9 min read

Rescue Basset Hound Has A Different Bandana For Every Day Of The Year

"On Valentine's Day, he handed out heart bandanas to all of his dog friends; the girls got pink ones and the boys got blue.”

Cletus the basset hound spent the first part of his life being used as a breeding dog in Tijuana, Mexico. When his owners decided he was no longer useful to them, they dumped him — but luckily, he was found and rescued by the Animal Wellness Foundation

When Cletus was first rescued, he was underweight and covered in fleas. He also had an eye infection, ear infections, rotten teeth, a ripped ear and welts all over his sides, likely from being frequently hit. Somehow, though, his spirit was never broken, and he happily settled into life at the rescue, greeting everyone he met with a smile and waiting for the day when his forever family finally found him. 

When Ashley Parker first heard about Cletus at an event she attended, she didn’t think she was ready to take a dog home. She’d grown up with a basset hound, though, and Cletus and his story struck a chord with her. That night she looked up pictures of him online. Every day for a few months, Parker would check the rescue’s Facebook page for updates on Cletus and even watched him on a webcam of the rescue’s doggie yard. Finally, when she found out the rescue was having an adoption event, she decided to go and meet Cletus in person — even though she still wasn’t planning on adopting him. 

“I remember pulling up in the parking lot and being so excited and almost nervous,” Parker told The Dodo. “I was finally going to meet him in person. Kind of like the feeling before a first date. When I met him he waddled right over to me and was wagging his tail. Most of the other dogs were barking or nervous but he was smiling for everyone and was so sweet to everyone who came over to pet him.” 

Parker filled out an adoption application for Cletus that day, but still wasn’t convinced that she was actually going to go through with it. A few days later, she went to visit him again, and realized there was no way she could let him be without a family for even a moment longer. 

“When I saw him again, it just hit me: This is my dog,” Parker said. “This is why he hasn't been adopted yet, because he was waiting on me! I called my mom and said, ‘I know this sounds crazy but I'm going to adopt him.’ I remember her saying, ‘Are you sure, your whole life is going to change.’ A week later I brought him home and she was right, my whole life did change, and for the best, because he's my everything!”

Cletus has been with his new mom for almost a year now, and is loving every moment of his new life. He’s such a happy dog, and loves everyone he meets, especially the ladies. He goes everywhere with his mom, from restaurants to events to just walking around Los Angeles, and often gets stopped by passersby — mostly because of his amazing bandanas. 

When Parker first adopted Cletus, her mom decided she was going to start making special bandanas for him. She frequently goes to the fabric store to pick out new material and sends a new batch of them every other week. Now Cletus has over 200 bandanas in his repertoire and wears a different one every single day. 

“He has multiple ones for every holiday,” Parker said. “Some favorite prints he has are cars, bugs, popcorn, tie-dye, puppies, hotdogs, stars, plaid, wine bottles, sharks, anchors, emojis, tacos, dinosaurs, rubber duckies, Dr. Seuss and watermelons. He definitely gets the most attention when he wears his Snoopy bandanas. He has about 20 of them and they seem to be everyone's favorite! On Valentine's Day, he handed out heart bandanas to all of his dog friends; the girls got pink ones and the boys got blue.” 

Everyone who encounters Cletus absolutely adores his bandanas. He gets so many compliments and head scratches because of them, and a few people have even pulled their cars over when Cletus is out on a walk to say hello and check out his outfit. 

“My neighbors know he wears a different one every day, so I know they get excited to see what he is wearing each day,” Parker said. “And we always pop into the apartment complex leasing office every day so they can see which one he is wearing (and they reward him with a treat).”

rescue basset hound wears bandanas
Instagram/cletusthebasset

Cletus has even attracted the attention of several celebrities because of his bandanas, including Weird Al Yankovic, Lisa Vanderpump and Kenta Maeda, pitcher for the LA Dodgers. 

Cletus may have had a rough start to life, but now he’s living every day in style, and couldn’t be happier with his new life. 

“He is now so happy and healthy and I think just so grateful,” Parker said. “I always say he is in retirement, even though he is only 5. He had a rough life before me and I just want to make him feel loved every day.”