Remembering an Old Friend

Marmalde the BloodhoundI get asked about the origin of the name “Baying Hound Aleworks” a lot. I’ve told this story many times, and I never get tired of telling it. There are actually a few hounds/dogs involved, so I’ll start at the beginning.

In 2007, my wife and I went over to WARL (Washington Animal Rescue League), because we had heard that they had a bloodhound, I had always wanted a bloodhound. We high tailed it over there to meet her. They had given her the name “Marmalade” and it suited her. My wife was off flirting with some of the other dogs, but I just went up to her enclosure. She was napping, her roommate came up to me to say hello, Marmalade perked up and walked over. I immediately started petting her, she seemed happy, and in pretty good health for a senior hound. We became friends, introduced with a palm full of drool. I had an idea of what I was getting into, I had a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Beagle mix, and she had been all about the rope drool, my wife had grown up with Saint Bernards, so she was no stranger to slobber. Our other dog, Bernie, even though he has a bit of hound in him, was not a slobber monster, nor is he extremely vocal. Marmalade was. We spent a little time with her, but she seemed more interested in sniffing, I had fallen in love with her. We went outside with her, she stopped when she saw one of the workers, went up to her and bayed. “Oh Marmalade.” She said as she proceeded to pat her on the head.

Part of her back story was that she was found tied up to a tree, outside. Perhaps she was bred and then left out to just wither away. She was taken to a shelter, and one day, a woman from “Sterile Feral,” a cat organization, was walking by Marmie’s cell. She looked miserable, her eyes were swollen shut and she looked like she was in a lot of pain. The woman took pity on her and was going to take her to be put to sleep. She was taken to the vet and the vet said, “There’s no reason to put her down, she’s perfectly healthy, all she needs are some antibiotics and some corrective surgery.” That’s when she was taken to WARL.

She had entopion, a nasty little eye condition where the eyelid turn in, irritating the eye. The League said they would take care of it. Next step, introducing Bernie (my bloodhound, great Pyrenees, cocker spaniel mix) to our future hound daughter. They got along, Bernie’s inner bloodhound seemed to really come out. Then the interviews came, I remember talking to one of the adoption councilors, she asked me, “What would make you give up Marmalade?” My answer was simple and honest, “You’d have to pry her out of my cold dead hands.” I was serious. It wasn’t the answer she was expecting, but I still got a, “Good answer!” We were told she seemed aggressive with food, and would bay madly at feeding time, we later found out it was not aggression, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

It was the day before my birthday, I was called and told I could come and pick her up. I was so excited! Marmalade turned around as I lead her to the front door, she bayed at everyone as if to say, “Good bye, I’ll come back and visit.” Her nose was to the ground, she wasn’t paying attention and “BONK!” bumped her head on a tree. But that hardly phased her. I put a seat belt harness on her and strapped her in for the ride home. She was my birthday girl. When I got home, I got a phone call that I would have to bring her back, she had to have the eyelid surgery to fix her little problem. I said I’d bring her back, but for now, I was going to introduce her to the neighborhood.

I brought her back a few days later, she had her eyes done. On the trip home, her eyes started bleeding, I kind of freaked and called my wife. I thought there was something terribly wrong. My wife was the calm one, she called the vet and we were told to just put a frozen bag of peas on her eyes. I sat for a while with Marmie’s head in my lap. She fell asleep and started to snore, and what a snore it was.

Marmie in the Marma LoungerI mentioned aggression earlier. When we first got her, during her very first dinner, we heard this low growl, followed by her anthem. It reminded me of the song Snoopy of Peanuts fame, Supper Time!. This happened every mealtime, and it was always amusing. Here’s one of her musical works (click here). She bayed when people came over, she bayed when we passed people in the street, Marmalade was dubbed the “Neighborhood Rooster.” She got a few people up who overslept. Our beloved hound loved to sing, instead of a monotone fog horn bay that many of her fellow hounds had, she sang in scales. She often sang along to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Pavoratti. Marmie was also a hockey fan. My inlaws were visiting from Vancouver, and it was hockey season, so of course they had to watch. There was a Canucks game on, my father inlaw sat on the couch and Marmalade soon joined him. They both cheered Vancouver on.

