Abandoned Elton finds silver lining

“Happy New Year!” It’s something we say to each other every January. It’s a good thing, too. We need all the optimism we can get. We need it for the small stuff, like shedding the extra pounds we gained over the holidays or counting the days to spring – one back-breaking toss of the snow shovel at a time. And then there’s the big stuff, like world peace.

Alas, despite the annual encouragement of those three little words, happiness can seem like those old acquaintances we sing about on New Year’s Eve that we shouldn’t forget, but sometimes do. Of course, even the January blahs can turn BLING! I’ve got proof.

Elton has big paws to fill in his new foster home, where he is slowly working on building his confidence after being rescued from near death in an old barn.
Elton has big paws to fill in his new foster home, where he is slowly working on building his confidence after being rescued from near death in an old barn.

It started with an old acquaintance that our beagle repair shop will never forget. We bid a sad farewell to him on Christmas of all days. He was a beagle we named Mortimer. It was around Christmas 2009 when we bailed old Morty out of a local animal shelter. He’d been guessed at 8 to 10 years old, but those years hadn’t brought him much wisdom. Mortimer was terrified of practically everything, but I can assure you he didn’t stay that way. Denise and John, a couple who always seem to find the silver lining to everything, would become Mortimer’s silver lining for the next five blissful years.

Just as Mortimer was preparing for his final departure, a miracle was unfolding in a barn north of the city. Aside from sheltering a tractor, the old barn no longer served any other purpose until one little beagle found his way to it. He was badly injured. There were 18 puncture wounds around his neck, likely the result of an attack by wild animals. Prolonged exposure to the cold had left him frostbitten in several places. Without any source of food, he was near starving.

As fortune would have it, the owner of the barn decided to pop by and check on the tractor. Next to it, curled up in a tight little ball, was a trembling beagle she didn’t expect would survive the trip to the local animal shelter. But he did. After two weeks in hospital, he was well on his way to a complete recovery except for one thing. Like Mortimer five years prior, this poor beagle was terrified of everything. And like Mortimer, we’ll never know why, but he wasn’t going to stay that way.

We got a call from the shelter in Port Perry on Jan. 7 asking if we had room for a painfully shy young beagle that narrowly escaped death. That call came in around the same time I was getting all “hum-buggy” about the New Year so far. It was also probably around the same time Denise was saying to a friend, “We don’t plan on getting another beagle just yet. Unless one falls in our laps, I think our hearts need time to heal.”

Let’s just say with our first rescue case of the year, all it took was his wide-eyed expression of hope for Denise and John to see that they didn’t need time to heal their hearts. All they really needed was a beagle in desperate search of his silver lining.

Elton’s invisible wounds have been healing ever since. He’s couch buddies with an older, wiser beagle named Molly who has no doubt told him all about his predecessor. With every gentle tickle of his tummy and reassuring kiss on his freckled nose, Denise and John are gradually bringing Elton’s silver lining into view.

My humbug days are over! With 365 days’ worth of beagle-infused optimism, I say “Happy New Year, Elton!”

Elton is an approximately 2-year-old beagle ringing in the New Year HAPPY at Big On Beagles (BOB) Rescue, bigonbeagles.ca ~ where every rescued beagle has a silver lining! Would you like to help our next beagle wag away the storm clouds and find his silver lining? Then become a foster parent and ring in the New Year with a beagle bang!

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