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ELIZABETH

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On July 8, 2011, we lost our Elizabeth while at our farm. This has been an extremely difficult loss for me and my family. Please visit our Home Page to see the article in her memory which will be published in the upcoming issue of the Beach Metro Community News. My girl with the angelfish tattoo will be missed beyond words. 

PUPdate as of March 9, 2011:

It's high time we gave you an update on The Queen! Elizabeth aka Lizzy aka Pickles (my husband's nickname for her) is still ruling the roost...well, at least her dog bed. Her many dog beds. Now in her 18th year, Elizabeth spends most of her time napping, but she seems content with her life of leisure. If only we shared that life! Instead, we're forever armed with paper towels, mops and carpet cleaner! You see, your majesty is slipping a little when it comes to cognitive function. She's having trouble differentiating between outdoors and indoors which results in daily "accidents". She also has taken to wandering the castle at odd hours which is good for exercise, we suppose. At any rate, we're currently trying a drug treatment to see if it might help at all. We're not expecting miracles. All that really matters is that our precious Lady of the House is comfortable and happy. She's worth the trouble.

Elizabeth's media debut in "Dogs,Dogs,Dogs!" Oct/Nov 2009 issue! Read the article below..."Marna's Dog Tales":

Saving Elizabeth...

I used to think the saddest, loneliest sound of all was a toss up between a train whistle blowing far off in the distance and the cry of a loon on the lake at sunset. But that was before I met Elizabeth...

Elizabeth crashed into me, literally and figuratively, at the tail-end of summer. She would be our 83rd beagle saved since Big On Beagles Rescue (BOB) became official in 2001.

But the beagle who started it all, the inspiration behind my life’s work, was Darwin. He was my introduction to the rescue world. Initiation is probably the better terminology. I was young, naïve and thrilled to foster anything with 4 legs and a tail. Apparently, the little scallywag had been returned by not one but two foster homes for the Etobicoke Humane Society and I had anxiously applied to be his next victim.

They say you always keep your first foster and, despite the fact that Darwin was my first, I did. I adopted the Baddest Beagle in the Universe and loved him madly until the day he stopped doing bad things when I lost him to cancer at 15 years old. That was about a month before Elizabeth crashed into me and my inconsolable heart.

It’s always rush hour on the internet highway for rescue groups like ours. Urgent e-blasts of dogs at risk in shelters everywhere light up our computer screens practically on a daily basis. We slam on the brakes whenever we can. But when it came to Elizabeth, it was more like a head-on collision. Reading the caption below her picture was the point of impact for me. It was short and not the least bit sweet: 16 yrs old, blind, surrendered by owner due to move.

I shook my head for the billionth time since starting BOB. Of course, no matter how hard I shake the old noggin, I can never clear up the confusion enough to make sense of things like this. So instead, I try to focus on the saving and forget about the reason why the saving ever became necessary.

First step – inquire of the sender. One problem - Elizabeth wasn’t exactly a part of the urgent message I received. She wasn’t on the list of casualties about to happen at this overcrowded, yet heart-filled animal shelter in New York City. In fact, there were no beagles on the list and rescuing beagles is what we do. So what did I do for no apparent reason? I searched the shelter’s actual web site for any beagles in dire straits and stumbled across Elizabeth. Not that we needed any more beagles to save at the time, especially from across the border which obviously is more challenging than rescuing locally. Our foster homes were full…with one exception. I could squeeze in another at my own beagle-doused house…if my heart was willing and the situation was truly urgent.

My heart was definitely willing no matter how much it was hurting. As for Elizabeth’s situation, you bet your beagle’s howl it was urgent! She just got missed in the e-blast, that’s all. There was no hope in finding an adopter through the shelter for such an ancient dog. Finding a private rescue to scoop her up and save the day was her only chance. So the next step was deciding whether saving Elizabeth was the right thing to do – for Elizabeth.

Painful as it is for us to admit, we humans are typically much bigger babies than the average dog when the going gets tough. For instance, a dog can undergo major surgery and wonder why the heck Mom won’t let him run the marathon the next day. We, on the other hand, will wallow in self-pity post-op while being waited on hand and foot for weeks.

Still, Elizabeth’s case was different. Accepting a new life in an unfamiliar world, sightless and sixteen, was a whole lot to expect from her. But there’s one thing we often make an effort at having in common with dogs and that’s enthusiasm. Humans are enthusiastic about sad stories having happy endings. The average dog is enthusiastic about, let’s face it, everything.

