Elvis was a super sweet and super slow basset hound low rider. He got over his fear of water and became a surf dog. A surf basset, even! One in a million.
My oldest dog son was not a natural born alpha, he learned to let go, live fuller and stand taller with time. He was the patriarch of our animal family. The accidental alpha.
He started out, a submissive urinator - scared of everything, submissive to everyone. I’d walk in the door and he'd just pee.
I don’t think Elvis was as much afraid of me as afraid to lose me. Afraid to trust, like most rescue dogs. I was his third mom in his first year. When he stepped up to the nose of a surfboard and learned to surf, the urination stopped, when the fear did.
In the beginning, his name was Charlie and I drove six hours across two states to pluck him from a backyard in Phoenix, Arizona. At high noon on a 107-degree day, he wore only a loving expression and a tri-color fur coat when we first met. I found him online, like daters do. His dog mom said they were allergic to him, which turns out, was code for stinky hound dog, submissive urinator. Nothing love and weekly baths can't cure.
I took him home, but first we went camping. He climbed into my lap and rested his head on my shoulder as we drove an hour along the rutted dirt road to Piccacho State Park, our secret waterskiing spot on the Colorado River.
Elvis/Charlie was raised a city slicker, but was a natural born camper. We’d take off in boats and ski all day and the dogs and kids hung out on shore and watched. When we got back, Elvis was sprawled out in a beach chair, head on the armrest, butt in the seat. Definitely a keeper.
He was a seeing eye dog for his best friend, Dude, his blind bagel (basset/beagle) brother. Together with the basset brothers, I surfed, windsurfed and SUPped (stand up paddle boarded) on every body of water we could find.
Inside that manly basset hound exterior, Elvis was a very old soul. He was free with his heart in a way humans wish we could be.
Elvis was, for 13.5 years, an “action speaks” kind of guy. Like all our dog kids. Like yours.
RIP Elvis. We will never forget you. Our dog kids, those we love, live forever in our hearts.