Ellie is a beagle. She came to the rescue, about two years old, and gravely ill. They were not sure she would make it, but they tried anyway, and she did.
Seriously, this poor dog was just a series of unfortunate events, with big floppy soft ears.
She came to stay with us, and stay, and stay, and stay some more. NOBODY WANTED HER. Nothing. No dates. No nibbles. No nothing.
She was happy. She thought we were her people, but we knew we were not. Somewhere out there must be somebody that would be the right fit for her. She was kind of a pain in the ass. I did a lot of searching online, and interacted with other Beagle owners. It was all pretty typical Beagle behavior.
In the meantime, I took photos of Ellie. I made videos of Ellie. I made stupid videos of me and Ellie (no link, if you missed it the first time, you are just out of luck). I posted them to facebook. One of my friends in California saw them, and kept commenting how much she would like to have Ellie, but she really didn’t need another dog. She already had two dogs, and a husband who was not interested in having a third. I told her the truth about Ellie, in a long email that certainly included a lot of nice things, because Ellie was a total love, incredible sweet, and with these great eyes that made it look like she thought humans were brilliant and fascinating. However, the email also included things like:
“Basically, if she stops in one area to super sniff, she has found something that she thinks is awesome. Most likely it is not something a human will think is awesome. It is either a great trail to chase, “food” very nearby that you totally don’t want her to eat, or something incredibly gross that she will roll around in if you give her the chance.”
“Ellie LOVES to solve puzzles. She is very smart. If she has to work for her food it is good because A) Beagles have a tendency to get overweight easily without enough exercise. They like to eat. B) Any time she spends exercising her brain solving puzzles I want her to solve, she isn’t spending solving puzzles I don’t want her to solve – like opening the cabinet to get into the garbage again, or moving the foot stool so she can reach stuff on the counter.” (Yes, she really moved the foot stool and used it to reach the counter. I had to store the foot stool in the pantry for the rest of her stay.)
The weather started getting rough, the tiny U.S.S. Beagle was pissed. She HATED the cold. Hated it. We’d get the leash out and she would be so excited for a walk, and then we’d open the door and she would stare up at us accusingly. “You are doing it wrong. THAT is not what you promised me, Lady. You promised me a walk. Let’s try the other door.”
Not only that, she developed a bad cough (*cough* *cough* See, I told you it was too cold, Lady) and a chest x-ray showed trouble in her lungs. As if everything else she had been through wasn’t enough. Time passed and her recheck showed that she had some permanent lung damage, and might need to be on medication for the rest of her life.
In the meantime, my friend back in California had been working on her husband, trying to convince him that Ellie should move in with them. I explained about the lung problem, and instead of scaring her off, it made her think it would be even better to rescue her from the weather in Minnesota. The vet agreed. The rescue had never shipped a dog. They don’t do long distance adoptions, because they require home checks. However, I’ve been to the home and could vouch for everything that would normally be checked on. So, my friend submitted her application and was approved, and I made flight arrangements.
The night before Ellie’s early morning flight, she stole my daughters Subway sandwich off of the counter, and ate most of it before my daughter caught her and wrestled it away. Yep. Locking a dog 25 lb dog that had eaten 3/4 of a six inch sub (including mustard, onions, peppers, 5 tons of sodium and 10 million nitrates) into a crate for most of the day to take an airplane flight. We rock as foster parents.
Ellie was with us a long time, longer than any other foster. She had gotten used to us, and us to her. I was really excited for her that she had secured such a great living situation, in a much more agreeable climate. Still, I took her to the airport with trepidation. She was being shipped cargo. She was too big to fly in the cabin, and we had hoped to at least fly her baggage, but we knew nobody making that flight within a good time frame to send her along. The cargo bomb scare had just happened the week before, so I suspecting the cargo people would be on security steroids and looking for an excuse to make my life miserable.
Luckily, the woman we dealt with when dropping Ellie off was very nice. I also felt better because so many other dogs were being dropped off. There was one waiting for a flight when we arrived, one checking in ahead of us, and two who followed us. Clearly the people there were used to shipping pets, and that made it a little easier. I gave Ellie a big hug before putting her in her crate. I cried. She is the first foster I cried when saying goodbye to. Having her a long time was part of it, but mostly I felt guilty. There was no way to explain to her what was happening. I was just dumping her off in a loud warehouse with forklifts driving around. Leaving her with strangers, and then she was going to get locked into a cargo hold for several hours. Hey, I’ve never been in one, but it doesn’t sound fun.
I waited anxiously for contact from my friend AS SOON AS they picked Ellie up in Los Angeles. I was very relieved to hear from her and I called V immediate to report the good news (V had already called once to check on the situation, misunderstanding my report of the flight schedule).
My friend loves Ellie dearly, and Ellie loves having California sunspots to lie around in.