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November a month for regal beagles and pooch presidents

I’m the worst at remembering important dates, except maybe for one. That was the time when Rescue Case #71 was sworn into Big On Beagles (BOB). How could I forget? It happened four years ago this month. Barack Obama had just become the 44th President of the United States. The stray beagle from Scarborough pound would share a similar victory. Of course, he needed the perfect name to commemorate such a historical event.

Dwight D. Eisenhowler takes a nap on a comfortable rock in the garden.

While Obama moved into the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhowler moved into ours. No grueling campaigning necessary. No speeches, banners or buttons. I clearly recall him just batting those flirtatious blond eyelashes while staring expectantly up at me with big inspirational dark chocolate brown saucers for eyes. He won my vote by a landslide.

It didn’t matter that he walked like a drunken sailor, hind legs crossing with every step. The shelter veterinarian had good cause to believe the roughly eight-year-old beagle might have a neurological issue. Nevertheless, Dwight met the BOB criteria:

Down on his luck?
Homeless?
No other options?
Adorable?(!)

As it turns out, we should have checked off ‘big spender’ too. It really should come as no surprise. Veterinary bills go hand-in-paw with rescuing mostly senior beagles thrown out like yesterday’s newspaper. Fortunately, we believe in recycling.

But Dwight has definitely been the biggest spender so far. First on his ‘to do’ list as President (of No Country for Old Dogs) was a trip to our vet to validate the shelter vet’s suspicions, followed by a trip to the neurologist, followed by an MRI which was ultimately followed by surgery to remove a cyst pressing on his spine. Yes, the little lemon and white beagle from who-knows-where was, in truth, a pure lemon.

That same month, we hosted our third Annual Beagle Bash For Cash, and raised a record-breaking $4,000! Dwight spent the entire wad. It was almost as though he planned the whole thing.

So that’s how he came to be introduced as “Dwight, the most expensive rescue case in BOB history!”

I think he was proud of the title. As for the peach-fuzz patch on his backside post-surgery that took a year to grow in, not so proud. He tended to wear a lot of sweaters back then.

Rehab consisted of daily short walks to gradually build up his muscles. He quite liked the sympathetic attention associated with being a recovering patient. By the time he perfected his patented long-jump landings on the couch, Dwight was far too settled in with his cabinet to ever think of retiring. After just one year in office, we officially adopted him.

Recently, we started planning for his next four-year term. Judging from the hole he was digging in the back yard for future meetings abroad (better for the environment than travelling via Air Force One), he was planning on that next term with just as much wild anticipation. Best laid plans of mice, men and beagles that would be president. We lost our Dwight to cancer a couple weeks ago. He never got to finish digging that hole, but we’re keeping the excavation site open for the next candidate.

Some may wonder why it’s worth the heartache to love an animal as much as animal lovers do. And in return, we say…well, maybe we don’t say anything at all. Maybe we just smile and silently hold every precious little memory deep within our hearts – like the time our silly little lemon-drop drifted dreamily off to sleep on a warm summer day, despite choosing a rock for a pillow.

Dwight gave us that memory and a million more during his four-year reign because we had understood, back on that landmark of a November day, he only looked broken and beyond repair. He was fixable and darn worth fixing. He proved it with every optimistic wag of that commanding tail. He proves it even now by giving me reason to keep campaigning for beagles meant to be leaders.

Sooner, the latest BOB rescue.

Speaking of which, Rescue Case #108 has suddenly hit the campaign trail – pencil thin, but determined to leave her mark! She certainly made an impression on her rescuers at Hamilton Animal Control after being scooped up off the streets. When nobody claimed her, we got the call that always sounds so familiar – “Do you have room for a roughly eight-year-old beagle?” She was deemed too old for the adoption program at the SPCA next door. Of course, one is never too old to run for President!

We’ve named her Sooner, as in ‘sooner than expected’. Then again, (your faithful columnist writes after a momentary glance at the irresistible candidate peering out from under a blanket with inspirational eyes of her own), maybe Sooner arrived right on time. I think we’re ready for a female President, don’t you?

Our 7th Annual BEAGLE BASH FOR CASH at Pawsway on Dec. 2 is dedicated to the many happy memories of our 71st President, Dwight D. Eisenhowler. Who will be his successor? Support your favourite homeless howler by joining us for the biggest FUNdraising Party of the year! In the meantime, learn all about our candidates at Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, bigonbeagles.ca.

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