Well what can I say about our buddy. Roscoe was boisterous, lovable, sassy and humorous. He weighed 70 pounds, stood 17” off the floor and had long caramel colored ears of luxurious velvet fur. Let me introduce you to my inspiration and mayor of South Philly, the infamous tri-colored basset hound, Roscoe P. Coltrain.
He loved two things most….people and bread. Living in south Philadelphia there was a shortage of neither. Roscoe joined us at 6 months old, rescued from a pet shop in North Jersey he was sick with kennel cough. It didn’t take him long to recover and he sniffed our uptown apartment raw with his little wet nose. Never much of a chewer, he surprised me one day to two broken tubes and a trail of oil paint running from my studio through the kitchen down and up the small steps and into the bedroom. I spent the day cleaning yellow and blue off the carpet and off him while he tried to help. A few years later our apartment collapsed (not kidding….it fell down in a haze of smoke and rubble…..everyone was ok….even the neighbors cat but that’s another story) and we bought a row home in South Philly. Roscoe was elated to have two floors and an outside to galavant around. On walks he greeted and befriended all the people in the neighborhood. If we were walking without him people (some we swear we never met) would yell “Hey, where’s Roscoe?!”. To this day, 10 years later, only a few people know our names……but they all know Roscoe’s.
The literature said that bassets calm down and get lazy after two years of age. Lies. Pure lies. He was a handful up until his 13th year. One would think that a low and heavy dog would not be able to steal food off of a counter. Wrong. Enter the lore of the doughnuts. The box was closed on a desk yet all the powdered doughnuts went missing. After a closer inspection I saw little circular powder marks on the floor and a big bellied, yawning basset hound. Like a ninja, he closed the box of doughnuts after each take. Amazing. Then there was our New Year’s Eve get together. As we were enjoying the fireworks out back our guest yelled and pointed….”Roscoe!”. As I rushed in he was standing back feet on the sofa and front feet on the coffee table. A circular loaf of bread in his mouth pulling his jowls out and up giving him the appearance of the Joker, minus the makeup. Then there was the day after an ice storm. He spotted a whole loaf of Italian bread on the curb. Before I could see it he lunged and quickly bounced back, barking and sneezing like mad. He didn’t know it was encased in ice.
That was our dog. At night he would grab his monster bone, a gift from Dom’s parents, and drag it downstairs clunking on each step….one by one as we tried to watch a movie. Then he would parade it back and forth in front of the TV giving us side long looks waiting for us to laugh. It was hilarious. He eventually would give up and jump up on the sofa with us, put his front paws on my lap and settle into a snuggle….staring relentlessly at Dom, dominant down style. Boys.
I could go on with the stories just as all us pet owners can. In the end the funny stories, exasperating tales and heartfelt situations will always be in our memories but it’s the mark they make on us that lives on forever. It’s also the mark we make on them that gives life more meaning, for both them and us.
I’d like to give a special thank you for all the wonderful stories the backers gave us. It’s been a wonderful experience. Thank you all for taking this journey with me.