I still remember the evening we got Cleopatra. It was snowing and
we had to drive to Ozark, Missouri. Someone had found a basset hound
and it needed a home. We had been dog-less for about a year or so after having
to put our old basset hound, Geairmo, down and we didn’t think we
were ready to have another dog yet.
Kenny had talked to a friend of his and he
said he would take her if we would go pick her up, she was going to be a
We pulled up to the house and out came this little otter of a dog, small and skinny
and full of wiggle. As soon as Kenny put her in the truck with us, I knew that she
was more than just a “farm dog”…..she was a little princess and she was
coming home with us.
She didn’t take to riding in the truck very well, she cried and barked and wanted nothing
to do with it.
But what do you name a princess or better yet, a queen?
We had been going to Las Vegas most summers and staying at Caesars Palace, Kenny came up with Cleopatra…..
it seemed to fit.
As I said, we had another basset hound before, but Cleopatra was
different…..she was smart as a whip! She loved balls and would
chase balls for you back and forth…she gave them up readily
so you could throw them for her again.
With some practice she learned to sit, shake, lie down, lie “way down”,
which meant lying down and putting her head on the ground,
she even learned to roll over….she was smart!
It wasn’t long before we realized that if we called her “Cleo”, she didn’t
respond…..she was definitely “Cleopatra”!
Well, Cleopatra was perhaps a little too smart…..when we left
her home alone she ended up getting into some sort of mischief…..
I remember coming home from work one day and finding tomato starts that
she had drug out of the sunroom and into the (at that time) carpeted living
room….dirt strung everywhere.
She needed something to keep her occupied, perhaps another dog.
That is when we got Big Truvy to keep Cleopatra company.
Cleopatra excelled at being a great mother figure to
Big Truvy, she was kind and playful with her and I think
this “mothering” kept her out of a lot of mischief that she
would have been into otherwise during the day.
She mothered Big Truvy right up until the end when Truvy
got sick…..I still remember Cleopatra taking a candy corn
that we had given her and her taking it in her mouth
over to Big Truvy and dropping it in front of her because
she didn’t feel like getting up….she was definitely
one special dog.
She didn’t mind dressing up, as long as you would
praise her and tell her how cute she looked.
She was darling as a ballerina…..
and as a sunflower….
Her aunt Donna knitted her a little pink jacket and she thought
she was the bombe in it….
Then someone started laughing at her and saying
she looked like a little pig…..that hurt her feelings
and she went and got on the couch and sulked for
the rest of the night.
Cleopatra also had an affinity for ditches….it didn’t
matter how big or how small the ditch was….she wanted down
She was also quite the hunter….she was a girly dog, but
she didn’t mind getting down and dirty if there was
something to be hunted….here she’s after something
living under the back deck….
Cleopatra missed Big Truvy after she was gone, so she
started going on walks and play dates with Lily and Belle,
my friend Patti’s dogs…..
I remember how Belle loved to chew on Cleopatra’s
ears and Cleopatra really didn’t seem to mind.
The one thing Cleopatra didn’t like were the stairs in
Patti’s house…..well, she didn’t mind going UP, but she
had to be carried DOWN!
Lily and Belle made great playmates for Cleopatra, but
she still didn’t like being home alone all day while
we were at work…..eventually we brought home Lonnie.
Lonnie needed someone to show him the ropes of life
and Cleopatra was more than happy to oblige….even though
he was bigger than she was (she could walk underneath him),
she was the boss!
On Monday morning we were fortunate enough to be at home when
Cleopatra passed from this earth.
She hadn’t been eating, but on Sunday she started eating again
and even went for a walk in the park and chased a rabbit.
I suppose that was her gift to all of us, to see her looking happy
for that one last day.
Of course that is how Cleopatra always was and always will be in our
hearts….a sweet, happy girl.
We miss you Cleopatra….