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All photographs ~ Daniel Krucoff
What can I tell you about a wonderful basset hound we named Bueller? He graced our lives with love, gentleness and antics that brought us such joy and laughter. A constant companion. He was my shadow and my head studio mascot. He had his spot where he would sleep in the studio while I worked. I had to share his story with you because he was as integral to my art work, my life as anyone who influences me.
Long before he was ever conceived, we knew his name. Dan & I were watching the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when Ben Stein uttered the monotone calling of the name….”Bueller, Bueller”. Dan looked at me and said that’s the name of our first basset hound.
And so, on a summer day in August 2000, we met our basset puppy Bueller. He was 9 weeks old and the most confident puppy Dan & I have ever known. He walked on a leash, tail held high and wobbled a bit with a beautiful round puppy belly. His official AKC name was Showme’s Crown Imperial. All the puppies in that litter were named after motor homes. They shortened Bueller’s name to Big Al, until he became our Bueller.
His father was Champion Switchstand’s The Meteor and his mom was Showme’s Lucky Lady Diane. We first saw his mom in the ring as we began the quest for a puppy. At the time we had no idea we were watching the mother of our future pup. On the day he was born, we met his dad, Meteor, at a show. We were informed that the “meteorites” had landed; a sigh of relief from the breeders that the puppies had safely made it into this world.
While Bueller never earned any show titles, he became what Dan & I considered a goodwill ambassador for the breed. He did have the heart of a champion.
Hiking Puppy Bueller
He grew, sort of went through a bit of a gangly stage, and then he blossomed. We took him hiking in Garden of the Gods and other places around Colorado Springs. He was so sure footed. Always greeted strangers with tail wags while he waited for their attention. You see, Bueller had this attitude that everyone should love him. Dan & I believe that everyone who did meet him, did fall in love with him. We sure did.
Before you knew it, Bueller had developed into one of the most handsome basset boys I have had the pleasure to know. He always had a regal look to him and as this pictures shows, he was one stoic hound.
Peak a Poo
In typical basset fashion, Bueller had ways to do things to make you laugh and smile. Peaking out the doggy door. Coming at full lumbering Bueller speed when “treat” was used to entice him inside from the far reaches of our back yard. Bueller never ran, he lumbered.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
He endured my need to dress him as Santa for Christmas card photo shoots. It’s something every Krucoff basset takes in their stride. I could sense his embarrassment with these costumes and never asked him or our others to look like this for too long.
Puppy buddies, Bueller & Nocturne
About 7 months after Bueller became a member of our family, Nocturne joined us. They were only 2 weeks apart in age. They quickly became buds and were great companions for us and each other.
I have always had a special connection with dogs. The non-verbal communication. There was a deep connection between the two of us. With a look, I just knew what he needed. I’m fortunate to have that connection with Nocturne and Newton too.
He was one big snuggler on the couch. I don’t know what it was about Bueller, but he could have me asleep within minutes after climbing into my lap!
When Bueller was almost 5, he started to develop a number of medical problems. First he had a form of cancer that shortened life expectancy to maybe another year or two. Surgery removed both growths and there was only one reoccurrence. We thought he beat the odds. In March of 2006, he was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. That disease meant his adrenalin gland no longer functioned, which required steroid shots every 6 weeks and daily doses of Prednisone. President John F Kennedy had that same disease. In spite of all of this, Bueller continued to stay strong and beat the odds. We were blest with a great vet, Dr Kendra Healy, who did so much to maintain Bueller’s quality of life. She worked so very hard and did so much to help us with Bueller. She has also become a dear friend of mine too. Yes, Bueller prevailed over all of these things with that heart of a champion.
We didn’t know how long Bueller would remain with us. Dan & I felt it would be good to bring another puppy into our home. Puppy Newton arrived in August of 2006.
Bueller was so good around puppies. He had a lot of patience with Newton. One time one of my friends, Marilee Epperson, who breeds bassets and helped Bueller become a part of our life, invited us over to see one of her litters. One of Bueller’s brothers was there because of a dog show. I brought him over and I could tell the breeders were a little nervous with a big male like Bueller around puppies (6 weeks old). Bueller was just as kind and gentle with them as he could be. I was so proud of him.
As this year began, more things were happening with Bueller, medically. Even though the signs were there, we’re never ready when they leave us. I can tell you Bueller wasn’t in any pain. He was happy, even playful this week. He greeted Dan & I with big tail wags every night we came home from work. Enjoyed his food, those scratches under a perpetually wet basset chin, asking Dan for a bite of cheese, and following me around the house. All systems normal.
Wednesday night, we had big thunderstorms. One of Bueller’s favorite things was to come into the house, soaking wet, and expecting us to pet him. He did that Wednesday night. He was sort of our weather dog. If it was snowing, he would come in coated with snow, big tail wags and so very proud of himself, showing us what was happening outside.
When we got up Thursday morning, Bueller was at the foot of our bed, one of his favorite spots to sleep. I bent down to touch him in order to wake him for his breakfast. It was then I knew he was gone. A blessing really that he passed so quietly in his sleep. The heart of my champion had stopped. He had beaten all the odds with his various medial problems, but it was his time and he left us quietly in the night. He was a great friend and companion. He made our lives so much richer and showed us so much about a very special breed, the Basset Hound.
Bueller, The Basset with a Heart of a Champion
My dear sweet Bueller. You were a great dog. I will always love you and when it is my time, I will look for you and those big tails wags to greet me as I cross that rainbow bridge. Sleep well my Big Handsome. Until we meet again.
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.