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We will never forget Georgie...

 

PET OF THE MONTH!

To be published in the Nov 2013 issue of BEACH METRO COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

 

 

 

“All of us have a path to follow and the path begins on earth.”

- Richard Matheson,What Dreams May Come

           

If you’ve ever been owned by a pet, chances are you’ve heard of the Rainbow Bridge. Not the one in Niagara Falls, but the poem. Written by an unknown author, it’s a heart-warming piece exchanged by countless animal lovers to bring comfort at the toughest moment we share with these fur-clad beings whose primary goal is to steal our hearts without even speaking our language – the moment we must say goodbye.

 

I continue to lose my heart to an endless stream of rescued beagles. Needless to say, I’m a firm believer in doggy heaven. This magical place came to life for me in the 1998 Robin Williams film, “What Dreams May Come”, where his character’s dearly departed dog was the first to welcome him to heaven. His angel guide later explained that you’re always greeted by those you loved most on earth in order to make the transition easier.

 

I only knew Georgie in the time it took me to drive her to our vets at Beaches Animal Hospital one afternoon in late September and then to drive her to the Central Toronto Veterinary Emergency Clinic close to midnight that same day. Less than 24 hours of knowing her. I never saw her again. But you can bet I count her among those I’ve loved most on earth.

 

I learned about Georgie only a week prior. She’d wound up at a rural pound, dropped off by someone claiming she was a stray. She looked quite senior, but looks can be deceiving especially when a dog is sick. The shelter manager was concerned about her. She couldn’t seem to catch her breath. But despite the labored breathing, this little old beagle had that spunk all beagle lovers know by heart. It’s the kind of spunk that demands notice and makes you laugh on even the dullest day.

 

When her stray period was up after a week and nobody had claimed her, the shelter staff bid her farewell with high hopes for her future after she landed a spot with Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue. You may recall we have a thing for spunky old-timers.

 

Georgie, as we named her, was coming from far away and so she spent one magical night with a volunteer or what we like to call, a BOBateer. Sara Hawton lives close to the shelter and happily agreed to bundle her up after work and spoil her with a lovely Bed & Breakfast experience after that.

 

The next morning, I met Georgie for the first time in a shopping mall parking lot. Never has a parking lot looked so charming thanks to Georgie. I delighted in that irresistible spunk the moment she bounced out of Sara’s car to greet me. I also made note of her breathing troubles. Without delay, Miss Spunky Pants continued her journey to our veterinary clinic with a new chauffeur who quickly came to adore her as much as her first one. As always, I introduced myself with a kiss and explained the plan despite the language barrier – she would meet with our team of veterinarians for whatever repair work was needed and then start her happy new life with two dog-crazy foster parents out in the country.

 

It didn’t work out the way I planned.

 

Just as I had instantly recognized that beloved beagle spunk, our veterinarians recognized an advanced case of laryngeal paralysis sadly left untreated. It was the first time I’d heard of it. The condition is caused by a malfunction of the muscles in the larynx narrowing the airway and making it hard for the patient to take a deep breath. Like someone with asthma, the inability to breathe properly often leads to panic which obviously makes matters worse. But such a disorder doesn’t happen overnight. Tell-tale signs such as excessive panting and easily tiring on walks usually prompts a concerned owner to make a trip to the vet for an early diagnosis. Clearly, that never happened.

 

Georgie now needed emergency surgery by a specialist which was arranged for the following morning. It was recommended she be transferred right away for around-the-clock monitoring. Off I went with Georgie who tried, without much success, to get comfortable in my backseat.

 

We call ourselves the beagle repair shop but sometimes, we can’t fix what’s broken no matter how hard we try. We lost Georgie post-surgery. The procedure didn’t work as the specialist had hoped. Too much damage had already been done. She may have been a brave little soldier, but there would be no victory in this battle. It was time to thank the soldiers who fought along with her. Without our supporters, we couldn’t try as hard as we do even if our efforts don’t always result in the return of a happy and healthy spunky beagle.

