with Horse and Hound

The Lost Hound

lost hound.gastonLost Hound illustration by Jane Gaston from the book of the same name by Robert AshcomYoung Entry---a common phrase used to describe the puppies just entered into the pack. Very soon, most of us will be watching them with a mixture of curiosity and expectation. To the huntsman, they hold the keys to his future successes or disappointments; to the Masters they are the ratification or the despair of their breeding philosophies; to those members of the field who have walked hounds, a few are dear and even exasperating friends known practically from the cradle; to most fieldmembers, they are a curious batch of newcomers from whom much is expected. But imagine entering the pack from the puppies' point of view---suddenly turned loose for the first time midst a bewildering flurry of horses, staff, new sounds, and new sights. After a year of control and repression, the puppy is now free to blossom into the being its up-to-now-stifled genes have urged it to be. How frightening and at the same time how exhilarating! And then the moment when, experimenting with its freedom and following its nose, it suddenly finds itself completely alone for the first time ever. And utterly lost. Here's a sympathetic look by Will Ogilvie.

The winter sunset lit the leafless trees
With gold and crimson as the short day waned;
The wind had ceased its plaintive melodies;
The woodland darkened, and deep silence reigned.

Then sudden from the firs there rose a wail,
A cry that shook the heavens with distress;
A lost hound stood, one foot upon the rail,
Telling the crescent moon his loneliness.

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