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The Hound Found Downtown

One loud hound stands his ground

By Zel HarrisonPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 6 min read
save that howl for me

Years ago I had just moved to Tucson, before it became a sprawling city. I was living in the desert in a small rental home with a bunch of friends, and was working as a substitute teacher, trying to finish my degree. The only thing that was missing in my life was a dog. Dogs fill that empty space, with a magic that soothes every inch. They are there for you, in the good times, and the challenges, and they will find you, wherever you may be at just the right moment. So I decided that I would go to any length, to find a dog suitable to my lifestyle and could fill that void.

By Crazy Cake on Unsplash

In my vision, we would hike for miles in the Rincon Mountains, and then sit outside at night, cuddled at one of the mountain cafes and watch the stars together. I would teach the dog how to fetch and roll over, although I would probably wind up being the one that was trained. I would jump high for a Frisbee, assume the pouty face, and walk for miles just to find the best poop places for the dog. When we found the right spot, we would pee under a bush, to mark our territory for our secret place.

By Anthony Duran on Unsplash

I know one thing for sure, and that is that I have a soft spot for dogs, especially ones that are wandering, in need of a good home, and have that "please give me a hamburger, kind of look".

When I arrived in Tucson, it was tax season and decided to go into a tax preparation service, as I know next to nothing about taxes. On the way to the office, what I saw loping down the street, was my dream dog. He was the biggest long-eared freckle face spotted blue dog I had ever seen. By the looks of him, he was a Blue Tick hound, and weighed about fifty pounds. As he walked, his very long tail swayed back and forth, as though keeping time with music. Then we got closer to each other, and what emanated from the depths of him, was a longing bluesy soulful song. In response to this call of the wild, I had to howl back, and the closer I got, I yearned for his canine friendship. I was suddenly mesmerized by everything about Blue. Then I put my face as close as I could. We met eye to eye, and in a moment of protectiveness, I had to pick up, all fifty pounds of this Blue tick hound downtown. I felt he didn’t have a forever home and he was on a home hunt.

By Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

I didn’t want him to go to the pound, so I swooped him off the ground. Now people were stopping and staring at us, as the dog was sliding over my arms and kept up his howling, but was not growling.

I had to make a decision about where to take this dog, because I thought someone in the area, might have dropped him off to run errands. So I went into the unemployment office, carrying this mound of a hound off the ground. I made an announcement.

“Whoever owns this hound, I am around… let me know, and he can go home with you”. No one claimed him, so my next stop was the tax services office. I expected that since Blue and I were pretty chummy, and the dog was cradled in my arms, he would wait patiently while I did my taxes.


Ten minutes into my appointment, the Blue Tick hound began to howl - this time it was a very distinctive howl that sounded like talking. I wish you all could hear this. I will imitate upon request.


This was language at its canine finest. Even though dogs don’t have vocal cords, Blue was talking. He said, it wasn’t a good day for taxes. My buddy was hungry, and I had I had to find him something to eat. So we left.

Right there on Congress Avenue, there is a town square where people gather to hear speeches, music, and eat lunch. On this chilly windy day, a Blues music group, was tuning up for a performance and it seemed like all of Tucson was getting ready to enjoy the show. There must have been at least one hundred people there. I even met up with one of my roommates who thought the dog would be perfect for someone who lived on a ranch.

By Ken Okum on Unsplash

The music began its deep passionate, move and groove-kind of vibe. The entire crowd was now crooning and swaying with the music. The wind whistled, and my friend wrapped the now whimpering Blue Tick hound, with a handmade bulky sweater with a hood. Blue was looking pretty handsome in his handmade sweater, and must have been proud of himself.

I wanna keep it

As the music reached a crescendo, Blue began to sing. His voice echoed throughout the square. Suddenly the band stopped, called us up onstage and an announcement was made. “Does anybody claim this dog”?

Blue had his own input.


And the band sang Row Row Row Your Boat Blues style with Blue. The dog howled, and the crowd cheered for my dog’s performance. He was a speaker, a singer, and an entertainer. I was feeling slightly embarrassed at this point, because people were asking to get our autograph, and told me that they saw me carrying the dog around downtown. A couple of my high school students, stopped to tell me that they were going use the story in class.

Then there was a twist in the plot. Blue was still on stage, and the microphone was still propped up near his mouth. But what came out from the back end sounded like an orchestra full of trumpets. My dog, was a loud farter.

By Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

At this point, the entire situation began to sink in, and I realized that I am now responsible for a wayward wandering dog, that may have been somebody’s outdoor pet, but is now on the loose. Maybe I was snitching someone’s dog, I thought. Years later my aunt told me that people in Tucson used to let their dogs wander, but after a day or so they came back.

I was too deep into finding a resolve. I left Blue with my friend to grab a hamburger for him, and when I came back, ten minutes later, Blue was gone. Everything about the day, slipped away because all I could think about was finding him a home. That dog could fart hardy, as long as I found him.

Blue was nowhere to be seen. He escaped from me and my hound coddling. I had no choice at this point, but to head home on the bus, still holding Blue’s hamburger in hand. Once on the bus, I began to look on every street corner thinking that by some chance, I could get this burger to Blue. In my family, even if you weren’t hungry you had to eat.

By Evan Krause on Unsplash

Out of the corner of my eye, through the bus window, I saw the familiar lope. This dog was not a dope. He was on a mission to go someplace, although it was not entirely clear where. I opened one of the windows, and yelled out, “Hey Blue, you forgot your hamburger... STOP”.

The dog looked at me when I got off the bus, with a sort of “I give up” look, and he surrendered by eating the burger. At this moment we fell in love, and he began to follow me around the city. All the while, I am trying to think about who I could call to find a temporary home for Blue.

About two miles into our journey, I stopped off at one of the older buildings, where this great guy was running for mayor. I was really hungry, and it was getting late, and I didn’t know what to do about Blue. As if my prayers were answered, a beautiful woman came out of the back of the office, and said that she was the office manager. On this day, they were having a buffet of Mexican food - my favorite, and she asked Blue if he was hungry. He was a great communicator. He said “ Yoooooow", which I assumed meant yes.

After a very generous lunch, I met new friends and began to feel a new connection with Tucson. Cecilia, told me that she had Blue Tick hounds at home, and that she would gladly take Blue because he liked to sit down for a good meal, could howl up a storm and would love the other dogs. He needed a good tick dip, but other than that, he would be fine and dandy. I didn’t have to take the bus home that day, as Cecilia and Blue drove me back home with my friend’s sweater, a plate of food and some good stories.


About the Creator

Zel Harrison

I travel with a nap sack on my back to gather stories and sit in the circle of humanity.

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    Zel HarrisonWritten by Zel Harrison

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