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
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
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!
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
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!