Storytime: The Perfect Male

From Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Beagles.

Rescue: Southern AZ Beagle Rescue

The Perfect Male 

The Perfect Male

A few days before I turned 30, I took a moment to think about my life so far. For the most part, I was pretty content, but one thing was glaringly absent—a companion. I had gone back to school for my master’s degree the year before and had put a temporary moratorium on dating. But as the “Big 3-0” approached, I was ready to lift the romantic relationship ban.

Friends suggested I try an online dating service, and after some internal debate, I decided to take a chance. I signed up, uploaded some photos, and began to draft my profile. Writing my own profile wasn’t so bad, but then came the hard part: describing my perfect match. If I knew that, I probably wouldn’t be single!

 I was determined to give this online dating thing a serious shot, so I settled down on the sofa with a pencil and a pad of paper and started my list:

1) He has to be mature—no more silly boys for me. He has to be serious and take care of his responsibilities. But he also has to know how to have fun. A man who works hard and plays hard—now that is my kind of guy.

2) My ideal man has to be smart. This is non-negotiable. I don’t want just another pretty face who couldn’t find his way out of wet paper sack! He has to be able to keep up with me mentally. It is important that we both can teach each other new things and challenge each other.

3) Speaking of “just another pretty face,” my guy has to be good looking. I’m not shallow enough to count appearance as my number one priority, but let’s face it: Looks are important. Everyone has their own definition of attractiveness. For me, that includes someone who has strong facial features and a muscular build. I’ve always been especially drawn to dark hair and deep brown eyes. A little bit of gray around the temples is a bonus. And, like many women, I find bad boys strangely appealing, so a man with scars that tell a story of past adventures would really catch my eye.

 4) My guy has to be protective. Like I said before, he has to take care of his responsibilities and one of his responsibilities is to look after me. From protecting me from snakes that crawl on their bellies to snakes that walk around on two feet, he has to always have an eye out for those who would hurt me. Of course, he also can’t be too clingy and has to have his own interests.

5) My guy has to be affectionate and always ready with a kiss. He has to get along with my friends, and my parents have to like him as much as I do. He has to appreciate my culinary skills, even when I ruin dinner. He has to be happy when I come home from work and sad when I leave in the morning. He has to like to dance and sing along with me when a good song comes on the radio.

After jotting down my list, I stopped for a moment and took stock of what I had just written. Then something caught my eye. Well, I’ll be darned—there, curled up in a furry, little ball, was my perfect match! His name is Mickey, and he’s my handsome Beagle who came into my life seven years ago.

Who would have thought that my vision of the ideal boyfriend was in front of me the whole time, manifested in the form of a spunky, little pound pup. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have Mickey in my life. Every day since he came home seven years ago has been filled with love and adventure.

Can a dating service really find me a human as perfect for me as my dog? Good luck! –Kimberly McClure

Storytime: To Fail is to Succeed

From Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Beagles.

To Fail is to Succeed 

To Fail is to Succeed

Fiona, Ella, Echo, Trixie, Freckles, Peter, Paul, Mary. Each name evokes a special memory and a smile. These were my foster dogs before I became what we call a “foster failure.”

My husband and I were already owned by Beagles. We had two; both were rescues. One was a beautiful, calm, lemon-colored female named Abigail. Beagle two is a tri-color male who has a great deal of difficulty staying out of trouble. In the first two years we had him, he tangled with a herd of javelina (animals that resemble pigs) and was bitten by a rattlesnake. He’s named after my husband’s favorite baseball player, Mickey Mantle.

Fiona, our first foster, was a golden-eyed, long-legged Beagle who was, to put it diplomatically, a very free spirit. She loved to run and roughhouse with her foster dad, and I spent hours in our family den with the door closed teaching her to “leave it.” We got to the point where I could place a treat at her feet, and she wouldn’t touch it until I gave the okay. This was no small feat for a chowhound Beagle. While we were on a short trip, and Fiona was staying with another foster mom, my husband and I thought seriously about making her a permanent part of our pack. Lo and behold, when we returned, Fiona had been adopted. We didn’t even get to give her a goodbye hug, but we did escape becoming foster failures.

