Welcoming a foxhound to our family

It was on a snowy Valentine’s Day when we made the trip to Save the Rescue Team II animal shelter in New Jersey to meet an American foxhound in need of a home. Bella came strolling into the shelter with her foster mom, Samantha. We were surprised at how sad Bella looked, but her foster mom assured us that she was really a happy dog! It didn’t matter, we couldn’t wait to open our hearts and home to this beautiful foxhound.


The final decision to adopt Bella rested with our border collie mix, Jason. When he first saw her he barked and lunged at the end of the leash. She paid no attention preferring to sniff out interesting smells around the shelter.  We took them for a walk around the neighborhood and by the time we got back they were great friends. It was so much fun watching them chasing one another through the snow in the shelter’s fenced-in yard.

We brought Bella home and a whole new doggy adventure began. All we knew about her history was that she had lived with a pack of hounds in Virginia before being left at a shelter.  Even though she was only 1 year old, we could tell that she’d had a litter of puppies. We’ll never know why she was abandoned but their loss was most definitely our gain!

Sharing our home with a foxhound

Bella had never lived in a house except for the three weeks she spent with her foster mom, who did a wonderful job with her early training. We had the fun of introducing her to stairs – in the beginning, she descended at crazy speeds, but eventually got the hang of it. She took the doggy door in her stride, while it took a little longer to learn that she shouldn’t jump onto tables.

It’s been so interesting for me having a foxhound living in the house.  As children, we were never allowed to pet or play with the hounds in the kennel. My father, who was the master of the pack, told us that if we made pets out of the dogs it would ruin them for hunting. So, I was interested to see what it would be like to have a hound as a pet.


We enrolled Bella in basic obedience training. She did well for about the first 20 minutes of each class, after that she got bored and tuned us out. Luckily, she is treat motivated so I could coax her cooperation.

Mealtimes were interesting because Bella seemed to assume that she should share our food with us. When we told her “no” and sent her to her “place” she would go into a play bow and bay at us. This was such a novelty, and we were amused in the beginning but knew better than to allow that behavior to continue. Once Bella started baying it was like she couldn’t stop – and when Jason joined in we had quite the chorus. I discovered that Bella hates the sound of the harmonica, so all I had to do was blow on it once and that put a stop to the bay fest.

Bella settles into  a routine

At first, Jason didn’t know what to do with his new sister. She followed him everywhere and instead of lying down beside him, she would lay on top of him. Hounds living in a pack tend to do this to keep one another warm, so I’m guessing this gave Bella a sense of security. Jason was a good sport and finally gave in and let her lay her head on his back.

american foxhound bella loves to curl up with border collie mix jason

Bella has adjusted to living as part of our family. She’s good for about 10 minutes of doggy play after breakfast and dinner. She loves going for walks and does plenty of sleeping in between.  When she’s in the mood for some attention, Bella pops up on the couch and stares at me before extending her paw. After a few minutes of this, she bows her head for a head butt and then settles down for a snooze.  She’s an adorable dog who has totally won our hearts.