File photo courtesy of Bruce Zeman
Hobbes in the WVTK studio in 2012
Hobbes has gone home for good — and animal lovers throughout Vermont are mourning his death.
Though diminutive in stature, the tiny, brown, short-haired Dachshund reached unparalleled heights for a rescue dog, as the four-legged member of Bruce & Hobbes
, America’s first human-canine radio team.
In 2013, the story of Hobbes’ rescue, by owners Bruce Zeman and Tami Crupi Zeman, became the subject of a children’s picture book, Hobbes Goes Home
, copies of which were sent as gifts to then-president Barack Obama. The 44th president later wrote a letter to the Zemans telling them how much he enjoyed the book.
Zeman, a longtime radio personality on 92.1 WVTK
in Middlebury, and later on Froggy 100.9
in Barre, went on to tour dozens of Vermont public schools
with Hobbes. He would read the book aloud and share its anti-bullying message.
The lovable little wiener dog had a humble beginning in broadcasting. In October 2009, Zeman was hosting a morning show on WVTK when he received a call from Homeward Bound
, Addison County's Humane Society
, about a newly rescued Dachshund that had been beaten nearly to death by its former owners. Zeman, who had spent years doing animal rescue work, including an extended stint on the Gulf Coast in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, rose to the occasion and adopted the severely wounded animal.
The Zemans nursed Hobbes back to health and, as his condition improved over the coming months, the pup became a fixture around the radio station. Zeman frequently talked about his new pet on his show and occasionally brought him into the studio, where Hobbes’ whines, yips and howls could be heard on the air.
Listeners took such a liking to the dog that in March 2010, Zeman made Hobbes his official co-host and dubbed their show “The Wake-Up Crew With Bruce & Hobbes.” The revamped show helped resurrect the flagging station
— and a dog star was born.
Over the years, Hobbes “interviewed” numerous Vermont luminaries on the air, including Rep. Peter Welch (D–Vt.) and former governors Jim Douglas and Peter Shumlin. In 2012, the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Association of Broadcasters honored Zeman and Hobbes for their commitment to community service. Hobbes was made an honorary police K-9 with the Bristol, Middlebury and Vergennes departments; a deputy sheriff in Addison County; and the official canine mascot of the New Haven Volunteer Fire Department.
Zeman announced Hobbes’ death Tuesday on Facebook, writing: “You have been worth every second of my time and I have tried to protect you from all the evil in the world as if my own life depended on it — because it did, and does. Nothing can prepare you for a loss like this.”
Hobbes was 13.