 

It’s been a month now since Georgie left us for the Rainbow Bridge. I’m sure the Bridge has never looked so charming. But here on earth, our hearts are still healing as we prepare for our 8th Annual BEAGLE BASH FOR CASH in November. This year, we’ll be unveiling our first Beagle Calendar at the big event. It wasn’t easy choosing only twelve beagles to grace its pages, but it did allow me to veer off course temporarily to take a trip down memory lane. I’ve loved and lost many beagles since opening our repair shop in 2001. I fear the Rainbow Bridge might collapse when my time comes. But, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I’ll keep rolling in that general direction playing chauffeur to beagles in need of a ride to recovery or at least, a lift to their final destination. Either way, they’re guaranteed a kiss on their spunky little nose and a permanent place in this beagle-loving heart.

 

         

           

This article is dedicated to Georgie and the compassionate team at the Central Toronto Veterinary Emergency Clinic. Georgie would have loved to attend the 8th Annual BEAGLE BASH FOR CASH on November 24th at PawsWay from 1-3pm. With any luck, she’ll be there in spunky spirit. For details, visit Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue at www.bigonbeagles.ca.

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PET OF THE MONTH!

To be published in the Feb 2013 issue of BEACH METRO COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Seeing is Believing

When we bought our 1850’s farmhouse near Colborne a few years ago, I quickly concluded we had a ghost! Not to worry. Like Casper, he’s a friendly spirit. He also has 4 legs.

As ghosts tend to be, Tobias the Ghost Dog is invisible – except in the eyes of one of our beagles. Ever since joining our family, Ruby-Sue has enjoyed the not so flattering habit of blankly staring off into space. I used to chalk it up to a wandering mind with a terrible sense of direction, but now I know better. Our Ruby has a special gift! She can spend hours happily convening with the dearly departed.

It was around Christmas when my rescue partner started to pester me about Toby, the mesmerizing dog pictured here. I was instantly reminded of Ruby’s BPFF (Best Phantom Farm Friend). For starters, they share the same name. Secondly, those eyes are positively other-worldly! Ruby and I agree Toby would make a great ghost dog. But here’s the sad truth – he might as well be a ghost for all the luck he’s had being seen.

Toby had been haunting the Scarborough pound since September when his owners dropped him off before a move. I’ll never understand that overused excuse, as if disposal of the family pet is a natural part of the de-cluttering process. Still, it might have been just as well in Toby’s case. The roughly 6 year old Hound mix had never been to a vet for annual vaccinations or anything else. He was suffering from a nasty ear infection upon arrival and a poor diet had left him far too thin. The caring staff at Toronto Animal Services – East Region saw to his medical needs and filled his tummy with regular meals, but they could do nothing for his hungry heart other than hope a family would come to the shelter and fall in love with him one day.

Why some dogs turn invisible in our animal shelters is an ongoing mystery. Statistics have shown that middle-aged tail-waggers tend to sniff out less interest from prospective adopters than perky puppies or golden oldies, but there’s not much more to go on other than that. If only private rescue groups like mine could come to the rescue of every invisible shelter dog experiencing a mid-life crisis. Sadly, even ghost dogs need space and we all run out of that sometimes.

Even as I write this, we have no foster homes available and Toby really doesn’t fit the beagle profile even if we did. Nevertheless, I had to do something. Like a ghost hunter, I was determined to shine a light on the invisible! But instead of infra-red night goggles, I opted for the written word and sent out one howl of a heart-tugging e-blast to our friends and supporters. I figured if we could cast the light far and wide enough, maybe someone special like my Ruby would see Toby in all his wondrous glory.

I wrote about how he thanks the moon and stars whenever a staff member or volunteer finds time to challenge him to a riveting game of fetch. I wrote about how he’s whacky for walkies and head-over-paws for plush toys that squeak when squeezed. I also wrote about how none of the above compares to receiving a gentle kiss on his forehead and a tickle behind his flip-flop ears. Those are the moments his sense of being invisible truly disappears.

My next step was to feature Toby the Ghost Dog of Scarborough Pound for this article. But before I even began, I received an email that sent shivers up my spine. The sender was thanking me for my e-blast about Toby. She’d been so touched by it that she read it to her family. They’d been seriously considering a spirited sibling for their beagle for some time.   

Mr. Blue Eyes isn’t invisible anymore. I’ve got their family photo to prove it.

I thought about tracking down another story for my article after learning of Toby’s adoption, but then I started thinking about the power of illumination and how it changed the life of one dog already. Maybe Toby’s tale could serve to bust a few more ghosts out of our shelters.