She got into all sorts of things, she ate a whole plate of Easter eggs, stole a perfectly cooked rare New York strip, a baby bird that fell out of its nest (yup fresh birdy sushi), there was even a dehydrated dead bat, and spent grain from my homebrewing. Discovering furniture was another thing. We’d come home and we’d see footprints all over the coffee table, and then one day, there she was, standing proudly on the table. Then she discovered soft things, like the couch and a chair which we ended up dubbing the “Marma Lounger.” It’s amazing how a big dog could get into a chair that seemed almost too small for her.

About a year later, she came down with bloat, a condition where the stomach fills up with gas, and if not treated quickly, very fatal. I was down in my office with both Bernie and Marmalade, when Bernie came up to me and started mouthing my hand, something he didn’t usually do. I told him to buzz off, I was probably playing a video game. Bernie grunted, made eye contact with me and peed right in front of me. That got me out of my chair, I was pissed. Again he grabbed my hand and started gently tugging. I followed him and there was Marmalade, her stomach extended. I knew what it was, though I thought it would never happen to our beloved girl. I scooped her up and ran upstairs with her, I called out to my wife and said, “ER! Now! Marmie has bloat.” We sped over to Metropolitan Emergency Animal Clinic in Rockville, MD. We were a wreck, Marmie was taken in the back and they went to work on her. When she was in recovery, she seemed comfortable, she acknowledged us and then took a snooze. We picked her up the next day and she was just about dragging the poor vet tech behind her. Marmalade was back.

December 2009, a month that will live in infamy. I was working at a restaurant, it started to snow and I was stuck out in Alexandria, VA. Inch after inch fell, I pleaded with my boss to let me leave and get home. My inlaws were in town, Marmalade had been a little ill, I wanted to get home. I was driven home, and there she was, she looked up at me, I think she was happy to not be outside. We had to dig an area out so the dogs could pee and she hardly wanted to do that. My wife had shown me a picture she had taken of Bernie and Marmalade outside, Marmie was giving her brother a little kiss, I didn’t realize it was her good bye kiss. Marmalade was on a few drugs to help her allergies, it made her pee a lot, so my wife and I took shifts to let her out in the evening. It was my wife’s turn. I went up to our bedroom with Bernie and I soon fell alseep. Sometime the next morning, Bernie looked agitated. He whined a little and stared at the corner. I asked him, “What’s up Bernie.” He came over to me and nudged me. I got up thinking he needed to go and pee. So we went down stairs, my wife was fast asleep, and at her feet, Marmalade. There was something wrong, she wasn’t breathing. Bernie rushed to her side, gave her a quick lick, I ran to her in tears, my wife got up asking what was wrong. I had Marmalade’s lifeless body in my hands, I kept wishing she would wake up. My wife joined in, mourning our dear girl’s passing. My inlaws came down when they heard the commotion, they too had tears in their eyes.

Marmalade says farewell, take care of the humansBernie was great, he took care of us, he got a lot of walks, and did what he could to cheer us up. We took Marmalade’s body to be cremated and Bernie left her with one last gift to follow her into the afterlife, his cherished “egg” squeaky toy. I ordered a stone for Marmie which sits in her favorite place in our shade garden, her ashes are on our mantel next to her picture, foot print imprint, crowned by her collar. There isn’t a day gone by that I don’t think of her. She was about 9 when we adopted her, and just shy of 12 when she died. For a bloodhound, that is ancient. Her Marma Lounger has since been commandeered by Emma the Cat, but that’s a story for later. We got more sympathy cards, phone calls, visits, even food, than I got when my grandparents passed away. We had little children come up to us in the park to say how sorry they were.

When it came time to think of names for the brewery, it seemed only natural to give a nod to Marmalade. My wife was the one who suggested “Baying Hound.” I didn’t want to calling it a “brewing company” so I tacked on “Aleworks.” So the name was born. I didn’t have any good baying pictures of Marmalade, so for that, we got a former show dog, Wimsey the Bloodhound, to be our spokeshound and mascot. You can read about all of his adventures on his blog, click here.

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