This is part two of my five part series on where the Christmas 11 (Beagle Freedom Projects Rescue #9) are today.
In Riverside, CA, my Beagle loving continued with Percival (aka Comet) and his big sister, Daphne. Best-selling author, Teresa Rhyne, and those two gorgeous pups, happily welcomed my daughter and me into their home, despite the inaudible squeals of delight from the aforementioned eleven year old.
It was a cold and rainy December day, so we were forced to remain inside for our photo shoot. Percival proudly showed me each and every one of the toy carcasses that were scattered throughout the den. Like a good host, he escorted us into a beautiful living room filled with some original Beagle keepsakes. And there were books. So many books. Lovingly placed in almost every imaginable nook and cranny. This was my kind of room.
Teresa, I found, was a woman/force to be reckoned with. So much strength and compassion filled her heart. Not only had she fought and battled breast cancer, her previous Beagle, Seamus, had also struggled with the disease five years earlier. She wrote about their experience in her NY Times bestselling memoir, The Dog Lived (And So Will I). Unfortunately, Seamus’s cancer returned and he passed away in March of 2013. Her follow up book, The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I), will be out in the fall of 2014. This book will be about her journey to living a more compassionate life. It will also tell of Percival and Daphne’s journey from their horrible pasts of animal testing and backyard breeding, to their “happily ever after” with Teresa, among other stories.
Percival, like Matzah, had a handsome face, sleek body and ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. He immediately took a liking to my daughter, Emily, who had explicit instructions NOT to get in the pictures. (You can see how that turned out.)
Percival was not going to make it easy for me as he bound around the room avoiding my camera. Daphne, on the other hand, just wanted to be a supermodel and pose.
While I waited for Percival to stop moving for just a moment so I could catch that impish spirit, Teresa shared that it had been a bit of rocky road for Percival, separation anxiety being his biggest issue. Reading her blog, Percival and Daphne also had some trouble getting along at first. I find that hard to believe because the two dogs we saw that day were best buds.
By the end of our shoot, the kid had made herself comfortable on Teresa’s sofa with Percival lying peacefully on top of her. A trusting, loving Beagle. Daphne "Diva" had decided she was done and was snuggled up on her blanket fast asleep.
As we left this happy family, it hit me that after all the hell these dogs had been through, how could they trust any human being? But then I remembered. Dogs are amazing animals. They love unconditionally. Forgiving of human sin and loving of the human spirit. If only humans could learn that lesson.
Thank you Teresa, Percival and Daphne for taking time out of your very busy schedule for us. It was an honor.
Next week, we'll meet up with Spanky (aka Elfie)!