Wait, aren’t they the same as the former Happy Dog Phoenix mascots? Beagles? No, not really. And as I am learning, no dog completely replaces the previous dogs in your life. Maybe you just keep on grieving for a dog while you begin to accept and adjust to the loss.
Artie, my beloved Beagle goofball, passed away in July and I couldn’t bring myself to write about it publically until now. She had been sick and I had poured out my heart in this post. And I just couldn’t write about it again, after all, the name of the blog is Happy Dog Phoenix. Not Incredibly Sad Person Phoenix. And in thinking about Artie, I tried to be grateful for the time we had together but I couldn’t; all I had was a very deep hole in my heart.
To Phoenix from Arkansas with love
Arizona Beagle Rescue reached out to me to offer their condolences at Artie’s death. And I reached back to them to cautiously say I would be looking for a new beagle. Just not sure when.
“How about fostering? We have two dogs in Arkansas whose owner just died. There’s no beagle rescue there. And they will end up in a pound and will probably be separated. They’re sisters.’’
Well, a photo is worth a thousand words. In this case it sure was. Here’s the photo they texted:
My only reaction: THEY”RE SO FAT!!
Of course, I will help them.
It was a true kindness relay that got these dogs from a small town in Arkansas to Phoenix. Good-hearted people who were making the drive to Texas and others parts agreed to take the girls as far as they were driving and then another team picked them up. If you ever doubt that people can be genuinely wonderful, just volunteer for one of these road trips. It restores your faith in humans.
Enter Giggy and Lizzy
So I met the girls. Turns out Giggy isn’t fat at all. In fact, I’m not so sure how much of a Beagle she really is. I see a lot of Brittney in there. But Lizzy, true to being a Beagle, was definitely was overweight. Turns out she weighed about 40 pounds, at least. Your typical Beagle is about 25 pounds. The vet sternly told both of us that we needed to be aggressive about her weight loss.
They arrived in the summer. And since then, they’ve been in a couple different houses because I had a couple of vacations planned before their arrival. There was also an emergency sleepover at a friend’s house when my home’s AC went out. The most progress for girls comes when we are consistent in our schedules; for these two, the more stability the better.
Hey, they are my dogs!
Arizona Beagle Rescue realizes fosters may fall in love with the dogs they are helping. As part of their contract, AZBR give fosters three weeks to decide about the dog before posting the dog’s photos and telling the world they are available for adoption. A bonded pair like Giggy and Lizzy who are sisters (at heart, if not in shared DNA), are usually more difficult to adopt out.
But after two weeks, AZBR contacted me asking for photos because they were had a family interested in a pair of Beagles. I thought to myself “Hell no, those are my dogs!’’ and that pretty much settled it. I became a foster failure.
How it is going
Not going to lie – two dogs all at once is a lot. Walking them together is basically You Tube material since Giggy is a speedster and Lizzy, well, Lizzy is no speedster. When it comes to being in motion, she’s more Basset Hound than Beagle! We entertain our neighbors with my attempts to pilot them through the ‘hood.
We three are a work in progress. But so far, Lizzy’s down eight pounds and she just finished a hike at Fraesfield – one of our recommended dog-friendly hikes. More to come on that later.
At the same time, while I am determined to make things work for these two, I still find myself thinking about Artie with such sadness. I’m not sure psychologists would think getting two dogs so soon after Artie is a good coping strategy. Right now, I’m allowing myself to tear up for the loss of Artie and at the same time, feel so much joy at the small signs that these two very different Beagles are making themselves at home: mastering steps, being polite at mealtime, coming when called.
I’ve had four Beagles now: HoneyBun, Artie, Giggy and Lizzy. Same breeds but so different.
I’m learning what makes each of the new Beagles tick. Giggy loves warmth, snuggling under covers, sitting in the sun and eating cheese. Lizzy, despite her pudginess, loves to play and commanders every toy in the house.
There’s a lot of barking, mostly at dogs and cats, and we need to work on that and I think a trainer is on the way for all three of us. So, between the weight loss, living with two new dogs and taking them on adventures, there’s going to be lot to blog about.