The Creator, if He exists, did a singular job on the basset hound. He gave the dog ears large enough to comfortably tent two soldiers. None of His other creations boast as impressive a beast-to-jowl ratio. And to the basset He bestowed a set of eyes that betray an indescribable blend of sweetness and exhaustion.

When the time came to design the basset’s legs, the Creator decided to do something else instead. All the better – the basset is a creature of comfort, and is never far from lying down.

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It is impossible to look at a basset and not wish the best possible circumstances for them. The gentle, drooping dog belongs draped across upholstery, or socketed within a warm lap. Sadly the basset’s circs too often fall short of ideal. Minnesota Basset Rescue serves to remedy such an unacceptable state of affairs.

“We launched Minnesota Basset Rescue in 2017,” said Jenn Westad, a member of the nonprofit’s board of directors. “We currently have about 150 volunteers, and as of July we rescued 47 dogs this year alone. 

“Our volunteers love all dogs, but we love bassets especially. By focusing only on their breed we are better able to accommodate their distinctive health issues, characteristics, and personalities. We specialize in making bassets adoptable.

“There are tons of reasons why a basset might need rescuing. Sometimes it’s divorce. Sometimes their owner has grown too old to care for them, or doesn’t want to deal with an older dog. Some bassets are impounded and never claimed, neglected, or no longer needed by breeders. But if we can get to them, any basset can have a home with us.

“The basset is not an athletic dog. Their movements are exaggerated, and they’re incredibly uncoordinated. I don’t believe any other breed of dog is capable of tripping over their own ears. The basset makes up for all of that with an immense personality. You can always tell what one is thinking by looking into their eyes – a direct window into their soul. Maybe their eyes do look a little bit sad, but a basset never stops wagging their tail.

“The basset is a stubborn dog. Ask one to do something he wouldn’t like to, and he’ll give you this look that says ‘Mm-hmm. Yep. Wait, you really think I’m going to do that?’ Some people say they’re not very smart, but they are. They just take their time to decide whether they’re going to listen to you.

“A basset may not be smart enough to get away with all of their schemes, though. My dog Dallas once managed to eat an entire grocery bag worth of Christmas cookies I had baked for my in-laws. He crept up onto the kitchen table, nibbled through a corner of the bag that I couldn’t see, and ate its contents one by one. I never would have noticed if he hadn’t managed to turn the chair he climbed up on ever so slightly. Dallas also knows he’s not allowed on the La-Z-Boy. I often come home to find him acting all natural on his bed, with the recliner he just jumped off of moments ago still rocking in the corner. Chairs will always be poor Dallas’s undoing.

“Bassets are also unbelievably affectionate. Whenever the neighborhood kids walk by an open window, my Gargamel runs up to say hi and get petted. As soon as we get to the dog park he takes off to meet every new person he can. And one time last summer, when I let Gargamel out to go potty, he just vanished. I finally found him in a corner of the yard giving kisses to the baby rabbit he had found there. The rabbit was petrified, but Gargamel couldn’t have imagined that.
When I let him out the next day he ran straight to the same spot to look for his little friend.

“There are a lot of benefits to adopting an older basset. They’re already housebroken, they already know how to walk on a leash, and they’ve already interacted with a variety of people in their lifetime. A senior basset is just so affable and easygoing, they’ll slip right into your family like they’ve always been there. And giving an older basset a new lease on life is one of the most rewarding feelings a dog lover can enjoy!”

This Christmas, why not add a little droop to your troop by taking in a good elder basset? It’s a great way to put a new wrinkle in your life. You can visit to see all their adoptable hounds, as well as make a donation that will go directly toward the treats, medicine, and other things gently used bassets need to become hale and hearty.


By David Scheller