Written by Ursula Todd
Photography by Estelle Potgieter
Molly came to us through friends of friends and was the first Beagle we’d ever had – she completely stole our hearts. Our other dog, Cazzy, a 14-year-old Dobermann Pinscher-mix, had a few health scares in 2017 and so we decided that five-year-old Molly needed a playmate to keep her busy.
Beagles are truly clever, adventurous, and social dogs and so the natural choice was for us to adopt another Beagle. Having had Molly from the age of three, we’d enjoyed not going through the puppy stages so an adult Beagle was our first choice.
Finding new family
It took us a really long time to make the decision to adopt. Dogs are souls that you bring into your family and, just like family members, there are ups and downs and likes and dislikes. These are little souls that you look after, take care of and love. With the responsibility there are expenses, and this is for Life. Having gone through it all and coming to the decision to add to our family, we were impatient to extend our family.
After a few false starts with meet ‘n’ greets where the dogs just didn’t connect, my partner, Santie, saw Milo on Beagle Rescue South Africa’s (BRSA) Facebook page on Tuesday the 5th of December 2017. I immediately texted BRSA’s Sonja van Wyk and Santie posted on their Facebook page to find out if Milo was still available.
I was pleasantly surprised when Sonja came back to us so quickly – I’d expected a reply the next day, which would have meant a sleepless night because I was really excited.
The good news was that Milo was still available. Early the following morning, Santie came across Milo’s story as told from his perspective (https://www.facebook.com/Milo-Chloes-Journey-To-Finding-Their-Furever-Home-808467972666542/)
That’s when we discovered that Milo had a friend – Chloe – who was also looking for a home. It was a no-brainer; they’d grown up together so they had to stay together. I immediately texted Sonja and said we would look at taking them both.
The grand arrival
Candice Theron – one of their foster moms – called later that same day to arrange for a play date. We settled on the Friday, at our place. It was a very, very exciting few days and, when Friday finally arrived, Cazzy and Molly could not understand the sense of excitement in the house. The air was buzzing with it.
Around lunchtime, fosters Candice and Dilene arrived; two handsome Beagles regally sitting at the back of the car as they’re ushered through the gate.
Because Cazzy doesn’t mix well with other humans, we secured her in a peaceful bedroom haven while Molly stood at the security door, tail wagging, barking and trying to get out. We had a quick introduction with the two newcomers and then, while Santie was petting Milo and Chloe, I let Molly out to say hello.
Making friends as only dogs can do
Tails wagging, Molly, Milo and Chloe introduced themselves as only dogs can do. After which Molly decided the car smelt very interesting and the humans that came with the car, more so. Milo and Chloe helped themselves to investigating the front garden and then the house and then the back garden – with Molly in tow checking up on them.
As soon as the other humans left, we introduced Cazzy to Milo and Chloe. The two Beagles weren’t phased at all, but Cazzy did a few barks at them and then turned away. It didn’t last long; within an hour Cazzy was running with them. She didn’t let them on her bed the first day, but by the end of the second day they were all lying with each other and swapping beds.
Milo and Chloe had been on a raw food diet from Chefs4pets and we decided to keep them on it – and to switch Molly and Cazzy to raw too.
When dinnertime came, it was a worry; I thought that Cazzy would be a problem and had been told that Chloe needs convincing to eat. Plus, I was on my own. So, I kept Cazzy and Molly together and Milo and Chloe together, feeding them all at once. Boy, was that a mistake!
Molly is a speed-eater – and, as it turns out, so is Milo; Cazzy is a slowcoach, although, miracle of miracles, was fine with the new food. Fortunately, as luck would have it, I’d bought the only sausage that picky Chloe liked, but she’s still a slow eater...
So, picture this: four excited dogs, all hungry, eagerly milling around my legs, jumping about like popcorn. Four full bowls are balanced in my hands while trying to get the right dogs through the doggy gate to separate them. I carefully put down all the bowls, first on one side of the gate, then the other – and then I discover that the greedy gobblers are finished and are after the slowcoaches’ bowls. Oh heavens! So, I grab Molly’s collar, holding her, and just about fall over the gate to hold Milo back by his chest while the other two painstakingly nibble their dinner.
Needless to say, feeding now only happens when there are two humans in the house – and the gobblers are separated from the slow eaters. Much easier!
A message from Milo
The following morning (Saturday the 9th of December), I sent a little message from Milo to his foster mommies.
“Hello Foster Moms!
“Just to let you know we had a good night and slept well. Only, with all the excitement yesterday and being in a new place, my tummy was not so good this morning; I vomited all my yummy food and I wasn’t very happy. I am feeling much better now and have been promised a snack later. My sister refused to eat this morning, only taking a few bites from Urshie’s hands. She has also been promised a small snack later. Molly lets me sleep by her but the other black one (Cazzy) is ‘funny’ with her bed. Santie says not to worry she will come around. She is just a grumpy old lady.
“Lots of love, Milo.”
A fabulous family
Finally – four days on – and we were a whole new family: four dogs and three humans.
Chloe turned out to be a Mother Hen over all the dogs – when Santie was rough-housing with Milo, she barked and barked until Milo went to reassure her it was all just fun; when Cazzy was having her nails cut, she also barked non-stop, until Cazzy reassured her she was fine.
Molly is coming out of her shell; she tends to like doing her own thing but is roping in the other two more and more. But it’s Cazzy who is the biggest surprise of all: she’s right in there with all the others, participating as much as she can.
Milo and Chloe like to make sure they can see a human at all times and would cry when Santie went to drop Samantha off at work until they see me. However, today they happily trotted to play outside by themselves – no humans in sight.
All in all, we’re all getting on very nicely.
Dilene Cranna and Candice Theron, Milo and Chloe’s foster mums, share…
Milo and Chloe crept into our hearts in the short time they stayed with us. Milo Bear, as we called him, is such a character and Chloe is a soft, sweet girl who needs so much love. If we didn’t have 18 Beagles of our own, the two of them would have stayed.
We were sad to see them go but happy that they landed with Ursula and Santie who will give them the love and attention they deserve.
Beagle Rescue SA
To find out more about Beagle Rescue SA, email beagleRAS@gmail.com, phone 079 727 4797 and join their Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/266141116924075/about/