Kennel characters: Foxy, the boss

Foxy checks everyone out on entry to the kennel. A biscuit gratuity is always appreciated!

Foxy checks everyone out on entry to the kennel. A biscuit gratuity is always appreciated!

FOXY does what she likes. And why not? She’s the boss. Foxy is a hound, but, strictly speaking, she’s not part of the pack. Jerry Miller adopted her about seven years ago when her first owner discovered that Foxy’s two main attributes (as she sees it) made her incompatible with life as a house dog. First, no fence is big enough to keep her in. Second, she’s loud. Really loud.

Now about 10 years old, Foxy can still scale any fence, but she doesn’t seem as inclined to these days. Probably that’s because she takes her kennel duties so seriously.

“She bosses the hounds around,” says Michael Edwards, the Iroquois Hunt’s kennelman. “I guess it’s because she’s so loud, and it intimidates the hell out of them. When we turn the hounds out, Foxy runs them out, and when we bring the hounds back in, she runs them back in the kennel. If we turn them out and someone doesn’t want to come out, she goes in and pretty much runs them out, barking at them.”

Like any good den mother, Foxy doesn’t take any guff, either. The “GL” puppies–the litter of hounds whose names begin with the letter combination GL–learned this early on when a few of them got a little sassy with her one day, getting in her face and barking back at her. Foxy gave them a good growl and unleashed her most ferocious bark, startling the GLs, who promptly rolled over in submission. Foxy’s authority hasn’t been challenged since.

Does she boss the kennel staff, too? “You know, I guess she does,” Michael acknowledges. “She barks to be let out and barks to be let in again.”

Foxy on patrol!

Foxy on patrol!

Interestingly, Foxy always seeks out the largest male hound for a playmate. “I don’t know whether she’s showing her dominance or whether she thinks they’re handsome, but she always seems to go for the big guys to run around and play with,” Michael says.

Foxy’s job has its perks. She comes and goes as she pleases. She gets to chase rabbits all over the farm. She used to follow the hunt during the season from the comfort of the hound truck, “but she just wanted to hunt too much, and she was also just too loud,” Michael explains. At the end of her long workday, Foxy usully dines with the retired hounds cared for by the Hound Welfare Fund, and then she retires to her bed in the kennel office, which is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Her duties don’t always end at bedtime. “When we have a hound that’s sick or injured, we usually separate it out from the group and put it in the office while it’s recovering,” says Michael. “She seems to know that when there’s someone in the office with her, they need a little extra care. She’ll settle down with them, and her demeanor changes then. She’s not as bossy then.”

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