Curtain falls on great final act

This is the story of Elizabeth: The Girl with the Angelfish Tattoo. Only, it’s not her whole story. I missed the beginning and the middle, and a good chunk of the end for that matter.

While some folks wouldn’t see the point of tuning in so late, there are others like me who figure the story isn’t over until the curtain falls. Until then, there are still scenes that just might take your breath away.

That was the case with Elizabeth, but I never would have had the good fortune to follow her cute yet rickety tail-end if I hadn’t been filled in on
the last part I missed. It was a heart-wrenching scene in which Elizabeth’s owners surrendered her to a shelter in Manhattan because they were moving. Elizabeth, or rather Sissy as she had been called, was 16 at the time and blind for gosh knows how long.

I’ll never understand the use of the term ‘surrender’ for this kind of
thing. To me, surrender suggests giving up your most cherished possessions because somebody has a gun to your head. But this wasn’t a gunslingin’, shoot ‘em up, spaghetti western. If the story had stopped there, it would have been labeled a tear-jerker. But it didn’t stop there and that’s how this story took its twist and became a triumphant tale of the canine spirit. Our rising star just needed a little help getting out of the pickle she was in first.

Elizabeth, aka Pickles, aka The Queen, played out her inspirational role to the end with me, her biggest fan honoured to sit front row centre. Late to arrive or not, I was witness to the performance of a lifetime.

Her character may have been subtle by nature but impossible to ignore, always in the background of my spotlight-stealing beagles. She was the quiet beauty that set the stage and lit up the backdrop. Her most memorable scenes included sleeping gloriously on the fluffiest of dog beds, eating earnestly (once I successfully chose food fit for a queen), and exploring her world stage which spanned the entire house and yard. In our house, the things that went bump in the night were almost always associated with Elizabeth given the fact she used her hard little noggin’ as her cane. So, her walkabouts were more aptly dubbed knockabouts and that was just fine by her and tolerated by us.

As for the angelfish tattoo, it was what set her apart from the rest. She
was born with it – a distinctive spot of white fur on her backside. I fancied it her royal beauty mark. I’ve never seen one like it before and I doubt I’ll ever see one again.

Try as I might to stop the curtain from falling, it fell as it always must. At the time of writing this article, it had been 10 days since I last admired the one and only fur-born angelfish tattoo in the world. At least, I got to admire it and the dog who wore it so well for almost two years and that’s far better than never.

We tale-chasers know how to keep the best tales alive in our hearts even after the curtain call. We may not always expect it to be as good as the original, but it never hurts to give a sequel a chance. Come to think of it, there’s an adorably chubby eight-year-old beagle with health problems to overcome and a character to adore at a shelter only a couple hours east of Toronto. His caregivers are calling him little Willie Nelson. I can see it now, the title to Elizabeth’s sequel lighting up the screen (the one I always arrive at late) – “Willie Nelson: The Boy with the Ragged Red Bandana.”

This article is dedicated to my eternal Elizabeth and to all the senior dogs out there worth tuning in on despite missing their opening act.
Whether the tail-end of their story lasts one year or 10, it doesn’t matter. A great performance is a great performance and you never want to miss a great performance. To learn more about the show-stopping rewards of adopting a senior dog (beagle or otherwise), it’s never too late to give me a call: 416-693-5590.


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