Still not convinced there’s any such thing as ghosts? Maybe you should check with Toby’s new family. They didn’t believe in ghosts either until they met him. Without a shadow of a doubt, they know he’s real! They can tell every time they plant a gentle kiss on his forehead and ruffle the fur feathers behind his flip flop ears.  

           

Ain’t afraid of no ghosts? Join Ghostbusters! Head to your local shelter and bring an invisible dog back into focus! You might get there by ectomobile but you’re sure to float all the way home with your happy new family member leading the way!

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PET OF THE MONTH 

(my column in BEACH METRO NEWSPAPER - to be published in January 2012 issue)

“Ugh! I’ve been kissed by a dog! Get disinfectant!”

(Quote from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”)
I’ll never understand Lucy types. Receiving a kiss from a dog can be life-changing…in a good way!
It was only a bell’s jingle before Christmas when I burst into a revised version of a Katy Perry song while driving home from Toronto Animal Services (North Region):
“I kissed a dog and I liked it!”
There’s nothing terribly odd about that given the fact I’ve traded in a normal life to rescue appreciative beagles. Kisses have been plenty. But this particular kiss will go down in beagle rescue history as the one that mattered most. It’s not because the dog delivering the kiss (she kissed me first) happened to be our 100th beagle rescued since Big On Beagles (B.O.B) began its work a decade ago. I didn’t make that observation until later.
What made this kiss so special is how it gave me the reason I needed to keep the pet repair shop open for beagle #101.
On December 8th, I received an email from the shelter asking if we had space for an approximately 12-year-old beagle riddled with suspicious lumps. She clearly wasn’t adoptable to the general public. Heck, she wouldn’t be adoptable at all if any of the lumps proved malignant. Accordingly, she was an ideal candidate for BOB. We have this thing about coming to the rescue of the Charlie Browniest of dogs, i.e. the seemingly hopeless.
But we already had our quota of hopeless hounds. A few days prior, we’d taken in two beagles that had sadly lost their elderly owners. 10-year-old, grief-stricken Beowulf had been deposited to the Barrie SPCA. Winston, aka Winnie the Pooh, had been home alone with only the neighbour to feed him.
Our foster homes were officially bursting with beagles. I couldn’t possibly take another. Or, was there hope for Miss Hopeless? Catherine, founder of Sheba’s Haven, could fit in one more palliative care beagle for us if needed.
Off I went to the shelter to see if she fit the bill. Of course I got lost first, after taking the wrong exit but eventually arrived albeit in a Charlie Brown woe-is-me kind of mood. That changed quickly once I got the whole scoop on lumpy lady.
It had been a cold night in early December when the animal control officer came to her rescue. She’d been left tied to a shopping cart in a mall parking lot.
I hear such heart-tugging stories all the time and had begun to wonder whether my heart was willing to be tugged at any more. Apparently it was. It gave way as soon as she walked through the door. With all her lumps, she looked like a 4-legged Christmas tree with ornaments hanging from every limb. But those lumps didn’t weigh down her beagle tail! With every exuberant wag, I felt an equally exuberant tug.
The intention was only to assess temperament, gauge the extent of the health concerns and return to home base to ponder the next course of action. But within seconds of my inspection, I was scooping her up into the beagle-mobile while proclaiming her “Clementine” in honour of the season.
The way home was filled with my usual one-way conversation. But when we stopped at a street light, something better than words happened. Clementine had been backseat-wagging in polite response to my nonsensical chatter. I turned to whisper yet another sweet nothing in her ear when she gave me a shy little kiss. I kissed her back and started to sing.
Clementine had her surgery a week before Christmas removing the worrisome lumps. Two were likely malignant but with any luck, gone for good. Her heart will need monitoring though. An ultrasound confirmed mitral valve disease, but thankfully no evidence of congestive heart failure. Paws crossed, there’s plenty of time for more kissing!
On Christmas Eve, I introduced Clem to her foster parents at the Belleville Dog Park halfway between our farm and Sheba’s Haven. Despite her post-surgery cone-head, my darling Clementine marched up to her foster daddy and planted a confident kiss on his face. That’s when I knew she was going to be just fine.
100 beagles saved should be worth celebrating but for every 100 you save, there’s a thousand more you can’t. While we’re seeing positive change in the plight of homeless pets, there’s still so much more to be done. It can make you feel hopeless sometimes. That is, until a pathetic-looking Christmas tree with barely any needles left on its branches nudges you away from your pity party.
I watched the Charlie Brown special over the holidays as I always do but this time, I really got it! Poor Charlie Brown was in search of the true meaning of Christmas. He might have given up entirely if not for rescuing that silly old tree. Lucy and the gang laughed but for some reason, they decorated it anyway. In the end, that tree was the most beautiful tree of all.
Thanks to Clementine and Charlie Brown, I’ve learned it’s okay if you don’t always see the forest for the trees. Taking on one seemingly hopeless little tree at a time is far less complicated…just like a dog’s kiss.
Clementine is the 12-year-old beagle that kissed this dog rescuer back to life! Of course, she’s got a lot more life-saving kisses to give! Clem and I thank the staff at Toronto Animal Services (North Region), Catherine & Bill of Sheba’s Haven – www.shebashaven.petfinder.com , and the generous supporters of Big On Beagles (B.O.B) Rescue for getting us to 100 beagles saved so far – www.bigonbeagles.ca.     

