Someone should make a movie out of this....
Every September, in the little town of Dwight, Illinois (75 miles southwest of Chicago, population: 4260), hundreds of Basset Hounds and their owners march down Main Street. You can hear the happy rumble of owners, and the distinct sound of basset hound feet smacking the pavement en masse. A few older or tired dogs are pulled in blanket-filled wagons. Many of the dogs sport bonnets, or other costumes.
Everyone is smiling. Since the dogs are already in their "pack", there is very little to howl about...they have already gathered for "the hunt", in this case the hunt for the end of the parade route, which is only several blocks long.
It would be an episodic movie filled with characters who share a helpless love for this photogenic breed. There are a number of interlocking stories that all come together on the big day.... There would be laughs and tears galore...mostly laughs, though...
A slice of life, a seriocomedy, a character study, one that charms us with surprising observations that reveal universal truths, about life and nature and the world, about the cruelty, compassion, and boundless wonder of human beings.....Because this, if we look closely, is what dogs are are here on earth to help us understand.... (Note to self...Must start a screenplay soon!)
This goofy, happy spectacle is part of the Dwight Fall Festival, and the Basset Waddle is the main event.
Sponsored by The Guardian Angel Basset Rescue, the waddle attracts dogs and their owners from all over Illinois, Indiana, and surrounding states. Its main purpose is to find homes for the abused, abandoned or otherwise discarded hounds that have been rescued and fostered by members of the organization.
Other activities, like a car raffle, are offered to raise money for the GABR.
This year 15 lucky Basset Hounds found permanent homes through the Waddle.
Since 1997, over 3,900 Hounds have been rescued.
Bassets are cute, extremely lovable, and amusingly stubborn. Their noses can lead them astray, as their powerful sense of smell was bred into them for hunting rabbits. They are difficult to housebreak. They shed. They have long ears which are susceptible to infection if not cleaned almost daily. They are prone to arthritis. Their claws must be trimmed regularly.
And, best of all (!) their anal sacs need help to be emptied. Yes, you get the picture.
But there is not a more loving, loyal creature in all of the world. When a Basset Hound gazes at you with soulful eyes, and you place your hand on top of its round, beautiful head as it reaches with its snout to lick you on the nose, and that white-tipped tail wags furiously, you forget how much it takes to care for your comical friend, your sad clown...
No, you would do all of that and more....Sure, you laugh at her sly, "innocent" antics, but with a lump in your throat, as her sad gaze reminds you that, one day, she may not be there....
See below for a brief clip from the 2011 parade.