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Pencil

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PET OF THE MONTH!

To be published in the June 24, 2014 issue of BEACH METRO COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER 

 by Marna Gale

 

I wasn’t thinking of Sompong Yusoontorn when I named this stray beagle ‘Pencil’. I hadn’t even heard of the inspirational leader from Bangkok. In all honesty, I chose the name because he was skinny and I thought it was cute. But like a pencil, this stick thin fellow is capable of such beautiful expression and it’s all coming from deep inside!

 

There’s been much said about pencils since their invention over 200 years ago. “No one is perfect…that’s why pencils have erasers,” is quoted the most often. Another witty individual came up with, “The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half inch eraser – in case you thought optimism was dead.” Yet another quipped, “When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers.”

 

But Mr. Yusoontorn sees the relationship between pencil and eraser in a far more positive light.

 

The pencil is indeed expected to make his mark in the world but he could never succeed without his steadfast companion - the trusty eraser. We learn from our mistakes and the eraser is there to clean them up so we can start again. We tend to make lots of mistakes before we get it right. Consequently, the eraser wears down and must be replaced. That’s okay. Every worn down eraser means we’re that much closer to a perfect world.

 

In Pencil the beagle’s case, his rescuers are his devoted erasers as he makes his mark in the happy new world we’ve made for him.

 

It was the end of March when I got the email from the caring staff at Toronto Animal Services – South Region. They’d taken in a stray beagle guessed at 6 to 8 years old. They described him as lovely. But lovely boys with concerning medical issues don’t find homes easily. Their mystery beagle with the beautiful disposition had a mid-range heart murmur, a worn down set of teeth suggesting a tough life of eating non-edible things, and significant muscle loss in his front legs. On the bright side, he takes no issue with other dogs, cats or even the bath he desperately needed upon arrival. However, his ultimate favourite thing is hugging any human that falls prey to his affections. Pretty much everyone falls prey to his affections.

 

Our beagle rescue has a habit of falling prey to beagles with baggage. Checking, or rather erasing, this beagle’s baggage wouldn’t be easy. Along with the standard clean-up procedure of a senior blood profile, heartworm test and vaccinations, he would need x-rays of his heart to ensure all was well before he could be neutered. He’d also need x-rays of those wonky front legs.

 

If Pencil were the only beagle in need with mistakes to correct, we’d effortlessly ace the test, but our erasers have been hopping like little pink rabbits at a beagle convention since January. Funding would have completely run out by now if not for the success of events like our Beagle Wiggle Walkathon at WOOFSTOCK on May 25th. The picture of Pencil shown here was taken on that special day when we raised more money for our homeless howlers than at any previous event.

 

Practically a month later and a couple more beagles with baggage in the repair shop, our eraser is once again wearing down. But we’ll keep buffing up beagles as long as we can. Somehow, the eraser never seems to wear down completely. We’ve got our faithful supporters to thank for that.

 

As for Pencil, he’s got yet another earnest eraser working for him. Just before Easter, Pencil was ready to be released from hospital after his neuter operation. Chest x-rays had revealed no evidence of heart disease, making it possible to safely proceed with surgery. X-rays of his front legs confirmed signs of a degenerative process which may need further probing by a specialist. In the meantime, a daily dose of anti-inflammatory and moderate exercise seems to be doing the trick. In other words, there’s nothing to prevent Pencil from expressing himself! Just ask his latest faithful eraser and foster mom Natalie Beck, one of our valued veterinarians at Beaches Animal Hospital, who welcomed Pencil home that long weekend. He’s learned so much already, like how tinkles are best appreciated outdoors and that Percy the cat reigns supreme even if he’s smaller than Mr. Pencil. Luckily that rule doesn’t apply to Natalie’s Yorkie and Shih-tzu. Winter and Willow get no respect when it comes to playtime, better known as Pencil-Mania.

 

Natalie’s favourite Pencil-ism would be his morning ritual. Every morning, Pencil greets the new day with a big, wake-everybody-up yawn combined with a one-of-a-kind stretch. Natalie calls the stretch Pencil’s doggy version of a yoga pose. There’s nothing quite like self-expression!

