RYE RESCUES: with Deidre and Tom Burbank

Just look into those eyes! Deidre and Tom Burbank did, and fell in love with a bloodhound named Amazing Grace. Here is Deidre and Tom’s “happy tail.”

Published March 7, 2014 5:29 PM
4 min read


ryerescures-thumbJust look into those eyes! Deidre and Tom Burbank did, and fell in love with a bloodhound named Amazing Grace. Here is Deidre and Tom’s “happy tail.”


A6-Amazing-GraceJust look into those eyes! Deidre and Tom Burbank did, and fell in love with a bloodhound named Amazing Grace. Here is Deidre and Tom’s “happy tail.”

We’d only been in our new little home on Davis Avenue for a few weeks when the phone rang one day. It was my mother-in-law calling from upstate to say she had just paid a visit to their veterinarian, and while in the waiting room had met a “beautiful” bloodhound that just happened to be up for adoption. I listened as my mother-in-law raved about a dog named Amazing Grace. She explained how she was compelled to call because, unbeknownst to me, my husband Tom had always dreamed of owning a bloodhound. This was new information for me, but I listened as she told me Grace’s rescue story. I can still hear her parting words as she said she would leave it up to me to give Tom the message or not!

The message was delivered, and the next weekend we were scheduled to meet Amazing Grace. Having never had a dog of my own, I must admit I was a little excited.

True to form, she was beautiful — black and tan with big soulful brown eyes — and big, at close to 85 pounds. She clearly had not been treated well, however. She had hairless spots on her front and back legs where there were callouses, from lying on a cement area for long stretches of time. She was nervous and skittish. We never fully learned Amazing Grace’s story, but we knew she was removed from her previous owner by a neighbor who was trying to find her a happier home.

It was decision time. I didn’t know if we were ready for a very large dog in our small house, especially one who needed TLC, and with both of us working. And were we the right ones for her? Right from my mother-law’s script, my husband said it was up to me. (I wondered if they had secretly plotted this.)

I was unable to take the out. Amazing Grace became ours, our official first run at taking care of something other than ourselves.

The rest is history. She quickly became a part of us. We were now a pack of three. With the pack mentality intact, and some issues left over from her previous life, Amazing Grace became very protective. No one walked in our house without a full-on assault. Tom seemed to enjoy how this kept his three brother-in-laws at a distance! She also ran the length of the property at passersby, baying that beautiful bloodhound voice that we warmly reflect back on as a long stretched out “DOOOOOOO.” She had a voice like none other, one that would make you stop dead in your tracks, or at the very least pick up your pace considerably. As she was territorial and protective, we put up a fence.
Amazing Grace affectionately became Gracie. In time we realized that some of her aggression was due to the fact that her vision was impaired because of the classic wrinkly folds of skin on her forehead that is part of the bloodhound ‘beauty.” So we scheduled her for facelift surgery. (We were young, two salaries. What else was there to do with our money?)

We quickly learned that her facial skin and baying at the neighbors were not the only qualities that proved Gracie a true bloodhound. She had long ears that got a bath every time she went to her water bowl, which in turn became crusty from being constantly wet. But the biggest of all challenges was the drooling, which is not bloodhound folklore. They really do drool and they drool a lot. Not to mention shake their head regularly, so that the drool goes flying, all over your new little house.

Years after her passing, we could still identify a spot or two in some remote ceiling corner which we knew to be something we wouldn’t want to admit to any guest.

I never would have guessed how much I would grow to love my husband’s baying, drooling, long-eared, face-lifted lifelong dream. We affectionately referred to Gracie as the “Best Hound on the Sound.”  I am so glad I didn’t take the out I was given not once but twice. My mother-in-law knows a beauty when she sees one, on the inside and out. Amazing Grace, “Gracie” was a part of our pack for the final three years of her life. There was no better prep for parenthood (more baying and drooling was soon to follow), and no better feeling than to have felt like we gave her a happy little home.


If you have a pet rescue story you’d like to share, email Rye Rescues@gmail.com.

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