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 PET OF THE MONTH…Unforgettable

*To be published in the Sept/09 issue of BEACH METRO COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER


For me, there will always be two famous ‘Darwins’ in history - Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, and my Darwin, origin of everything else. That’s stretching it a bit, but mothers have the right to embellish.

In Darwin’s defense, he truly did discover many things over the years. Mind you, these things almost always belonged to someone else and were often edible by nature. Darwin remained oblivious, celebrating each discovery to the fullest…from a pack of gum foolishly presumed safe in a purse to an entire family picnic. Being the great explorer that he was, Darwin felt a certain entitlement to whatever his nose sniffed out. Call it beagles’ logic, as illogical as that might be.

Despite constant embarrassment, I was crazy for Darwin. Love made living with the Baddest Beagle in the Universe for 14+ years worth every red-faced apology I made on his behalf. When it came to our love story, love meant always having to say I’m sorry. But he made up for all that by turning me into a hopelessly devoted helper of homeless howlers. He was the first beagle I saved and the very reason I started Big On Beagles (B.O.B) Rescue.

This summer, I lost Darwin to cancer. I’m supposed to look on the bright side. Our little canine crusader outlived his prognosis by more than a year. Don’t forget the average life expectancy of a dog is 12 years old and Darwin turned 15 on April Fools Day – the date aptly chosen to celebrate his birthdays.

But none of this is much consolation for a paw-stained heart counting on forever. And yet, there is a bright side. It dawned on me the moment I met Francesca Davino, a fellow Beacher about as stubborn as a beagle when it comes to fighting back. One inspirational conversation with her and I was singing “Hot Diggity Dog!” for the future ‘Darwins’ of the world.

The expression may date as far back as 1928 but you’ve got to admit it’s doggone catchy! Something tells me it’ll make one howl of a comeback this September 20th. That’s when Special Events expert, Francesca, will be shining a hopeful light on the dogs that enrich our lives through her fur-flying FUN-raiser for canine cancer research --- “Hot Diggity Dog in the Beaches!”

There’s an undeniable optimism in Francesca’s approach. Although it shook her to the core to learn 60% of all dogs will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, she’s encouraged by the strides being made in the research labs for both humans and companion animals.

The Ontario Veterinary College boasts a world-class center for canine cancer research. That’s where Francesca will be directing the funds raised through her event via The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund.

Francesca’s preferred weapon in the fight against cancer? The love bomb! Invented by Sunny, a dog she once knew. Love bombs are the only way she can accurately describe her hugs. They were devastating. No frown could survive a love bomb from little Miss Sunshine.

There will be plenty of love bombs going off at Hot Diggity Dog in the Beaches! After all, it’s more than a fundraiser. It’s a celebration of the dogs we adore – past, present and future.

The sparks start flying on the Boardwalk at 11:00am with The Parade of Stars! Imagine all our beach dogs marching to the beat of their tails from Woodbine to Silverbirch! There will be prizes to win for the walkers with the most pledges, awesome auction items to bid on, performing dogs to marvel at, and contests to participate in! “If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then the Live Steel Band will!” Francesca exclaims, with a sparkle in her eye, “You can’t listen to a steel band and not get happy!”

I know nothing lasts forever, even gum-chewing beagles with original charm. But I also know love is the kick-in-the-pants for all good deeds. I wouldn’t be surprised if a dog as unforgettable as Darwin will one day be the inspiration behind the cure for cancer.

