Andy is a little... different than your average dog, but we wouldn't have it any other way. From strange snacking habits to attempted mind control, he keeps his family on their toes. Read on to find out more about his enthusiastic and eccentric hound mix personality.
My name is Andy, my parents call me Andrew sometimes, but that’s not my name. My parents were big fans of Andy Griffith, Andy from Toy Story, and Andy Dwyer, so my name covered all the bases. Not sure what “breed” I am, but probably your standard hound mix with a heavy dose of Redtick American English Coonhound!
How did your owner know you were “the one”?
All of the pet shelters in Virginia Beach were scanned for “the one,” without success. My family got on adopt-a-pet.com and saw a picture of a little(ish) puppy from a shelter in Midlothian, Virginia. I had been in a litter of puppies of an abandoned hunting dog. I was listed as “Baby Boy Basset.” Someone was very confused about my breed because I am NOT a basset hound. The photo online showed my large, speckled, pink belly quite prominently. My puppy ears were also WAY too big for my head. After contacting the shelter, my family met me and my foster mom in a Petsmart and wept. I think they missed their old doggie, and I was the sign of hope for a new beginning.
How long have you been together? 56 years. Well, I guess 5 human years.
What’s your favorite toy? Empty milk jugs and plastic water bottles, much to the relief of my parents' wallet!
What’s your favorite food? Brussel sprouts, sugar snap peas, celery, anything GREEN! My mother worked very hard to get me to like Cheez-Its, assumingly so I could pick up the ones she drops. However, I refuse all salty and sweet human junk food. I’m watching my svelte figure.
What’s your greatest fear? Cooking on the stove. That ominous Google Nest that talks sometimes when there’s cooking--means the smoke alarm may go off. Also skateboards. No further comment.
Favorite famous animal: Chance from Homeward Bound.
What’s your favorite game? Go outside, ask to come inside. Go outside, ask to come inside. It’s the most fun.
What are some of your favorite things to do that make your owner upset? I stand there and stare at my parents while they’re watching TV. I moan, bark, wag, and roll around on the floor until they give me attention. Sometimes I just stare lovingly at my dad and hope he can read my mind. It’s hard to communicate because we speak different languages. I try very hard to speak theirs. They never try to speak my dog language, which is kind of rude.
What’s your favorite way to exercise? I’m definitely not a runner. Chasing squirrels is the only thing that really gets me moving. My family is kind of an artsy bunch, so I like to think I’m just more in touch with my sensitive, emotional side as opposed to being a jock.
Strangest habit? I kick things to get my parent’s attention. You say obnoxious, I say innovative.
Do you let your owner dress you up? My parents like to put me in a bowtie for special occasions, but somehow...and I don’t know why...they just seem to get lost when I go out back myself.
What’s your favorite treat? Canned cat food scraps. I like to notify my parents when it’s time for the kitty to eat, so they’ll get up off the couch and feed her. Then, if I’m persistent enough about notifying them WHERE the leftover cat food is, they will get up and put the plate down on the floor.
What’s your favorite place to visit? I’m a bit of a homebody. My family cut a hole in the fence so I can visit my neighbor, though. Sometimes I like to hang out at his house. If my parents invite a dog to our house, I’ll go next door. This reminds my parents that I can still choose another family if they’re thinking about getting another dog.
What’s your favorite napping spot? When my mom gets a new rug, I really like to sleep next to my dog bed so I can adequately experience the newness of the rug.
Do you have any special talents or tricks? I can sit on my back haunches and “reach,” which is pretty impressive for a boy my size. My mom also likes to torture me by placing a treat on my nose and making me “wait” for it. Although, sometimes I have this uncontrollable compulsion that makes me jerk my head back so the treat goes flying. So, of course, I have to eat it then.
What’s something you’ve done that’s gotten you in the biggest trouble? I’m a pretty good boy for the most part. I like to run out the front door to see if anyone has... erm... left me any mail, but I come right back. Wasn’t a big chewer as a pup. My parents mostly just get mad about my going in and out all the time. A hound's gotta sniff.
Hounds are a broad category and can include different breeds in all shapes and sizes, including Bloodhound, Beagle, Wolfhound, Ridgeback, Plott Hound, the list is extensive! From Mini Dachshunds (roughly 11 lbs) to the Scottish Deerhound (up to 110lbs), the size range can be incredible! The American English Coonhound is typically anywhere from 50 to 75 pounds, but Andy is a healthy 90-pound boy. He's definitely a mixed breed.
Start early and work with their strengths. Andy is a scent hound, so smells and treats can be very motivating. Start at a do-able point with reasonable expectations. Manage distractions in your environment. Hounds are highly prone to distraction. Use positive reinforcement as much as you can.
It's difficult to generalize this. Overall, hounds are known to make excellent family pets. They're loyal and active dogs and need a lot of exercise to stay happy and healthy. If you don't have a yard, make sure to go on frequent walks or trips to a dog park. A hound dog is capable of hunting raccoons and foxes all night, so keep them busy with plenty of activity if not used for hunting.
Although they usually do well with other animals, be aware that scent hounds do instinctually hunt small animals and have a high prey drive. Be cautious with other rodents or small animals in the house. Andy and our cat took some time to warm up to each other, but they're buddies now. He's okay with other dogs, but would rather be the sole dog of the house. He's more of a "people person" one might say, but that's less of a breed trait and more of a personal quirk.
The diversity of the hound group is larger than most other groups. Andy's breed instinctually hunts raccoons and foxes by scent, but other dog breeds within the hunting group by instinct hunt other prey, including rabbits, birds, and even leopards and gazelles.
Andy has an unbridled enthusiasm for life, the FedEx guy, and crunchy greens. At the mercy of his powerful nose, Andy lives a life of excitement and adventure, whether that's the ringing doorbell or the fresh scent of a fox in the backyard. Check your local shelters when you're looking for a new fur companion! Shelters are full of dogs and cats who just need loving families and homes. Andy's story is a testament to the "happily ever after" that can come with adoption. Who knows who could be waiting for you?