 Ella was the Beagle version of Queen Elizabeth—it wasn’t hard to imagine her in a hat, white gloves, and a purse on her paw. She was a Reubenesque tri-color with an allergy that caused certain parts of her female anatomy to swell to “much larger than life” size. She was adopted in less than a month and now lives in a beautiful home in the foothills. (Many of our fosters end up living much better than we do, but then again, they deserve it.)

 Echo looked a lot like Ella. She had lived with the same family since she was a puppy, but their youngest boy was horribly allergic to her. Having tried everything, the family turned Echo over to our rescue, and it wasn’t long before she was adopted from our home by a couple who had previously adopted from our group. Their earlier adoptee had succumbed to cancer, and they were still paying those vet bills when they adopted Echo. In a second stroke of bad luck for this family, it wasn’t long before Echo woke one morning and couldn’t walk! The vet diagnosed her with some problem no one could pronounce and suggested that surgery might be able to fix her. To help this couple out, our rescue went deep into debt to get Echo fixed, but it was worth it. She is now happy, relatively healthy, and very well-loved.

 Trixie was another tri-color, plus-sized girl. She slid right into our pack and our hearts as if she had always been there. She was adopted by an older couple who travels a lot, and I’m sure she’s seeing the USA via their Winnebago. She was the first foster whose adoption brought tears to my eyes.

 Then there was Freckles. Ten years old, graying but full of life. She had been named Freckles, I guess, because of her spotted belly, which she loved to have rubbed. Everyone who met her loved her, and in turn she remembered everyone she ever met and loved them right back. After I took her home with me, she developed problems urinating. We went through test after test after test. One vet repeatedly said it was a urinary infection, and when a wonderful couple wished to adopt her, the vet thought she would be okay.

 But she wasn’t. Soon there was blood in her urine. The adopting couple, who loved her dearly (they have a web page dedicated to her to this day), couldn’t cope with the vet bills, so Freckles came home with me again. There were more tests leading to the dreaded diagnosis: untreatable cancer in her urinary tract. She lived, played, and loved with our pack for a full year, until one day the pain was just too much for her. Rest in peace, dear girl.

 Peter, Paul, and Mary. No, not the 1960’s folk group. They were three littermates from a puppy mill in Missouri. At just eight weeks old, Paul, the smallest, fit in the palm of my husband’s hand. But, oh, they were so sick! All three had giardia and a respiratory infection. Aside from being the smallest, Paulie was also the sickest, and he came to us because his foster Mom had too many other dogs to care for. The first night we were sure we would lose him, but miraculously he made it through. The next day the veterinarian said he had less than a 50/50 chance of living and decided to try keeping him in an oxygen tent for several days. Paulie was a fighter, and his health improved. In the process he won the heart of one of the vet techs, who took him home with her at night and then back to work each day to nurse him back to health.

Meanwhile, his brother and sister were getting sicker, so we took them in, too. Mary, the next-smallest, improved ever so slowly. Peter was soon well. They became increasingly attached to one another, and we took them both. When the rescue wanted to separate them while Mary was still ailing, we just didn’t feel she could handle that stress…or maybe we couldn’t bear to part with them. Thus we became foster failures, adopting them and renaming them Ike and Mamie. Now we’re living happily-ever-after with our pack of four rescued Beagles.

 To those who say they could never foster because they would get too attached, I say, yes, that’s a real possibility. But the rewards in seeing your fosters go to their forever homes to be loved and cared for as they deserve make the risk well worth it! –Carol Meyer

Storytime: The Great Christmas Feast

Read this and other wonderful rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Beagles


Featured Rescue: Cascade Beagle Rescue


The Great Christmas Feast



The door closed, and I looked over at Paris.

“So what’s the deal here?” I asked.

“Oh, so you can talk to me,” she replied. “I wasn’t too sure. You looked pretty bad when the people brought you here.”

