002 – First Flight

My spaceship is beyond cool. It looks like something out of those James Bond movies that my parents love to watch- only my technology would leave that guy drooling. The ship’s hull is made out of a silvery-smooth invincible metal, unknown to the humans, which will keep me safe from extreme temperatures, uninhabitable atmospheres, or other unpleasant things such as flea attacks. Inside is a beautiful, comfortable and stylish Captain’s chair, designed especially for a long and low spy like me with extra room for long ears. My Commander tells me that the ship is well-equipped with a variety of weapons, but for now I won’t need to use those (or at least I hope not)…

My humans have a big shed in our backyard that hasn’t been opened in years. It’s the perfect location to keep a top-secret ship, especially when that ship comes with high-tech cloaking ability (if anyone does open the shed, they’ll think it’s a giant lawnmower). It’s a bit tricky to maneuver the ship in and out of the shed, but my Commander plans to basset-gaze some unsuspecting contractors into building a retractable roof for me the next time my humans go away on holiday.

I’ve set up the shed to be my command center. It didn’t take much- a few maps on the wall, a couple of unused computer monitors from inside the house, two lawn chairs later and I’ve got myself quite the secret hideaway. There is something very satisfying in having your own space- even if the Commander does pop in unexpectedly. He usually brings delicious biscuits to share, so I don’t mind his visits one bit.

Today will be my first flight. I’ve read the flight manual (or at the very least looked through the pictures), and I’ve listened to the Commander’s instructions carefully. We both feel that I’m ready. The ship is equipped with a sophisticated auto-pilot which the Commander can control, so if anything goes wrong he should be able to bring me back to the shed safely. I don’t plan to leave Earth, but I’ve got my spacesuit on just in case- you never know when these big paws might hit the ejection button at an inopportune time!

Now I’ve been a pretty brave basset hound my entire life, but so far my biggest worries have been aggressive Dobermans at the dog park or parents who are slightly late preparing my dinner kibble. I must admit- I am a little nervous for my first flight. It’s not every day that a basset hound flies, after all, at least not on Earth. Nonetheless, I am not one to beg off duty… So… Up up and away we go!

I might have knocked off the neighbour’s birdhouse on my way up, but other than that flying is surprisingly easy. It pleases me that, with a slight tilt of a paw, I can swoop left, turn right, or even dive bomb ground squirrels. I didn’t realize how fast this ship would be- I’ve already reached my city limits and not even a minute has passed! I have changed my cloak from lawnmower to sky-blend, so I am undetectable to the human eye. Flying the ship is effortless, and I am beginning to realize that I am meant to be so much more than a couch dog.

Now for the big decision- where should I fly?

001 – Captain Basset – Beginnings

 

When you’re an adorable basset hound like me, it’s hard to choose the best day of your life. I’ve spent my puppydom frolicking in dog parks, playing my heart out at doggie daycares, hiking mountain trails, and spending lazy Sundays with my favourite two humans on the planet (who am I kidding- every day is a lazy Sunday for a basset hound)! I honestly cannot recall a day without love, affection, belly rubs, and a squeaky toy to destroy.

I used to think that the best day of my life was the day my human family chose me. They were an unusual couple- most of the other human families that came to see our litter had a full pack with tiny humans and big humans, but my humans came as a pair. I could not yet understand their unusual language (their barks were completely ineffective) but I could sense their kindness and their affection for each other. I could not believe it when, out of 8 brothers and sisters, they chose me. I was just a long-eared, slobbery pup and they chose me to be a part of their family. That was the best day ever- at least until now.

It turns out that I am not just a long-eared, slobbery dog- in fact I am not really a dog at all. With my beautiful red coat, my exceptional physique, and my keen intelligence, I’ve always suspected that there was something special about me… While other dogs seem content to perform silly tricks, chase sticks endlessly, and obey every command without question, I’ve never subscribed to their madness. I am my own dog- or rather, I thought that I was! It turns out that I am actually a spy from another planet, sent to keep watch over humankind. No, really, stay with me here…

This week I received a special communication from my home command. It was delivered through an older basset hound who I met at the dog park (a planned coincidence). While our humans were exchanging hound stories, my new commander was Basset-Gazing my soul. If you’ve ever stared into a basset hound’s eyes, you’ll know that this is a deeply intense experience. What I saw will change my life. No longer am I to be a hound-of-leisure; I am a spy with a mission!

Through his eyes, I saw my home planet (a place with such high gravity that every inhabitant develops a long and low physique to withstand gravity). I saw the Basset race in its entirety, the marvels we’ve created, and the secrets we are bound to protect. I saw that I have been sent to Earth to infiltrate, to observe, and to report back on my findings. If the humans pose any threat to the Basset world- my duty will be very unpleasant.

Now I cannot lie (the Basset code will not allow it), so I must admit that this special communication was quite a shock. I am conflicted about betraying my human family, and honestly I had a good gig going in the dog world. But what followed this special communication really made my day. In fact it almost tops being picked for a family.

I got a spaceship. And I cannot wait to try it out.