With long ears, short legs and a stout build, running can be somewhat tricky for basset hounds Winston and Miles. But when Amy Doling enters the backyard to greet her boys, they move to her with the determination of uncoordinated toddlers. Wet and sloppy toddlers.
Doling, an associate professor of biology at Simpson, didn’t grow up having a dog as a pet. But you’d never guess that after seeing her rolling around with Winston and Miles, each of whom weighs in at over 50 lbs.
“These dogs are resilient,” Doling explained. “ They’re loving pets. They don’t hold grudges. Their personalities are interesting, they’re very beautiful and pretty independent.”
Odds are, if the dogs could talk, they’d attest that the feelings are mutual.
It was Doling who, three years ago, proved to be a lifesaver for then-puppy Winston. After having a conversation with a friend who worked for Hounds Haven Basset Rescue of Iowa, a foster and adoption organization for bassets, Doling agreed to foster Winston until another owner was willing to adopt him. She already had Miles since 2005, and his independence and stubbornness is what attracted her to Winston.
After fostering Winston for a short few weeks, the knock at the door came — someone who was interested in adopting the wide-eyed pup. However by this time, Doling had fallen in love with Winston herself, and wasn’t ready to part ways.
“Of course I couldn’t give him up,” Doling confessed.
Since then, Doling has volunteered with Hounds Haven, located in Vale, Iowa. Doling and the other volunteers work with basset hounds in and outside of the state. The volunteers pay for many things out-of-pocket, but donations and fundraising efforts foot the bill for the veterinary visits for the dogs.
Doling says she is usually a somewhat private person, but when it comes to her “boys” she’s willing to talk for hours on end.
“Although they are extremely naughty, drool, shed and generally make a mess, they show unconditional love in a way that is hard to describe,” she said. “And who could resist laughing when Winston breaks into the bathroom and drinks out of the toilet with the seat and lid resting on his head?”
And there’s no doubt that the pair love her just as much as she loves them. Evidenced by the wet and sloppy greeting she gets from them every day.