“Of course I looked bad,” I barked back. “I’d been in that shelter for two weeks, I’d just had surgery, and I had kennel cough and a tapeworm!”

“The people looked worried about you. I’ve seen that look on their faces before.”

That was interesting. “Oh yeah?” I said, trying to get her to elaborate.

“Oh, yes. The previous dog was with the man for 84 years,” she said. “Before she left, she was pretty sick, too. That’s when they looked worried. When she was gone, I think it was especially hard on the man.”

So there was another dog here, I thought. Now that my nose had recovered, I’d smelled, but not seen, traces of the other dog: a tricolor Beagle like Paris.

A rather mundane dog, I thought to myself, unlike my distinctive red-and-white markings.

Paris continued. “Maybe you’ve heard of her? Lucky? Of the Great Christmas Feast?”

Now I knew she was just playing with me. Every dog has heard the legend of the Great Christmas Feast, but mostly through stories told to us as pups. Besides, you meet a lot of dogs named Lucky, and they all act like they’re part of that tale. Paris probably thought that because I’d been sick I was a pushover.

“Oh yeah, right,” I said. “Sure. Lucky of the Great Christmas Feast lived here.”

Paris gave me the coy look I’d seen her give the woman when she wanted a belly rub.

“Believe it or don’t; it’s all the same to me,” she said. “How about I tell you the story and let you decide for yourself if I’m telling the truth?”

Knock yourself out, I thought.

“It was a long time ago, before I joined the people. In fact, Lucky said it was before I was even born. One day she went for a ride with the people to another house. When they got there, Lucky said, it was the most amazing thing you can imagine. There were people of every age, from very young to very old, in every room. As it turned out, she was the only dog there, so she got lots of attention. But even more important were the smells. Lucky was a Beagle in the finest tradition of Beagles, and she said there were almost too many smells to count: people walking in and out from all over, carpet smells, furniture smells, and food smells. There was even a tree the hosts had brought in from outside. Lucky told me it took her over a half an hour just to get the smells all sniffed and another hour before she got them all sorted out. She sniffed everywhere. Lucky was great that way: very thorough. No smell got past her, especially not food smells. She taught me a lot about Beagling and sniffing.”

Paris adjusted herself on the couch and took a glance outside to make sure no one dared walk on our sidewalk.

“Anyway, she spent most of the day working the rooms. Lucky was a professional at this and a pleasure to watch. She had 56 years of experience on me, and I’ve seen her charm the last bite of a sandwich out of the people more times than you can count. She just went from room to room, laying those Beagle eyes on people, and they’d give her a tidbit. She said it started small at first: a piece of potato chip here, a crumb of cookie there. But as the day wore on, she kept getting more and more. Pretty soon she was eating entire cookies! She told me about something the people called “Chex Mix.” Apparently it’s a mixture of all sorts of tastes and smells, each one better than the next: pretzels, nuts, M & M’s and two types of cereal.”

I’d heard the Chex Mix part of this story before, but only in Spanish from a Chihuahua. No one had ever described it in such detail. My mouth was salivating at the thought of it, and I began to suspect Paris was telling the truth.

Paris continued.

“Later that day the people gathered in one room and gave boxes to one another. Inside the boxes were all kinds of things the people called gifts. The boxes were covered in colored paper, which they ripped off and threw on the floor. Being a devoted dog, Lucky knew her job was to tear that paper up, of course. Lucky said she had a lot of fun with the paper, but although she went about her task with gusto, there was so much she couldn’t tear it all.”

Hmm. The paper reference was definitely part of the legend, but I hadn’t heard the gift and box parts before. Either Paris was embellishing, which is always frowned upon in the telling of dog legends, as you know, or she had the real story.

“After the boxes were all opened, the people moved into another room, bringing out food they had been cooking all day and sitting around a big table. There were mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, bread, corn, peas, gravy, creamed onions, stuffing, ham, and turkey. But here’s where the story gets even better. Since Lucky was the only dog there, she got every bite that dropped on the floor. Some of them even gave her bites right from the table. And when they were done, she got to lick all their plates—there were 20—and eat all the leftovers they didn’t want to save!

