Foxhound puppies sent out of the kennels to live at hunt members’ and supporters’ farms for socializing are said to be “at walk.” It's sort of like summer camp for the pups, and it happens every spring and summer. When destruction to yard, garden, and shrubs exceeds the limits of the puppy walkers’ tolerance, the hounds are returned to the kennels. By that time, the puppies will have grown and prospered, learned their names, been introduced to the lead, and more or less socialized. A break for the huntsman, an education for the puppies, and an annual delight for the puppy walkers.
The author and her family have walked puppies for the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) every summer for nearly twenty years. This blog was first published in Foxhunting Life nearly ten years ago and this being the time of year when hound puppies are out at walk, we thought it would be fun to bring it back.
"Incredibly destructive,” I muttered yesterday evening as my husband, Bill, and I were eating dinner on our screen porch, watching these two terrorists drag the cover to our outdoor grill across the patio. Because they are hound dogs, nothing is off limits. Their little noses find the smallest scent and their first reaction is to either chew it or dig for it. A crumb or a caterpillar, a two-day old footprint from a passing varmint, or a newly plopped horse turd sends them into olfactory ecstasy. I’ve tried to imagine being able to smell everything a hound dog can smell…what a new world that would be.
I look forward to the puppies every summer. They make me smile, and what better way to spend a day?