Hounds howl at Elm Bank

Bessie and Fancy, an adoptable dog, enjoy their walk.

By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff

There are few dogs that don’t enjoy a good walk. With so many smells to sniff, and places to run, and new friends to meet, walks are the equivalent of a theme park adventure for man’s best friend.

On Saturday, July 27, Northeast Coonhound Rescue hosted one of its annual walks. Northeast Coonhound Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to the welfare and rescue of coonhounds, hound mixes, and beagles, is a regular in Hometown Weekly’s Pets of the Week section; its charges frequently find foster homes and forever homes in the paper’s seven communities.

At 10:00, beagles and coonhounds, along with their owners, met in the parking lot at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Elm Bank reservation. With the sun high in the sky and the temperatures just hot enough, it was the perfect day for a brisk walk. With everyone gathered, the beagle and coonhound crew, along with one poodle, began its trek through Elm Bank.

Coonhounds and beagles are both known for their playful and sweet nature. “They’re such good dogs,” commented one observer who was jogging on the hound-invaded path. Both beagles and different breeds of coonhounds tend to be so docile that they are often used for lab experiments. For owners of these breeds, there is almost never a fear that their dog might not get along with someone - especially if they have treats.

Unlike owners of many dogs breeds, most beagle and coonhound owners don’t trust their dog to go off leash during a walk like this. These dogs tend to get lost, following whatever scent they have caught - or, at times, another animal that they may spot. “God help any squirrel,” muttered one walker.

During the walk, one dog placed her nose to the ground, making some squeaky noises along the way after catching the scent of something good. “I’ve never seen her do this before!” her owner said with a laugh. She eventually lost the scent, but continued to enjoy the walk just the same, wagging her tail the entire time.

Another beagle made her owners stop so that she could sit down and roll over a scent that she liked. “She does this every time,” the owner explained with a grin.

Other dogs on walks acknowledged their pleasure by baying throughout the entirety of the walk. “Oh, will you stop it!” her smiling owner said with exasperation. Baying is another typical behavior of coonhounds. When hunting, some of these dogs have been trained to alert their fellow dogs where the prey might be, or even sometimes where the rest of the pack is.

The fun didn’t end with the completion of the walk. The small alliance of beagles gathered together to receive attention from anyone and everyone who passed them by, as well as enjoy the company of their fellow hound.

One tall treewalker coonhound, Atticus, got the rest of his energy out by jumping back and forth over one of the fences.

Other dogs, who were complete strangers at the beginning of the walk, happily shared their water with one another, taking turns with the bowls.

The walk was just as fun for the owners, giving them a chance to bond with fellow hound-lovers who knew exactly why these lovable creatures are so great.

For more information on Northeast Coonhound Rescue and its four-legged friends, see Hometown Weekly’s Pets of the Week section, or visit www.necoonhoundrescue.org.

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