From South Carolina to California—Sally the Beagle Finds her Forever Home

By Leah_Pet on Apr. 17, 2017


With one rescued Chi-weenie in the home and an older Maltipoo that she inherited when her parents passed away, one might think Susanne B.’s furry little family was complete. But she knew somebody was missing. Susanne needed a Beagle to complete the pack.

She had previously had a somewhat temperamental male Beagle for years and missed the distinctive quirks of this delightful breed—their floppy ears, stubbornly inquisitive personalities and most of all, the unmistakable baying howl of a happy hound. So, Susanne started hunting around places near Santa Rosa, California for a shelter or rescue Beagle in need of a forever home.

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The funny thing about Beagles is they’re immensely popular as hunting dogs and pets in the South and Southeast. However, they’re not quite as common on the West Coast. Luckily for Susanne, there happened to be a bustling little Beagle rescue practically in her own backyard!

Finding the One
Located in Santa Rosa, California, The Rescue for North Bay Beagles is an entirely all volunteer run rescue that provides foster homes for purebred and mixed-breed Beagle-type dogs. They usually get the dogs from high-kill shelters and owner surrender situations. Arriving in Santa Rosa from all around the country, the dogs are transported via an “underground railroad system” of sorts such as one called Liberty Ride Transport.

The service coordinates with volunteers nationwide to ensure homeless dogs get to where they best need to be to find families. Many times, these dogs travel thousands of miles across country where they find friendly fosters waiting to take them in until they can be properly vetted and matched up with their forever homes.

Little do these nomadic Beagles know, there may be no better fitting place in the world for them to be than in Santa Rosa. The area is not only filled with dog friendly parks, beaches and hiking trails, and lots of pet-friendly people, but as the longtime home of Charles Schulz, the town is brimming with statues and references to what is arguably the most famous Beagle in the world—Snoopy! 

It’s no wonder Susanne had beagles on the mind. So, she started looking through the adoptable dogs listed on The Rescue for North Bay Beagle’s website. Immediately one dog stood out. It was Sally, a small two-year-old beagle with striking features who had just arrived from South Carolina. The energetic little pup had unfortunately gotten lost during the floods and chaos of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and ended up in a high kill shelter. By December, she had made her way from South Carolina via helpful cross country transporters to The Rescue for North Bay Beagles and was ready to find a home.

Meeting Sally
Prior to meeting Sally, Susanne filled out the rescue’s adoption application paperwork. Then she set up a time to meet the young dog during their next adoption event at a local Unleashed by Petco store. It only took a minute of petting Sally for Susanne to know she was making the right decision.

However, there were two other family members who also needed to approve of Sally. Roxie the three-year old Chi-weenie and the more curmudgeonly Ruff, her eight-year old Maltipoo. Susanne suspected Roxie would be OK with having a new buddy around, but Ruff might not be as receptive. So, a meeting was set up for all three dogs to meet at a neutral location. The extra time gave Susanne a chance to make her backyard escape-proof. No stranger to a Beagles’ nose for getting into trouble, Susanne installed a sturdier fence that would give all three dogs more room to play.


Welcoming Sally Home
Sunday morning Susanne brought Roxie and Ruff to a doggy daycare where Sally had been staying. Pamela from The Rescue for North Bay Beagles asked a few questions regarding the dogs’ temperaments and then let Sally come in to meet her new family. Instantly, Sally ran straight into Susanne’s arms. Then, in true Beagle fashion, she began sniffing enthusiastically around the room and baying. Susanne heard the howl and instantly lit up. It was the Beagle sound she had been missing all along. Sally was here to provide it in spades.

Surprisingly, after a little bit of cursory tail sniffing, Ruff seemed to not mind Sally at all. Roxie—on the other paw—got a little jealous watching her mom pet another dog. Her lips curled slightly as she pointedly staked her claim on Susanne’s lap. However, after a few minutes of everyone getting pets and hugs, it was clear the dogs were going to get along just fine. They might not become instant best friends but, with no quarrels or aggressive barking, it didn’t seem like it would be long before they’d be willing to allow another pet into their pack.

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Pamela went over the final details of the adoption as the dogs literally dog-piled Susanne. As part of the rescue’s policy, Susanne could return the dog any time in the next two weeks if it wasn’t working out and would receive her adoption fee back in full. Additionally, Pamela encouraged her to always reach out to them first if there were ever a future reason Sally could not remain in the home. Now that the dogs had happily met, Susanne was confident Sally had found her forever home.

The First Week Together
Fortunately for Susanne and her trio of dogs, Sally joined the family over President’s Day weekend, so they had an extra day of getting to know each other before Susanne had to go back to work. (Read more about welcoming your new puppy home.) As Susanne wisely stated, she knew she’d need a little bit of time to figure out which ways this particular pup liked to get in trouble. Would she be an incessant barker? Was she be fully potty-trained? Did she like to chew up everything in sight? Pamela had already warned Susanne that Sally was a jumper. A feat she demonstrated during their initial meeting by leaping cat-like to the top of a tall desk.

But, in addition to being a jumper and sometimes energetic girl, Sally is also a world class snuggler, walks well on a leash and sleeps soundly through the night. In fact, she was such a good sleeper that most nights Susanne would find her burrowed under the covers on her bed before everybody else was even thinking about bedtime. Housetraining also wasn’t an issue as Sally figured out Susanne’s doggy doors so fast she suspected the dog had experience with them in a previous home.

Sally5.jpgHowever, the first week together wasn’t entirely uneventful. The first day Sally was there she figured out how to open the window blinds…over and over again. This made Susanne realize her home might have been dog proofed, but it wasn’t quite beagle proofed yet!

Then, a few days later, Sally decided to do a little digging. That digging turned into a full-blown escape effort that ended in Sally tunneling out of the yard while Susanne was at work! No wonder this adorable Houdini had once ended up in a shelter. Luckily for Sally and Susanne, some neighbors spotted the rogue dog and called the number on her ID tag (which was still connected to the rescue). Susanne spent the next day doing a bit of digging on her own to line the bottom of her new fence with chicken wire. That’s one of the big keys to successfully adding a new pet into the family—adaptability and a willingness to do what it takes to make the pet’s new home safe and secure.

Now, except for a little bit of lingering sibling rivalry between Roxy and Sally, it’s clear Sally is fitting right in. Susanne spends her evenings snuggled up on the couch with not one or two pets, but three lovable furballs. When Sally presses her face gently against Susanne’s to give her some beagle love, Susanne feels nothing but thankfulness. The couch and her bed may be a little fuller these days, but the dogs are family and her heart is fuller too. Perhaps the bumper sticker on Susanne’s truck says it best…”I want my dog’s life.”

Back of truck.JPGIf you're thinking of adding a new pet to the family, visit our new pet center.

For more information on adoption, visit the Petco Foundation.

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About the Author
  • As a child Leah used to write in her journal about how she’d like to be an animal when she grew up. As luck would have it, she grew up to be a writer who writes about animals instead. She has worked in veterinarian clinics, had pets of all types and has fostered many cats and dogs. Currently she lives with two cats named Irma and Yuyu and feeds a bevvy of semi-feral neighborhood cats.
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