Here at the beagle repair shop, formally known as Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, we’re in the business of fixing discarded broken-down beagles. While some need only basic tune-ups, the majority require a complete overhaul. That’s because our primary focus is salvaging rusted-over classic gems. It may take more than a buff to the tail to restore these seasoned homeless howlers to their original glory, but that’s okay. We love what we do. Of course, we’ve got more than passion to thank for keeping our engines running.
You may recall my last article kicking off the 10th Annual K9 Rescue Me Walkathon at Woofstock. On that glorious first weekend in June, we pitched our bright red tent in St. James Park and reunited with 20 other fellow rescue groups to generate interest, excitement and support for our collective cause. We were all a bit worried about the last-minute change of venue for the Rescue Me Village, but we still got your attention a block away from the main event. The grand total raised has yet to be announced. Paws crossed, we raised the woof enough to make many more four-legged restoration projects possible for all of us in the months ahead.
If you had any doubt about how important each step you took that day was to a rescue group like ours, allow me to prove it to you now.
It was only 10 days after the Walkathon when eight-year-old Liza found her way to our repair shop. We’d barely finished thanking our walkers and those who pledged them when the call came in from Toronto Animal Services. They had rescued off the streets a most refined damsel with long legs and a nose to match. She appeared to be a beagle despite an astonishingly quiet disposition and an equally astonishing lack of appetite. That must have been their first clue something was wrong. Ultimately, X-rays revealed kidney stones too large for her to pass naturally. Surgery would be needed to remove them and that was not within the shelter’s budget. The pickle she was in brought to mind an old folk song slightly altered to suit the scenario. There was a stone in her bucket and we needed to fix it. That’s how dear Liza got her name.
The thing about long-neglected vintage beauties is the likelihood of more trouble than meets the eye. You fix one thing and another crack in the bucket appears. Such was the case with BOB Restoration Project #114. Her surgery went smoothly – stones removed, spay completed, and even a bad tooth yanked while we were at it. We thought she was on the road to recovery, until she refused to eat her palatable post-op puppy pudding.
At first, we were not daunted. A high-performance engine needs premium fuel to run. Maybe Miss Picky Pants just wanted the ultimate in canine cuisine, but she turned her pointy nose up at everything we offered. It was time to bring out the really good stuff – people food! We went the healthy route first, rest assured, but to no avail. Finally, we presented Her Highness with a fast food burger and wouldn’t you know our little Burger Queen gobbled it right down. Mystery solved, or so we thought. Burgers on the barbie didn’t work for long.
When a beagle won’t eat a burger, it’s got to be a medical emergency.
Back at the hospital, we learned Liza was suffering from a serious infection of an unknown origin causing her body temperature to heat up one minute and cool down the next. She had an entire medical team collaborating to save her but no matter what they tried, they couldn’t solve the mystery. I started to worry our repair shop might not be able to fix dear Liza after all.
Liza remained in hospital for well over a week. I’d swing by with her take-out burger orders, but she’d only pick at them. I’d softly sing “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza” in her big floppy ears but she’d only stare blankly back at me.
Maybe it was the fear of me singing to her one more time or maybe her medical team just found the right antibiotics, but Liza suddenly turned a corner for us a couple weeks ago. Her body temperature stabilized and she gradually became a beagle again. In other words, she found her voice and started howling for room service.
This past weekend, Liza joined me for a visit to our farm. On Sunday afternoon, I had a couple friends over and Liza won their hearts as easily as she did mine. We sat outside enjoying a drink while watching the beagles race each other around an invisible track. But Liza, the refined aristocrat that she is, took her sweet time under the speed limit as though she was the show stopper in a classic car parade. “Some people might wonder why we’d go to all this trouble and cost to save one dog,” I sighed. We all looked over at the girl with a passing fancy for barbecued burgers. Miss Show Stopper had left the parade to play with a stick bigger than her head, joyfully pouncing on it like an overgrown puppy. “That’s why,” my friend said with a smile.
This article is dedicated to the supporters who keep our engines running for the classic canines we’re here to restore – like dear Liza currently hamburgering it up at Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, www.bigonbeagles.ca !