“Well, as you can imagine, even Lucky had a limit. She told me that after that she became pretty choosy about the tidbits. The people would offer her food, but she would only take it if it was a really big piece of cookie. Toward the end, she said, she even turned down Chex Mix. When the man went to pick her up to come home, he thumped her belly and laughed at how big it was. I guess she was completely full. She fell asleep on the way home, and the man had to carry her into the house.”

I sat in disbelief. Until that day, I really thought this story was just a legend. No dog had ever done so well. No dog had ever eaten people food until they couldn’t eat anymore, especially not a Beagle. (A popular joke among other breeds is “How do you know when the food is all gone? The Beagles have stopped chewing.” They think it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard.) At any rate, I finally believed Paris. I was truly in the house of legend: the house of Lucky of The Great Christmas Feast.

Kasey Hodges (Translated by Tim Hodges)

Beagle/Lab Battle – How to Choose?

You may be aware that for the past several months I’ve been planning a stage show called Don’t Kill Bill to raise awareness about the relationship between pet shops and puppy mills and encourage people to volunteer with animal rescue organizations. The show consists of two aerial fabric acts like you might see in a Cirque du Soleil show, but… our first aerial fabric act is a duet that also involves a wonderful cattle dog named Clementine.  The second aerial act is set to beautiful music by animal advocate Marilyn Milano coupled with a slideshow about ending puppy mill suffering.

Between aerial acts I’ll be sharing 11 of the most informative and heartwarming stories submitted to Happy Tails Books for our Lost Souls: FOUND! series. But that’s where I’m struggling. One thing I want to point out during the show is how beneficial fostering can be for the children of the home. I’ve got two wonderful stories I could share, but I can’t share them both. Could you please help me choose?

In no particular order, as I’m very fond of them both, I’ve got “Unlikely Lessons” from Sandy Roberts and “What’s In A Name” by Kimberly Tenai. The first is about Austin, a boy with cerebral palsy, who makes training his foster Beagle, Charlie, his mission. The second story is about Lucas, a little boy who shares his love with all the foster animals who pass through his home.

As you listen to these stories, please think of them from the perspective of the audience. Consider the length and content.

There will be slides to accompany the story, and whichever story isn’t chosen will appear on the DVD with slides as an extra feature. Which would you choose?

Unlikely Lessons I What’s In A Name

Please leave your comments below. I’ll make a decision by Thursday. Thanks for helping me on this – it’s a tough one!

Recognizing Rescuers: Linda Forrest and SOS Beagles

Every Tuesday we post someone’s kind words about a rescuer who has touched his or her life. Today Billie Moore wrote in to recognize Linda Forrest of SOS Beagle Rescue:
I have adopted four rescue beagles in my life, two have gone to the rainbow bridge at the age of fifteen. These two beagles were rescued from a local laboratory and were scheduled to be euthanized. I was able to adopt and they truly showed me that laboratory dogs can make good pets. A lot of love and patience will do the trick. My other two beagles both came from rescue groups. Brew and SOS Beagles. The first one was thirteen weeks  and the second was nine weeks when I adopted them.

We travel quite a bit these days and a trip would not be planned without them. They are both excellent travelers.  The fact that all my beagles were rescues gives me a great feeling of truly helping out a fur baby that needed a home. I have no regrets that they are rescue and not bought from some fancy breeder.
There are too many unwanted animals in the world with no where to lay their head. I feel rescue is the only way to go if you truly want to lend a hand to help a furry soul.  My dogs are a great compliment to our family and they are loved dearly.

Hats off the Linda Forrest for running SOS Beagles and for all the work she has done now and in the past to organize a great rescue and to match so many beagles with the right family. People like her are hard to find that are willing to work so hard for such a goal. May God bless her and all her beagles that she rescues and finds loving homes for. I can’t think of enough words to  encourage someone to adopt from a rescue or shelter except the rewards are GREAT.