This article is dedicated to my infamous beagle, Darwin. He would have approved any event that includes picnics! So grab your pooch, pack a picnic and be part of this good deed! HOT DIGGITY DOG IN THE BEACHES! takes our community by sandstorm on Sunday, September 20, 2009 starting with the Parade of Stars at 11:00am, followed by fun-filled furstivities from 1-5pm! Visit: www.hotdiggitydoginthebeaches.ca for more dazzling details! To lend a helping paw on Event Day, email: Francesca@hotdiggitydoginthebeaches.ca!

This article was published in the June, 2008 edition of the Beach Metro Community News.

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PET OF THE MONTH… I (HEART) HUCK-A-BEAGLE!


I think of my column as the canine comics section of our paper. There’s the ‘Headlines’ and then there’s me – the ‘Tail Ends’. Anybody looking for a heartwarming chuckle can flip to the funnies, or furries as is the case, where I’m only too happy to accommodate. My ulterior motive, of course, is that your laughter will lead to love and the characters of my comic strip will spring from the page paws first straight into your laps forever! But for this article, I simply want to tell a heart-tugging tale. No ulterior motives…just a worthy plug along with the tug.


I remember the first time I met Huck. The little jailbird scored an early release from doggy prison courtesy of Big on Beagles (BOB) Rescue. Without batting a tail hair, Hucky made the 3-hour road trip from the rural pound to the Beach. He’d been accompanied by a doting shelter volunteer and his parrot. You’d think he would have been exhausted after such a journey but Huck the Beagle bounced out of the car as fresh as a daisy! That was about 5 years ago. Huckleberry Hound was ancient even back then. Shelter records indicated he’d been around since before the Blue Jays won the World Series. Huck is at least 20 years old now. You might wonder what sort of joy a 20-year-old beagle could possibly paw out of life. You might even think he’d be better off pushing daisies than watering them at this late hour. Beagles, however, are stubborn by nature, even when it comes to getting old. Huck may love listening to the blues, but he’s definitely not crying over them. Thanks to his forever foster family, he’s discovered that life this side of the clouds is gosh darn heavenly enough. So he’s working on breaking the world record for Oldest Dog.


It’s not always the case that the beagles we rescue find adoptive homes in the end. They’re either too expensive due to chronic health issues, too old like Huckaroni, or too something. But no matter what lies ahead, our homeless howlers can always depend on a hook to hang their leash down at what one of our foster parent’s fondly describes as BOB’s Beagle Repair Shop.


Huck’s “Mr. Fixit”, aka Foster Dad, recently sent a perky pupdate on our oldest rescue beagle ever. Foster Dad is a musician and Huck is his favourite critic. “The Ancient One” pretends to be completely deaf when Dad gets out his guitar and plays classical, jazz or celtic. But when he starts strummin’ the blues, Huck is front row center and all ears. There will come a day when the music will end for our little blues hound. We all know it’s inevitable. But the music will play on in celebration of this extraordinary dog. And it will play on for the next beagle determined to break a record – reparable or not. It’s what we do.


It’s also what so many fellow rescue groups do – phenomenal folks that I’m proud to know personally. That’s why it’s such an honour to come together with them once again to raise funds for these many dogs I write about, these dogs whose triumphant tales give us reason to smile. All of us are reunited for the 6th Annual K9 Rescue Me Walkathon at Woofstock on June 14, 2009!


So set a pledge goal for yourself and walk for your favourite dog rescue! And while you’re walking, think of the dogs you’ll be helping. Dogs like Huck with personal goals of their own…such as, living to see the Blue Jays win another World Series.


Huck is a 20-year-old veteran beagle who loves the blues! He’s got a permanent gig with his foster family at BIG ON BEAGLES (BOB) Rescue, www.bigonbeagles.ca. But he’s not getting any younger so let’s make howl while the sun shines! Walk for BOB in the K9 Rescue Me Walkathon at Woofstock on June 14, 2009! To learn more about this fur-raising event and the other participating dog rescue groups who need your support as much as we do, visit www.k9rescueme.com!