As it turned out, enthusiasm over saving Elizabeth spread far and wide. The shelter staff went beyond the call of duty to help us achieve her happy ending. She was examined by the shelter’s vet to rule out serious illness and any physical pain she might be suffering that would make travel unbearable. She was fully vaccinated, heartworm tested and found negative, de-wormed, and even micro-chipped. Aside from a mouthful of rotting teeth, Elizabeth was in fine health with no outward signs of discomfort. But what about her heart, I wondered? Was it as broken as mine since losing Darwin and, if so, could it be repaired?

Its human nature to want to come to the rescue, so I did what came naturally. With the enthusiastic help of some other rescuers by nature, I saved the damsel from New York City. But this kind of saving is nothing like the fairytales. There’s no carrying off said damsel into the sunset to live happily ever after. Saving doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s a process, with happiness being the goal we hope dogs like Elizabeth can eventually achieve, one tentative pawstep at a time.

Elizabeth arrived at my door on the evening of August 30th, the night I changed my mind about what makes the saddest, loneliest sound in all the world. Sitting nervously on a bed of blankets in an unseen place far from all she’d ever known, Elizabeth pointed her nose up to an imaginary moon and cried.

Beagles howl. I of all people should know that. It’s music to my ears. This was entirely different. This was soul-crushing.

A week later, I sat down and wrote this article.

I haven’t heard the saddest, loneliest sound in the world for at least 3 days! Mind you, it’s probably a bit too soon to crack open the champagne considering Elizabeth’s dental surgery is scheduled the day after tomorrow. But something tells me if the soulful cry returns, it won’t last long. There are far too many heavenly signs that have me believing Elizabeth and I are headed in the right direction.

She’s kissed me more than once, sending my heart into orbit. She bumps into me all the time, but it doesn’t startle her anymore. Best of all, she’s got a growing list of favourite things that currently includes sniffing expeditions along the boardwalk, dipping her paws into the cool lake when it’s not too wavy, devouring one of the most expensive foods on the market each day, sleeping on top of no less than three layers of dog beds, and perking her ears to the sound of my daily singing. Not that she likes my singing. That would be impossible.

I know I can’t speak for Elizabeth. Even if I am convinced she’s being transformed into a storybook princess too happy to ever cry. But I do know one thing for certain. While going about the business of saving Elizabeth, this 16 year old blind beagle from New York City managed to save me.

[Elizabeth is a 16 year old beagle headed for happiness at BIG ON BEAGLES RESCUE (B.O.B) (www.bigonbeagles.ca) one cautiously placed paw at a time. Enormous thanks go out to the following fellow saviours of Miss Elizabeth: Vicky Castronovo, shelter liaison and Bed & Breakfast hostess to our little traveler, the Animal Care & Control of New York City - Brooklyn Center for saving Elizabeth first, Tara Bruno of Boston Terrier/Pug Rescue in New Jersey for springing her on our behalf, Dora Sesler of Project Pet Rescue (www.projectpetrescue.com) for not only coordinating Elizabeth’s transport but for driving the last leg straight to my door, and finally, to Elizabeth herself for saving my aching heart.]

 

Elizabeth's joins Big On Beagles on August 30, 2009:

Funny thing about the whole saving thing. In the movies, the hero saves the damsel in distress and everyone lives happily everafter. Sunshine and roses forever. 

But when it comes to saving a 16-year-old beagle, completely blind from severe cataracts...it's going to take a whole lot of saving before we get to that happy ending we're all waiting for.

This is Elizabeth. Our hearts went out to her when we learned she'd been dumped at the Manhattan Animal Control in New York City when her owners moved. We wanted to save her. But, was it the right thing to do? We worked with the shelter through our wonderful liaison, Vicky Castronovo, to determine the answer to that question as best we could. Elizabeth's heart was clearly broken, her eyes had failed her and her teeth were atrocious, but she seemed to be in such good health otherwise. Nobody wanted to put an end to her life there in the shelter. She was tested negative for heartworm, given her necessary shots to cross the border and thanks to the transporting efforts of our buddy Dora of Project Pet Rescue, Elizabeth arrived safe and sound to us this past Sunday night. 

Since her arrival, a trip to our vet for a full blood profile has proven she is in excellent health! She'll have her dental work done next Thursday.

In the meantime, it's back to saving Elizabeth in every other way. Her heart especially needs saving. She seems so lost and yet, with each passing day, there is improvement one tentative paw step at a time. She loves her walks on the beach with her Seeing Eye Beagle Entourage. She's also finally chosen the doggy cuisine of her liking and gobbled it right up last night. She's got a couple favourite dog beds too and especially likes it when I pile one on top of the other. And yet, each night before she curls up to sleep, she sings a soulful song and we can only speculate what it means and how she must feel to be displaced at 16.