International Rescue

I have met Nut & Oggy once, some time ago and thought it would be a good idea to woof with their mum who is a serial rescuer who has taken on and cherished some of the most wonderful and vulnerable dogs. I have not yet met Bean or Goon so I wanted to find out some more about them, as well as Oscar who is the most recent arrival. I am honoured that I was allowed to do this interview.

I first asked if it had always been Beagles who would be the focus breed for saving.

Beagles from an early stage. There was once a debate over whether Beagles or Springers would be a good fit for my lifestyle. I heard about a 5 month old Beagle that needed rescuing from a puppy farm in South Wales. The debate over beagles/springers stopped there and then. I drove for 7 hours to collect a crazy bundle of love that later became known as Bean. She had a serious case of entropion which causes a portion of the eyelid to roll inwards and causes the eyelashes to scratch the eyeball. It had not been treated and had left her practically blind. This required immediate surgery but other than that she was healthy. Thankfully we saved her eyesight and I will never forget the pleasure of watching her re-learn the world through eyes that could see. Bean had her surgery 3 days after coming home with me. Her eyesight returned gradually over a month or so although there was an instant improvement. She could now see items in front of her and watching her be able to pick and play with a toy was heart warming. She was able to navigate stairs, albeit cautiously, and you could see the love in her eyes when she looked directly at you. She had the most beautiful eyes, like a chocolate coloured marble. She could drown you in love with those eyes!

I cannot ever imagine ‘buying’ an animal. Every animal I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with since being a small child has been a rescue. As soon as I had my own home I ‘inherited’ Goon from my father. Goon had been rescued after being shot. Goon and Bean were the ultimate team and paved the way for my passion of rescuing and rehabilitating animals in desperate need of love and time.

Goon arrived into my life first. He was a Red Setter/Border Collie cross and a handsome boy if there ever was one. He was the best friend a single young woman could ever have wished for. Sadly I lost Goon at the age of 13 to a ruptured spleen. He had been playing with Bean when he collapsed suddenly and despite doing everything we could we were unable to save him. It all happened so quickly but the devastation I felt is still raw to this day. I take comfort in the knowledge he was happy that day and gave no indication of being ill. I miss him dearly on a daily basis. I have a huge canvas of him in our family room at home so he can watch over us. He taught me how to love unconditionally and we shared so many happy memories together. I truly wish he could have met Boo, Oggy and Oscar. He would have adored them. When he was around 5 or 6 I rescued Twinkle Toes, my cat. They worshipped each other and I’d often ‘lose’ Twinks only to find her snuggled up so closely to Goon you couldn’t tell where the divide was.

Goon.

When Bean came along Goon took on ‘big brother’ duties. He protected and taught her in ways I couldn’t. He was 10 by then and it was a gamble bringing home a pup but it turned out he was more than ready for her. He was young again, playful and cheeky. Bean gave him back his younger years. 

Bean.

If I recall my mind was definitely made up by Bean in respect to the breed. I can’t ever imagine having another breed again. I think in terms of rescue I had always known I would open my home and heart to pups in need when the time was right. If I could I would be surrounded by them but unfortunately time doesn’t allow! 

My next question was; Goon showed you that rescues were for you, and Bean taught you to love a particular breed. Did you actively seek beagle rescue organisations to add to the beagle family?

Nut and Boo came from the local hunt. I found out about Boo by pure fluke whilst visiting Pets at Home with Bean in the days after Goon had passed away. A lady approached me and started chatting about Bean and beagles in general. I explained that Bean was on her own for the first time in her life and was showing signs of separation anxiety. I also commented that I was tentatively looking for another rescue. The lady explained to me that the local hunt may be a starting point. She explained that, when the hounds reached the end of their career, they would usually be put to sleep unless someone stepped forward. I went the same day and met Boo (originally named Taboo). She was 6 and had a fabulous spirit. There was no way I couldn’t take her. The prospect of her life ending just because she was no longer of any use to the hunt terrified me. I walked her with Bean and although Boo ignored her at first Bean was evidently elated. After some serious persuading (I was unknown to them I guess) of the Hunt Master, Boo came to live with us 2 weeks later. In the fortnight between meeting Boo and her coming home, Bean and I travelled to Scotland to Goons final resting place. We scattered his ashes in the surf of his favourite beach. We closed a chapter together, and were ready to start another. 

I still don’t know the name of the lady that approached me in Pets at Home but I owe her. She undoubtedly saved Boo’s life.. And later Nuts life too.

Boo (Taboo)
Nut.

We moved on to speak about Oggy, who I knew had come from a rescue organisation called Unite to Care (UtC). He had been experimented on in Hungary. When I met him soon after he arrived in his forever home, he was very scared of many things and was being handled with great care and thoughtfulness. Oscar is the most recent member of the family.

