Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Oliver (left) and Gracie.

It was a happy assignment for Lara and I to photograph Gracie and Oliver, two seasoned and adorable beagles. We had a bit of frolic at Rock Creed Park with their owners, Katie and Damon, and got to hear a bit more about Oliver's astonishing history.

The story goes like this. Oliver was picked up as a stray when he was two years old. They think he was a hunting dog who wandered away from the pack or was left because of his shy nature (he remains terrified of of all loud noises, and intelligently groups balloons and some toddlers into that category). When the shelter picked him up, he had been surviving alone in the woods for at least a few months and was so underweight that his spine and hip bones protruded through his sandy fur. When Katie and Damon found Oliver on petfinder.org, he was already past due for euthanization date. They immediately hopped in the car and drove two hours to pick him up. Once home, it took three baths before they found out that his fur was really white in places, and another week before he could keep down solid food.

Katie and Damon with Gracie (left) and Oliver.

Now weighing in at a lean 37 lbs, the only reminder of Oliver's past are the fine scars on his face, which I think he wears with a quiet dignity. And he's an awesome pet, Katie attests.

She writes:

We've had Oliver for six years now, and he is the sweetest dog I have ever known. He sleeps under the covers with us every night, sometimes waking us up with his loud snoring. He loves to roll around on his back on the carpet or drag his belly across the carpet to scratch an itch. Gracie likes to groom him and Oliver will patiently sit while she licks his face and ears. Unfortunately he has the typical beagle food-obsession and curiosity; some of the things I've caught him eating include socks, a battery, a dollar bill, a lightbulb, several pairs of shoes, 2 lbs of Oreo cookies, and countless amounts of cheese and crackers he's stolen off the table at parties. He fiercely protects our house and bravely attacks the mail as it comes through the mail slot.

Hearing Oliver's heroic tale further confirmed our idea of beagles as the ultimate underdogs, as demonstrated by Uno's victory at Westminster and the great beagle escape. Beagles teach us that tenacity and weathering hard times is more important than fancy tricks when it comes to really succeeding. They are the role model that we all need to have right now, and if only they didn't have all that dander, I'd say a beagle would be the perfect first dog.


LL said...

what a sweet story! oliver rescued and forever grateful...protecting his owners from the mail and all.

I really do think animals know and love you for saving them from the great abyss or a shelter.

Amanda said...

my friends had a beagle who would get into the trash, no matter where it was hidden or how it was locked up. the main problem was one of the owners is a diabetic, so his insulin needles were in the trash. last i heard the dog was doing fine, even though he's probably consumed at least 3 needles.