It will be a year ago July 24th when our Abby, a.k.a. Little Miss Abby-Gabby, came to be with us in Albuquerque, NM.
My son had been asking for a beagle for two years (since reading Shiloh in school), and I had given him my word that when my dear, old cairn terrier, Bonny, had passed on we would find a beagle through a rescue organization. I'm a dog person through-and-through and have always (38.5/40 years) had a dog or two in my life. I have shown dogs in conformation and obedience. Some had tried to warn me off a beagle (they bay and dig, I was told), but I figured that I had the experience to handle it. I also thought that adopting through rescue supported their efforts, and sent a good message to my kids.
Last July 21st I was cruising through rescue websites (petshelter.net) when the line "URGENT: Harris Co. Female" caught my eye. Now, mind you, I was JUST LOOKING; but when I saw the sweet, scared face on the little beagle that was doomed, something gave. I don't know if it was my heart or my good sense, but I immediately called my husband who was half-way across the country on business and said, "I know we were going to wait until Bonny was gone and maybe this isn't the best time, but I really think we should adopt this dog."
He sighed (living with a dog person can be so stressful), but he loves me, and he said "Whatever you think is the right thing to do." Three days later I went to the airport with the kids to pick up their Papa, but first we stoppped at Continental's air freight office and picked up our little girl!
Since that day, a lot has happened in our lives. We had to move to Portland, Oregon. Abby is here with us, of course, but probably happier here than she was down in the southwest. We have a larger lot (about a half acre), but Abby would tell you that the best thing we have here are squirrels! Every morning she bursts out the back door baying and yelping, chasing every single chattering squirrel off her soil and back into the trees where they belong, thank you very much!
When she's not patroling the grounds, you might find her on a walk down our dead end street and onto the bike path with our 6 year old daughter, Harper. Harper and Abby have helped us meet most of our new neighbors. They have made friends across the street with an "empty nester" woman and her ancient golden retriever. On occasion all four head out for a nice long walk and a picnic at the park.
Abby's best buddy is our lab, Oberon. She spends a lot of time either playing with him or "grooming" him; licking his bald spots from his lupus. The vet specialist here thinks Abby is actually responsible for stimulating some of the poor old dog's hair regrowth. At night they curl up together on the couch.
Bonny died in January; from the very beginning Abby was uncannily respectful of her age and condition.
And my husband? No body in our house is as squirmingly happy to see him and welcome him home at the end of the day as our Abby-Gabby!
In many ways Abby is the smartest little dog I have had. Yes, in the beginning she chased our cat. Now they play. Yes, she can be loud. A hound voice is "distinctive". But a dog just needs time to learn what you (the new "pack") expect from it. When we need Abby to be quiet we ask her to sit. "Oh, OK, quiet time" she seems to be thinking. No, she doesn't dig.
Remember, rescue is all about second chances. A dog in rescue needs love and attention and understanding. They didn't asked to be rejected and/or abandoned. They do ask for time to adjust to your new expectations. Give them the chance, give them the time, and they can thrive.
Rest assured, the little beagle shipped to Albuquerque has found her "forever home."
Thank you, Sandra and Austin-Houston Hound Rescue.