 

Speaking of favourite Pencil-isms, I’ve got one of my own. It happened at WOOFSTOCK where most groovy psychedelic things happen. Pencil and I were hypnotically watching the world go by under a big shady tree. That’s when he gave me one of his pencil fine hugs. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced one of these. He left a mark on my heart that day. No mistake about that.

 

  

           

Pencil is an approximately 7-year-old beagle sharpening up his skills with a little help from Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, www.bigonbeagles.ca. What are you waiting for? Get the lead out! With just one hug, he’ll make a permanent mark on YOUR heart!

June 4, 2014 pupdate:

 Pencil had a great time participating in the BEAGLE WIGGLE WALKATHON at Woofstock on May 25th although he was limping a bit afterwards. Things had been so busy for us preparing for Woofstock that I hadn't seen Pencil since Good Friday when his foster mommy took him home for the first time! Seeing him again at Woofstock was the greatest! I'm absolutely in love with this dog! If I didn't have so many already...(sigh)

 At any rate, beagle lovers, here's a wonderful pupdate below from his foster mom (one of our amazing vets at BEACHES ANIMAL HOSPITAL!), Natalie! We'll be looking for the perfect adopter for our Pencil. Could that perfect adopter be you???

 

Hi Marna!


I wanted to give you a long overdue update on how your Pencil is doing!

 

For the last month and a bit, I have had the pleasure of taking care of him. I have watched him grow through his issues of marking in the house to understanding that we use the outside for that purpose. He has come a long way in that regard. I'm so proud of him!!! He is so sweet and social with all humans and pets alike! That includes both dogs and cats and he figured out in a short period of time to respect my outdoor cat Percy as everyone in the house respects Percy (humans too). LOL! He is so cuddly and is so content to lay in your lap. He doesn't understand that he is slightly larger than my yorkie Willow and wants in the action. He enjoys his walks and uses his nose to explore his surroundings and walks well with a double leash with the other end attached to my Shih Tzu Winter. The first cute thing that he does every morning is to let out a big yawn and stretch in a downward dog yoga pose. It's so cute!! And the other dogs then know that its time to wake for them too.

 He does love to walk but has a great time in the backyard too and I don't think he requires too much exercise especially because of his mobility issues. After a long walk he does seem sore so I think he is content with short ones and hanging in the backyard because there are a lot of Squirrels to keep him busy there too.


Have a nice day and Pencil asked me to give you a warm Hello from him too!!


Take Care,

Natalie

 

April 16, 2014 pupdate: Pencil had his neuter operation today and we'll be released from hospital in time for Easter!   

 

April 15, 2014 pupdate: Pencil saw the cardiologist for an ultrasound of his heart today. All went well! His heart looks good! No enlargement and no sign of heart disease so he's good to go for his neuter operation tomorrow!

 

 Excerpt from April 1, 2014 eblast:

 

 


And then there was Pencil. In the midst of all this sad excitement over Duke, I got an email from our friends at Toronto Animal Services - South Region branch. A skinny beagle of about 8 years old had been taken in as a stray. He was completely terrified to be there. It took time to pry him out from the back of his cage by the caring staff. But oh, how much he wanted to trust them! Still waters run deep and this introspective little beagle is so very deep. We don't know what has made him so uncertain, but there are telltale signs of a very sad past. His front leg has lost a great deal of muscle mass and x-rays show that it appears he suffered an injury in the past that was never addressed. He may have been hit by a car or struck with something. He limps as a result so we're looking into the possibility of pain as a consequence to the old injury by trying pain meds and observing their effect. Pencil also has a rather significant heart murmur, but thankfully no signs of heart disease. We hope to have him neutered shortly and, like Duke, have him happily settling into just the right foster home in a week's time. Pencil needs a quiet, loving environment with a gentle hand and the reassurance of a soft voice whispering sweet nothings in his beautiful beagle ears.