Oggy came about as I had previously put my name down as a foster for Beagle Freedom Project and Unite to Care. I will never forget the day I got the call from UtC about Oggy. I vividly remember where I was and who I was with. There was a sense of “is it too soon?” from the caller as I had lost Bean only a matter of months previously. My response? “No, it’s not too soon, these babies are coming regardless and one is coming to me”.

Early in 2012 I stumbled across a video of a BFP release (The Spanish 40) on Facebook. The video started me on a journey of discovery and understanding in respect to animal testing and the welfare of animals in laboratories. I remember watching the video over and over with tears pouring down my face. The more I learnt the more I was horrified that animal testing was still happening. I watched as many videos as I could find and read as much as I could. Often subjecting myself to heartbreak and desperation. Someone asked me why I did it my answer was simple “watching what these animals go though is nothing by comparison to the pain they physically and emotionally feel”. I changed my life choices and began living cruelty free. It was an easy transition and one I am proud of.

During that summer I went to an awareness event in Manchester where I met people from Unite to Care and started to learn more about campaigns in the UK to not just put a stop to testing but to release animals once testing had been completed. Later the same year I attended my first protest in Hull and met various people that have become key people in not just my life but within Unite to Care. My support of them has been unwavering since.

Since Oggy came home I can’t watch the videos of animals tests any more. There is something much deeper and personal now and the fury I feel is frightening. But I will never stop campaigning, I will never stop fighting. I will always be a voice for animals the world over.

Oggy.

Oscar is the first I’ve seen on social media and made an enquiry about. He was a street dog in Cyprus who had ended up in the pound. Cyprus Beagles pulled him from the pound, had his bloods taken and passport arranged then flew him across. I spotted his plight when he had been in the UK for a couple of days.

Oscar

The rest is history.

Griff Rehomed

I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with Griff, his brother Boot and their pawrents. Griff is a Beagle who had just been re-homed so I decided to try and find out some more about him.

Griff was living with an older gentleman who had recently suffered some heartbreak. As such he couldn’t look after Griff as fully as he would want to. The gentleman made the brave decision to have Griff adopted. Griff’s details were shared. Thankfully Griff had been noticed by Charley Beagle & Boots pawrents and he was soon looking forward to the prospect of living his life in the Shropshire Hills with Boot, the Cocker Spaniel whose brother Charley had sadly passed over the Rainbow Bridge in early September 2018.

Charleys pawrents weren’t really looking yet for another dog to share their home with, but they had promised themselves that if another Beagle or Cocker needed another home through no fault of its own, they would consider this. They had thought of getting an older dog as there appear to be a larger number of older dogs needing rehoming or rescue, compared to pups. When they heard about Griff, who is 3.5 however, it felt as though fate was intervening and that Charley had a paw in guiding them to go and see Griff.  Before setting off to see him, there were conversations with the older gentleman to ask many questions about Griff and to try and make sure that the re-homing would be the right thing to do by everyone. When they arrived Griff came bouncing out of his first house to greet his prospective new pawrents. It was decided that he would be taken to his new home, on a trial basis at first. Everyone wanted to make sure that he would settle in a new environment, with a new family and a new fur brother who would also have to accept Griff into his home and life. He slept most of the way to his new home and trotted happily around the garden when he arrived, sniffing all the new and wonderful scents that cascaded through his nose. Thankfully Boot seemed to have taken a shine to Griff very quickly and the re-homing was agreed and concluded quickly. Griff’s first owner is kept informed of his progress so he can know that Griff is safe and well looked after.

On the way to his new home Griff had a quick check up at the vets who noted his weight at 31.5 kilos which is quite a lot for a Beagle. Ideally Griff would need to lose around 13 kilos so a stricter regime of exercise and diet seems to be on the cards. Having had little exercise for the previous 12 months, Griff was taken for short walks, half an hour at a time and twice a day. His paws soon hardened and the walks are getting longer as the weeks go by. When he first arrived he was fascinated by the sheep and cows in the nearby fields but didn’t feel spooked or worried by them. He still enjoys sitting and watching them, even by moonlight from his bed next to a big picture window.  Once he got over the initial concern of changing his home and indeed his entire life, Griff realised that this was a good place to live. He is very respectful around Boot, who is 12.5 years old. Griff instinctively seems to know that Boot, being a Cocker Spaniel with a working background, doesn’t really want to play all the time but Boot does enjoy the company of another dog. It is hoped that Griff will have his walks increased from now on to take in more of the beautiful countryside and even a visit to the pub that Charley used to frequent and enjoy. 

Griff knows he won’t be a replacement for Charley, as no fur could ever replace the one off, inimitable, funny and happy go lucky Charley. However there is a determination on Griffs part to try and help heal the Charley sized hole in his new pawrents life. He is happy to have the chance of long walks, seeing the countryside and smelling all the new scents that find their way into his memory banks via his nose. He loves his new home and is already shedding some of the excess weight. Griff is determined to make his own life better, be more active and explore as much as he can in his new home. If he can do all this, and help to heal the hearts of his new pawrents even a little, then he knows it will all be worth it.