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It’s a wonderful animal life

‘Twas the night before Deadline
(& a week before Christmas!) when all through my head,

Not a single thought was stirring, not even a thread!

Then all of a sudden, a jingle in my ear – The perfect idea for my first tale of the New Year!

Imagining applause, I took my bow… For this lovely little tale of Where They Are Now!

In 2013, I had the pleasure of interviewing seven delightful dogs, two darling donkeys kicking off their new lives with a well-deserved pedicure, and one adventurous cat with a passion for indoor mountain climbing.

It was fun checking back with the rescuers behind my fur-clad subjects to find out where they are now. I’ve got a year’s worth of face-lifts and up-tails to share with you!

Exactly one year ago, I wrote about Wesley. His owner was selling the farm and had no room for an old hound dog that had outlived his purpose. He was unceremoniously surrendered to a shelter just before Christmas and happily scooped up by Big On Beagles Rescue (BOB) in time to celebrate the New Year! He had an alcoholic beverage for a name but was thankfully unattached to it, so we named him after the farm boy in The Princess Bride. His foster parents officially adopted Wesley in September. Something about those big brown eyes made it impossible for them not to say “As you wish.”

In February, I wrote about Toby at Toronto Animal Services (TAS). The husky mix had been waiting months for someone to notice him. My article grabbed the attention of a family in search of the perfect playmate for their dog … or maybe it was the accompanying picture that spoke to them. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Whether it was his words or mine that led this loving family to the shelter that day, all that matters is he’s not invisible anymore.

Leland the lap poodle at Happy Tails Rescue (HTR) was my Mr. March. Apparently, he’s still waiting for someone to fall permanently under his spell. But they don’t call it Happy Tails for nothing! Leland is as bouncy as his curls despite the wait. For now, he’s happy to warm foster mom’s lap while visions of adoption day dance in his head.

I got frisky in April when I wrote about Gregory the cat in the care of Beaches Animal Hospital after he’d been rescued off the street. Gregory views all furniture as indoor mountain ranges. At the clinic, the food shelf was his Mount Everest. A paw-swiped can of dog food was his avalanche. Following emergency dental surgery for a broken tooth, Gregory was all smiles when he somehow charmed a family prepared for adventure! He now goes by the name Smokey. Isn’t that the name of a mountain?

In May, I brayed about Polly and Nelly, two rescued donkeys at PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. The terribly neglected pair had just arrived, fearful of people and suffering from painfully overgrown nails. But love changes everything. So do apple slices and carrots, if you’re a donkey. When I checked in on them for this article, they were tuning up for the event of the season – ‘Carolling with the Donkeys.’

In the summer, I featured Miss Liza Doolittle – an oblong-shaped hound claiming to be a beagle at TAS. Liza needed surgery to remove painful kidney stones and checked into the BOB repair shop. I fostered Liza post-op. She’s still here. She thinks it’s permanent, judging from the way she takes over the couch. Beagles are stubborn … and addictive.

Wookie’s article came in the fall. She was the stray Shih Tzu mix resembling a discarded mop. It took half a year, but the dog named after a Star Wars character finally blasted off from HTR and landed on the couch of her forever family just in time for the holidays.

Then there was Mama, the matriarch of the north. She was my introduction to the collaborative efforts of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and TAS-South in response to pet-overpopulation among First Nations communities in James Bay. I won’t forget the snow-melting kiss received from the beautiful husky-German shepherd mix when we met. That’s probably how she melted the heart of her new daddy (and jogging partner). Her name is Mona now and she’s got a new title – High Park matriarch.

Last but certainly not least was my Miss December – Clover, queen of the clouds! She was my introduction to Pilots N Paws Canada, a rescue organization comprised of volunteer pilots. Clover flew from a shelter in Timmins to the paradise of Sheba’s Haven, a picturesque rescue in the country committed to the care of chronically and terminally ill dogs. Blindness and diabetes haven’t kept our four-legged Clover grounded. She’s already had one adoption inquiry from a fellow Beacher!

pet of month-Kentucky-beforeweb

Louie is shown in a rural pound in Kentucky.

pet of month-Kentucky-afterweb

Louie is shown after arrival at Big on Beagles Rescue.

That brings me to Grandpa Louie. He’s not one of the dogs I wrote about in 2013. He arrived at BOB from Kentucky just as our friends to the south were celebrating Thanksgiving. The first picture was taken at a rural pound in Kentucky. The second was taken moments after his arrival to us. Yes, what a difference love makes.

Once again, I found myself at a loss for words,

When suddenly they came like four calling birds!

There’s just one final line for me to write …

Happy New Life to All and to All a Good Night!

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