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PET OF THE MONTH!
*To be published in the November 1st 2011 issue of Beach Metro Community News
 Halloween ain’t over, Rover! It’s time to do the Monster Mash at the BEAGLE BASH!
Just when you thought it was safe to answer your door now that the ghosts and goblins have disappeared until next year, there’s a monster on the loose! He’s a one-eyed, one-tailed, flyin’ purple tennis ball eater and he’s determined to celebrate HOWL-O-WEEN all year round!   
There have been reported sightings on the beach which have led to chilling close encounters! That’s because this li’l one-eyed monster likes to give mega monster hugs, the kind that make you tingle all over. First, he places his paws strategically on your lap. Then, once he’s got your full attention, he zombifies you with his spell-binding one-eyed stare. You’re toast after that. You cannot resist the hug that follows, which ultimately transforms you into the cheese melting on the toast. The hug leads to kisses and the kisses lead to the point of no return.  
Make no mistake - he’s so cute, he’s SCARY! 
So how do I know so much about this mind-melting beach monster? I guess it’s because he tricked me into opening my door and he’s been haunting my house (and heart) ever since.  
It all started when I got an email from a shelter in Ohio about a month ago. Attached to its plea for help was a picture of a beagle that was clearly missing an eye. He’d been wandering the moors of rural Ohio with a two-eyed goblin girl of similar beagle persuasion. His moor-mate, later dubbed Scarlet JoHOWLson, was also in need of rescue. She’s an old goblin and they don’t get as much attention as the young ones. Similarly, goblins missing an eye are often too scary for those easily spooked by veterinary bills. So the two unwanted goblins kindly offered to swap goose-bumps for refuge with Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, an assistance agency for beagles experiencing troubled times. Lucky for them, we love getting goose-bumps. 
Scarlet JoHOWLson (shelter name, “Trixie the Trickster”) is currently entertaining her foster parents in Welland with a plethora of adorable trixies in exchange for treatsies, while the one-eyed monster decided to treat me to his spine-tingling presence post-surgery.
 Upon examination, our vet concluded the missing eye to be a birth defect rather than an injury which only required sewing closed to prevent infection. 
Choosing a name for our recovering patient/resident spine-tingler was next on the agenda.  Although highly accurate, One-eyed One-tailed Flyin’ Purple Tennis Ball Eater was much too long. We tried Porthos initially but it seemed frighteningly pretentious for your average down-to-earth monster. We finally agreed upon Cy. What Cy is short for, however, is up for debate. Foster Daddy insists it short for Cyclops…the horror! I prefer to think it short for Cyril, more dignified than pretentious and definitely uncommon. 
Some folks might describe the beagle as monstrous. I’m willing to concur, depending on how they define monster of course. Monsters can be scary, but don’t forget the monster with the heart of gold! Beagles fall under that category. One minute, they’re stealing treats from the counter while piercing your very soul with their demon eyes. The next minute, they’re doing the Monster Mash with you and all the bad stuff vanishes like a ghost caught in a flashlight beam. Such is the charmingly wicked way of the beagle and beagle lovers would have it no other way. An equally wicked sense of humour protects us from any serious harm. That’s not to say we’re completely immune to monster manipulation. Beagles are masters of manipulation. Why else would I have chosen to rescue bad-to-the-bone beagles instead of angel-fish?    
Fortunately, I’m not the only one fallen prey to the curse of the beagle. Our numbers are many and, every November, we ban together and throw one howl of a party on their behalf. This year marks our 6th Annual BEAGLE BASH FOR CASH! The party room at Pawsway is sure to be bursting at the seams with beagles and their servants again this year. You’re also certain to see other dog breeds in attendance hoping to learn the fine art of manipulation while supporting the cause with their unsuspecting owners.  
The truth is there really is no such thing as the curse of the beagle. I’m just pulling your pant leg, a trick I no doubt learned from…a beagle. If falling madly in love with a bodacious beagle like The Cy Guy is a curse, I never want it lifted. I can think of a lot worse afflictions than laughing all the time. 
Yesterday was Halloween. Today is All Saints Day. The innocent-looking beagle pictured here? Just call him Saint Cy.  
Cy is a ruffly 2-year-old marvelously monstrous mix of Beagle and Basset Hound, trick-or-treating everyone into loving him unconditionally at Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, www.bigonbeagles.ca. Help keep the spell of the beagle forever cast by joining us for the monster ball of the year - our 6th Annual BEAGLE BASH FOR CASH! on November 27th at Pawsway!